Australia Facing a Surge In Canadian Narcotic Smuggling

By @diplomatist10 on
Confiscated cocaine
Crew members from U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hawk offload 576 kgs (1270 lbs) of cocaine valued at $19 million at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida August 22, 2014. The drugs were interdicted during Operation Martillo, a joint interagency and multi-national collaborative effort among 14 Western Hemisphere and European nations. Picture taken August 22, 2014. Reuters

The drug smuggling scenario in Australia is getting murkier with a bigger share of cocaine entering from Canada, as traffickers are ready to brave the harsh enforcement in Australia for the sake of mighty profits, reported the Globe and Mail.

Bulk of the cocaine brought into Australia originates from Chile, followed by Canada, whose volumes have increased three times, since 2010.

Marc Emery Returns

The return of drug lord and self-styled "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery to Canada after a five year prison term in the U.S was a significant development. In recent times, a number of incidents in Australia showed a spurt in Canadian-linked drug acts. In June, a Canadian was convicted for tricking an elderly Australian couple into becoming drug mules.

A statement by the Australian Federal Police showed that Australia has become a sought after destination for traffickers, despite the challenges in logistics in taking the illicit drugs there. The main pull was the very high prices smugglers will get if the operation becomes successful.

Huge Price in Australia

In Canada, the street value of drug varies in different police jurisdictions. But a kilogram of cocaine can fetch $250,000 in Australia, which five times the price in Canada.

Conduit of South America

However, a British Columbia Multi-Agency Initiative contended that Canadian criminals do not produce cocaine and what they handle comes from South America. According to Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Special Forces Enforcement Unit, the one kilo or several kilos of cocaine bought are resold by smuggling into Australia because there they will get four or five times the price.

Houghton said drug supply is restricted in Australia because of the strong enforcement regime and the country's location. He complimented the Australian police for being successful in disrupting and suppressing criminal groups.

Use of Outlawed Gangs

But the modus operandi of taking drugs to Canadian traffickers is through local gangs. Sometimes they also rope in Canadian expatriates. Many Canadian drug runners in Canada have significant connections with Australian outlawed biker gangs and criminal groups, the Australian Crime Commission said.

To combat the narcotic gangs, the RCMP will be holding joint investigations with Asian and Australian police forces. The Canadian Police have already opened a liaison in Canberra and an intelligence analyst has been out-posted to the Australian Federal Police, the Australian agency informed.

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