Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jul 2010
Source: Huntsville Forester, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 The Huntsville Forester
Page: A6
Author: Wendy Gilbert


This letter is in response to Project Rock Cut as it was dubbed by 
the OPP in Bracebridge.

As a concerned citizen, I am appalled at the conduct of the 
undercover operations. It appears to me that in the majority of these 
arrests it was not a matter of the officer buying drugs directly from 
these defendants.

Instead it sounded like an officer had in many instances, attached 
himself to what he felt were the weak links in the community.

In my opinion, an officer abused his position of authority if he 
passed himself off as a friend and used various defendants to 
introduce him to other defendants as a friend. It appears he might 
not have received drugs directly from the defendants, but rather had 
one defendant introduce him to another, whereupon he handed defendant 
one the money to hand to defendant two. While the officer and the 
defendants were all present, defendant two would then hand the drugs 
back to either defendant one or directly to the officer.

While I abhor drugs and am a great advocate of ridding communities of 
the dealers who sell them I find it even more abhorrent if an officer 
of the law can legally entrap already disenfranchised individuals in 
order to put them in the position of being a middleman in a drug deal 
that would never have happened because defendant one was not in 
possession of the drugs to sell until the undercover officer begged 
him to find him some drugs.

I believe that my opinion of this matter is substantiated by the fact 
that many of these charges involved very small quantities of drugs.

In many cases there were no drugs seized during the arrests as the 
individuals in question while having racked up a large amount of 
trafficking charges never actually possessed the drugs.

Even the $50,000 seized does not justify the cost of a six-month 
investigation and the cost of legal aid, the court's time and the 
cost of imprisoning these drug users and quasi dealers.

The money would be far better spent on rehabilitating these people. 
However, because of lack of funding, there is sometimes a three-month 
waiting period just to have an assessment done in order to attend 
rehab. There is usually another period of six or eight weeks until 
rehab is available. The money spent on the undercover investigation, 
the court system, the legal aid system and incarceration would 
probably have paid for instantaneous rehab for these 28 invidivuals 
at a private facility.

If this project had made any kind of impact on ridding the community 
of drugs I would feel differently. However, even the police refer to 
it as a street-level operation. As long as the real dealers are 
providing drugs to street-level addicts to trade amongst themselves 
the problem will never be rectified. There will always be more 
disenfranchised individuals who will become pawns in this deadly game.

Our tax money needs to be spent on getting to the root of problem 
instead of the tip of the iceberg. On top of all these facts the 
method which the police used to make these arrests pitted these 
individuals against one another, putting some of them in grave danger 
of retaliation.

Is this really okay?

Wendy Gilbert

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