Monday, October 01, 2007


Crime in British Columbia

Lest we think it can't happen in our village or neighbourhood ...

Demand reduced by rising Canadian dollar, more U.S. growers

Stuart Hunter
The Province - Monday, October 01, 2007

Canada's soaring loonie and an increasing number of U.S. marijuana producers are combining to upset B.C.'s traditional north-south flow of illegal weed, says the man dubbed the Prince of Pot.

Marc Emery told The Province that, with the loonie at parity with the U.S. dollar, it's no longer lucrative enough for smugglers to risk taking pot across the border.

Instead, they can earn almost as much by transporting it east-west within Canada, with emerging markets such as Newfoundland taking up the slack.

"In the old days [2002], a pound that cost $1,600 here would go for $3,500 US, so it was enough of an incentive to make it worth the risk," Emery said.

"Now, it costs $2,400 US for a pound, so it's not lucrative enough. Canadian pot has gone up by almost 50 per cent."

Emery said he's been told that many American homeowners, who may lose their homes due to the U.S. mortgage crisis, are setting up grow-ops to save their homes, bypassing the need for Canuck weed.

"Rather than losing their home, people are taking their chances converting part of their house into a grow-op to help cover the shortfall. That was normal in B.C. 10 years ago [when there was a downturn in traditional B.C. resource-based sectors]," said Emery, founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party.

Mexico pot producers selling to the U.S. are also benefiting, due to the relatively weak peso, he said.

Western Canadian producers are eyeing markets such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland to take up the slack. {Snip ...}

Another Province article has this disturbing statistic. Imagine: 5,000 citizens in one small area of Vancouver ... trapped into a weird world where help is a question up for debate. Full story:

'Tremendous suffering' points to need for expanded service

Andy Ivens
The Province; With CanWest News Service
Monday, October 01, 2007

The 5,000 injection-drug addicts in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside will be exposed to greater death and disease if Insite is shut down in the federal government's latest initiative in its war on drugs, a Downtown Eastside advocate said yesterday ...

Which may be a good time to post an item I was asked to write for The Record, a feisty little independent bi-monthly community newspaper in Tahsis:


Suppose you had 15 million cash dollars in your house.

Your first thought might be to take family and friends out for a very good dinner with appetizers before, brandy after, and memorable tips for the waiters. Maybe some travel. Then new clothes. New shoes. A bike. Computers. iPhones and wrist-watches all around. Things that could be paid for in cash, privately without arousing suspicion.

But you'd still have over 14 million dollars left, even if you found a way to buy a Hummer or two with cash. What to do? Would you go to work as usual? Send the kids to school as usual (suppose they'd even agree to go, now)? Or find a money-launderer? A good money-launderer would allow you to go on living the cash-based high-life.

Because this kind of cash-money doesn't happen legally. Your $15 million cash is your imaginary share of B.C.'s annual sales of B.C. bud which isn't legal trade. No more legal than trafficking in heroin, bribing officials, or abusing addicted women is legal.

So your imaginary $15 million pile of cash carries major risks. It distorts your kids' outlook on the world they hope to fit into. It robs you of your ability to protect them. In short, it changes your world to illicit, illegal, dangerous, short, nasty and brutal. That's true even if you don't take a share of the profits. That is, even if Mr Big allowed you to take a share. He wouldn't, of course. But it's true even if you stay honest while your neighbours are floating in cash.

Look to the big daily newspapers to see if they're sounding the alarm. They spill plenty of ink for the kids who get drawn into this lucrative trade. Youth gangs have grown from 7,000 members across the country in 2002 to 11,000 in 2007, says The Province today. The big daily newspapers write in great detail about kids who drive their fancy cars too fast and they deplore the kids joy-riding in stolen vehicles trying to emulate them. They write interminably about shoot-outs.

But the kids didn't invent this system. What about the powerful crime bosses who have interfaced with corporations and governments and actually set up the working components?

Only once have I seen the name of Dawood Ibrahim, don of the fabled D-Company, a major organized crime syndicate beside which the Mafia is a corner store operation. Much of the D-Company's street cred stems from movies financed by Ibrahim glamourizing Ibrahim and his gangsters as folk heroes. 95% of the world's opium is grown in Afghanistan and processed into heroin in Europe before it is trafficked through Ibrahim's courier systems and sold throughout the world.

Little more has been heard of Jasmohan Singh Bains, thought to be Mr Big in B.C., whose 26 cell-phone calls to his cousin, Dave Basi, in the B.C. Ministry of Finance, form part of the evidence presented in pre-trial hearings of Basi, Virk, Basi.

As for money-laundering, Ibrahim is believed by Indian police to control an ancient, invisible method of transferring money from country to country by credit guarantees. It is called "Halawa". Who knew? Who will ever know if it isn't explained?

Many of today's kids find themselves operating in a grim twilight world where nobody can protect them. So they get guns. Guns are available with the drugs trade, guns to try and keep their enemies at bay. Powerful enemies like this? Not likely.

The big daily newspapers could at least try to tell the true story. Instead, they describe in excruciating detail the colour and quantity of blood, the anguish of parents, the horror of survivors, and make lingering visits into the minds of the killers after every violent local eruption. Why? To condition the population? And if so, again: why?

Just as $15 million cash would distort your family or mine, the $7 Billion in illicit cash that's pumping like poison throughout the B.C. economy can distort an entire society.

Footnote: Did I mention that BC's annual $7 Billion cash trade represents only the trade in marijuana? All the other illicit drugs are in addition to that, a huge black market of cash sales.
- BC Mary


I asked a columnist at Monday Magazine one time if he knew how drug money might be laundered. He had no idea. I think our BC journalists need a real learnin' on how the underground economy works.

Well, hell, I'll tell you what I have learned from the Raid on the Legislature website via Dave Basi's advice to his drug lord cousin: You buy real estate to launder money.

Thanks for the Tahsis article. Keep them coming!

The Anons have left me pretty much speechless, lately.

I say right back to you -- all of you -- Keep the comments coming! Thanks and thanks again!!

You have no idea how encouraging your input is.

One of us (gw) has an idea for an organizational graph which could plot the cast of characters and their plum assignments, anticipating that it would create a veritable spider's web of informative cross-overs and linkages.

And, though I know you were joking, I have heard about the homeowner in one of the choice waterfront locations on a Gulf Island who answered a knock on her door to find a stranger saying he'd like to buy her home. The property wasn't for sale, the lady wouldn't even consider selling. He persisted. He said he just liked it, wanted it, and apparently tried to clinch a deal by opening the briefcase he was carrying to show her that it was jam-packed with $100 bills which could be hers, immediately. She sent him packing.

I can't verify the story. (Haven't tried, actually.) But the person reporting it was reliable, the homeowner known. What happened to the idiot with the briefcase, I don't know.

While I halfway believe the story, the other 1/2 wants proof. I halfway believe it because, after all, where in heck does all of B.C.'s $7 Billion cash go each year? Casinos? Laundromats? Large brown envelopes? Or ... briefcases.

And can you really buy a house or a Hummer or, in fact, anything over $500. in plain cash without somebody pressing that button under their desk to sound the security alarm??

Maybe those were $1,000. bills ... his total offer was $1 million. How big a stack would that be?

I've read that Organized Crime racketeers don't count their money anymore, they weigh it.

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