I guess I think of something else when I see “major”

Vancouver Island drug bust leads to charges

RCMP and Victoria police say they are confident they have broken a major drug trafficking operation, one year after seizing 15 kilograms of cocaine and quantities of ecstasy, methamphetamine and other drugs.

The drugs and more than $160,000 in cash were seized in two raids on Vancouver Island in September 2008.

RCMP announced Wednesday that eight people have now been charged with a variety of drug offences and warrants have been issued for three others in connection with the 2008 seizures.

This investigation took months and the likely final cost to the provincial treasury (paying for police, corrections, courts and the like) will exceed the paltry amount of cash seized plus the value of the drugs. And the few people that were arrested will quickly be replaced. Scratch that: they already have been. They were, after all, just cogs in a vast machine that dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, the resources of the police.

Are cocaine, meth, ecstacy still available on Vancouver Island. Yep. And so what “disruption” did police actually cause? Nothing good. The typical effects of busting an existing organized drug distribution ring are: (1) street prices of drugs temporarily rise but swiftly return to post-bust prices or lower (lower because new market entrants offer product at lesser cost in order to establish a quick base of clients); and, (2) increased street disorder and violence (because the new market entrants may use violence to secure their turf and the old players will use violence to fend them off).

In many respects, this is exactly what has happened in Vancouver: police action against long established high level alleged Hell’s Angels created a vacuum in the market which was quickly filled by younger, more hungry and more trigger-happy gangs. The result: a spate of street violence with no tangible effect on either the supply of or demand for drugs.

There are much more effective ways to use our limited police resources. I’m personally appalled to read this story, which quite clearly described an incredible waste of resources, only moments after reading that funding for education in BC has been cut by $54 million, that parent-advisory committees in schools have had their funding reduced by 50% and that our provincial deficit will soon reach historic levels.

Would you rather spend money helping students or funding useless and quite possibly counter-productive police operations? I know where my priorities lie. It is tragic that our elected officials would rather spend our money causing harm than educating our children. If you agree, tell them. Use the tools at www.whyprohibition.ca or simply drop an email to Solicitor General Kash Heed ([email protected]) and tell him to tell his boss that educating kids is more important than impotently busting a few black marketeers.