HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Busts Just Tip Of Iceberg
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Nov 2004
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Jana G. Pruden, Leader-Post
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Hallucinogens)


A system of "common-sense policing" is netting big rewards for RCMP in 
Broadview and Moosomin, who are currently heading the country in their 
efforts to stem the flow of illegal drugs along provincial highways.

"These are drugs that don't make it to the streets. ... The only scary part 
is the more we're finding, the more we know we're only scratching the 
surface," said Sgt. Rob Ruiters, national co-ordinator for the RCMP's 
Pipeline/Convoy/Jetway program, which targets the movement of criminal 
activity through the country's transportation systems.

In the past four years, Moosomin RCMP have discovered millions of dollars 
worth of drugs, drug money and stolen property after routine traffic stops, 
seizing more than 3,800 pounds of marijuana, 13 pounds of cocaine, 118,000 
ecstasy pills, 1,000 hits of LSD. Officers have also recovered $10,000 in 
counterfeit currency and $32,000 worth of stolen jewellery.

Officers in Broadview have been equally busy in the past couple years, 
seizing more than 1,600 pounds of marijuana, $28,000 in cash and large 
amounts of cocaine, including a 25 pound seizure last April-- the single 
largest cocaine bust in Saskatchewan history.

The policing approach is based on the idea that no matter where criminals 
come from, they will, at some time, use the country's transportation 
systems, including airplanes, trains, highways.

Nationally the program has seized half a billion dollars worth of 
contraband and apprehended people involved in homicides, missing children, 
stolen property and people of national security interest.

"It's really a numbers game. We're out there stopping vehicles anyway . so 
we've taken that situation and said if we heighten or hone your 
observational skills, your conversational skills, your investigative 
skills, if we get you to focus a lot more, you may in fact, during your 
normal traffic duties, be able to detect a traveling criminal," he said.

But Doug Andrews, a prominant Regina defense attourney, says the busts also 
raise some concerns, including that police are "stopping and searching 
anything they feel like."

"They appear to be stopping anything that drives,walks or crawls, and 
searching for a variety of reasons, some of which seem highly dubious," he 
said, adding that the explanations for some searches "sound somewhat hollow."

"What isn't stated in the press releases that the RCMP provide you is the 
number of people they have stopped, searched and sent on their way because 
they can't charge them with anything because they didn't find anything 
after their search, legal or illegal."

Ruiters denies any system of racial profiling and won't reveal any tricks 
of the trade, but says its anomalies and "the totality of circumstances 
that don't make sense" that lead officers to look further into a routine 
traffic stop.

Ruiters says Broadview and Moosomin detachments are currently among the 
most active in the country, in part because of the concerted effort of 
those dertachments and a hectic drug pipeline running along the 
Trans-Canada Highway between drug centres like Vancouver and Toronto.

He says the busts are just a small indication of how many people involved 
in criminal activities are passing through Saskatchewan.

"I think if we ever knew how many, we'd be staggered," he says. 
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