Sunday, February 06, 2005

Drug Marketers Hit Small Towns

As drugs saturate our cities, crafty drug marketers -- the term "dealers" doesn't even begin to describe the sophistication of their operations -- are seeking new markets in small towns. This from Edmonton, Canada:
Drug dealers looking for profitable new markets are increasingly targeting smaller communities around Edmonton, the RCMP warn.

"Drug traffickers are out there infiltrating our communities and now what we see evolving is a cycle of violence that I find quite disturbing," Supt. Brian McLeod said at a news conference.

As an example of the increased drug activity, RCMP are pointing to a seven-month undercover operation in Leduc that recently resulted in 35 people facing 88 drug-related charges. During the operation, officers seized cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamines, ketamine and marijuana worth a total of $68,000. Two handguns and $13,000 in cash were also seized. Many of those charged were younger than 25.

"This should obviously be a signal to the magnitude of the drug infiltration into that particular area of Leduc," McLeod said, adding that the operation will be a springboard to tackling the problem in other communities. ...

Increased activity in smaller communities is likely due in part to drug organizations wishing to expand their reach past the city limits, said University of Alberta criminologist Keith Spencer.

Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke said his town has seen an increase in car thefts, assaults and break-ins, crimes that usually increase alongside the drug trade. He says the town was taken by surprise when word broke about the seven-month drug sweep.

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