Over $4 million worth of ecstasy tablets were seized at the Highgate border, stopping attempts to smuggle drugs from Canada into the United States. The tablets were found concealed under the rear seat of a minivan that was allegedly headed for Long Island. The Nov 26 seizure is the largest drug bust in New England so far and is just one of the many ecstasy seizures in New York and Vermont over the past few months.
In one of the smuggling attempts stopped at the US-Canadian border, the suspect told authorities that he has made as many as 25 trips from Canada to New York and back over the past few years before he was apprehended in October last year.
Based on the seizures, it appears that smugglers are getting into the American market through the US-Canadian border found in New York and Vermont. This is in spite of the fact that Canadian ecstasy is mostly produced in the country’s western provinces.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House,”between 2003 and 2006, the amount of ecstasy seized in the 10 Canadian border states went up almost 10 times.” The Canadian drug was also found laced with methamphetamine in most cases so as to cut down production costs and make it more addictive, which, in turn, assures the steady stream of customers.
According to Barbara Wetherell of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington, Canada is currently the largest supplier of ecstasy in the US. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, however, disputed some details surrounding the claim but they did acknowledge that widespread smuggling is a prevalent issue that they have to contend with.
“Canada has become a source country for ecstasy and the RCMP is working closely with other Canadian law enforcement agencies and American agencies to stem the flow into the US,” says Greg Cox, spokesperson from the RCMP’s national headquarters based in Ottawa. “As part of the Canadian government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, the RCMP is continuing to crack down on gangs and combat illicit drug production.”
Canadian organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso said that the country is currently one of the top suppliers of ecstasy in the world. The drug is being smuggled all over the globe but the United States remains its principal market.
“Canada is for ecstasy what Colombia is for cocaine,” says Nicaso. “It’s a very profitable commodity.”
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