A near tragedy in Kamloops and a lesson in futility

CN BC: A Reminder of the Drug World’s Violence in Kamloops

Kamloops Mounties say the attempted armed robbery of an undercover cop during a set-up dope deal on Thursday shows just how violent the local drug world can be.

Without offering details, RCMP Insp. Yves Lacasse said an undercover officer was unhurt following the confrontation, which apparently involved four suspects – two men, a woman and a youth.

All four are in custody facing robbery and firearms-related charges.

The incident occurred at the conclusion of a two-month undercover operation targeting street-level drug dealers in Kamloops.

“We weren’t going after the big fish,” Lacasse said.

“It was more the guys on the street.”

Six people are currently in custody, but Mounties are seeking warrants for another 37 dealers.

“The other ones, we’re coming after you,” Lacasse said.

“I know that our guys can’t wait to have these guys in silver bracelets.”

The undercover operation, dubbed Project E-Prantincole by police, resulted in the seizure of almost $40,000 worth of dope – including more than $30,000 in ecstasy and another $7,000 worth of cocaine.

“I was surprised by the amount of ecstasy that’s ready and available in Kamloops,” said RCMP Cpl. Gary Senner of the Kamloops detachment’s drug squad.

“The coke and the crack is pretty much normal.”

Dear editor:

I read your recent article detailing the attack on the undercover police officer in Kamloops and wanted to offer a suggestion on how to make police safer, improve their overall effectiveness and also reduce crime and violence: end the drug war. If the few currently-illegal drugs were, instead, legally produced and sold in licensed businesses there would be no need for police to engage in these types of dangerous undercover operations. And there would be none of the violence that is associated with black markets in substances.

Why should police have to “resort to any means” to go after drug dealers? It is patently obvious that the prohibition approach is not working: police are “surprised” by how much MDMA (ecstasy) is available but, hey, the coke and crack is “pretty much normal.” Normal. And this despite pouring millions of dollars each year into the black hole that is prohibition.

Is that how we want to spend our limited resources? I just read that funding for education in BC has been cut by $54 million this year. Education is the key to reducing the demand for dangerous drugs and yet we cut those budgets while, year after year, dedicating more to policing, prisons and courts. Policing, prisons and courts that are totally ineffective at reducing either the supply of or demand for drugs but that put law enforcement officers at great risk. What a tragedy.