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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Hells Angels remain the most powerful Drug-gang violence that has ripped through Metro Vancouver in recent months has been linked to gangwarfare

09:28 | ,

B.C.-based organized crime groups are controlling the sale of methamphetamine across Canada and abroad, according to Criminal Intelligence Service Canada's annual report.
Meth production in the province was up in 2007 "primarily to meet expanding international market consumption," said the report, which marks trends in organized crime across the country."The number of super-labs in Canada indicates the capacity to produce significant quantities for foreign distribution," the report said.In 2007, seizures of Canadian-produced methamphetamine were interdicted in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and to a lesser extent, China, Taiwan, India and Iran. The majority of the groups involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine are based in B.C."B.C. is also still a major producer of marijuana for cross-border smuggling, with cocaine being brought back into Canada by crime groups, the report said.
The resulting drug-gang violence that has ripped through Metro Vancouver in recent months is a hallmark of the crime groups, the report said."Violence and intimidation are used to solidify or further a crime group's involvement within a criminal market. It is usually directed either externally against criminal rivals or internally within their own organization to maintain discipline," it said.
"In some instances, lower-level criminal groups will pose a more immediate and direct public safety threat through acts of violence that are often carried out in public places. These violent, lower-level criminal groups are largely but not entirely composed of street gangs, some of which have committed assaults or shootings in public places."
Police say the Hells Angels remain the most powerful organized crime group in B.C.
More than 900 crime groups were identified as operating in Canada in 2007, about the same number as the year before.Their major centres of criminal operation are Metro Vancouver, southern Ontario and Montreal, the report said. Some of the B.C. crime groups are also involved in human trafficking, it said."A small number of organized crime groups, mostly based in B.C. and Quebec, are involved in the facilitation of international trafficking in persons (TIP), it said."Conversely, several street gangs are active within the domestic TIP market for the purposes of sexual exploitation. These groups facilitate the recruitment, control, movement and exploitation of Canadian-born females in the domestic sex trade, primarily in strip bars in several cities across the country."
RCMP E Division media liaison Sgt. Tim Shields said police in B.C. are fighting back against crime groups in the province."Today there are more than 17 police units and government agencies actively working together to combat organized crime," Shields said Friday. "But this is not just a problem for the police to solve in isolation. It is a problem for the entire community to take a stand against."
Shields said the marijuana trade in B.C. is estimated to be worth $6 billion per year."This figure does not include revenue from the sale of crystal meth, cocaine and heroin, and from identity theft, credit card fraud, prostitution, gun smuggling, human trafficking, and money laundering," he said. "But even more alarming is the violent crime associated to organized crime such as shootings in public places, kidnappings and the murders of innocent people."Not only are the gangs involved in drug trafficking, but they are also increasingly committing fraud and identity theft as technology makes it easier."Technology changes very fast and our reliance on technology is growing at a phenomenal rate," RCMP Commissioner William Elliott told a news conference in Montreal. "It is a challenge for us to keep up, which is all the more reason why we need to collaborate more and I think this report is an example of us doing it."The report said wireless technology allows fraud artists to steal payment card information without entering a store. They can gather the information from a point-of-sale terminal inside while sitting in a car nearby. The information is then transferred to illegal debit card factories worldwide within seconds.
The potential for profits is huge, making it very attractive to well-established organized crime groups traditionally involved in activities like drug trafficking.
"As we move more and more to the Internet and the technology being used, the risks are increasing. A lot of the public are not very careful about their identity," said Elliott, who is also the chairman of Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), a grouping of 380 law enforcement agencies across Canada.
"One of the reasons why organized crime has been as successful as it [is], is because they are very adaptable. It's not as if they have given up any of their traditional markets but, as new technology and as changes occur in society, they are also changing and taking advantage of the areas they can exploit

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