Abbotsford Police Unintentionally Reveal Prohibition’s Flaws

EIGHT ARRESTED; TIES TO RED SCORPIONS

A two-day crackdown in Abbotsford’s downtown core has resulted in the arrests of seven males and one female with ties to the Red Scorpions.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said more arrests are expected in the coming days.

Beat and bike squads spent Wednesday and Thursday targeting drug lines and dealers – mainly involved in dial-a-dope operations – downtown and in the areas near Ravine Park and Abbotsford Collegiate.

Seized were quantities of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana, as well as cash, cellphones and knives. MacDonald said the exact amounts were still being determined as of this morning.

Police are not yet releasing names of those arrested, but they were mainly in their late teens to early 20s. The oldest was 61.

MacDonald said the majority had links that clearly trace back to the Red Scorpions, dispelling the myth that street-level drugs are sold by “mom and pop” operations.

“If you’re buying drugs, you’re buying from organized crime,” he said.

Some of the arrested were still in high school or of high school age, and many of the drug deals took place on or near school grounds.

“Drugs are being sold in high school, so who has to sell it to them?” MacDonald said. “There’s a myth that there’s a guy in a trench coat selling drugs outside of the high school, but that’s not the case.”

He said the fact that a female was among those arrested shows that gangs have stepped up their efforts in finding their “foot soldiers.”

“It’s not always easy to be a Red Scorpion or a United Gang member, so they have to actively work to recruit.”

MacDonald said it’s difficult to determine how much of an impact recent arrests of gang members are having on the groups’ operations.

“What we ( police ) are hoping to do is be disruptive … and, in essence, continue our messaging – that if you’re going to be a gangster in Abbotsford, we’re going to make your life miserable.”

MacDonald said information garnered from these arrests is being used in future investigations and projects.

“The advantage for us is … we can follow the food chain ( of the gangs ),” he said.

I wonder if Officer MacDonald understands just how revealing his comments are? Let’s review. Police arrest a lot of street level drug dealers in Abbotsford. Some apparently have ties to the Red Scorpions, an alleged criminal organization. Police crow about it in the news, but comments reveal:

1. Police operations rarely target high-level criminals, concentrating instead on the low-hanging-fruit of street dealers;
2. Gangs use the profits you can make from prohibition to recruit young people into a life of crime;
3. There are no shadowy pushermen stalking schoolyards and handing out drugs to kids – most school drug sellers are kids, in the school, selling to people they know;
4. Police don’t really believe their arrests have an impact on the gangs. The point, instead, seems to be “sending messages” about how your life might be “miserable” if you get busted in Abbotsford;

So a two day operation involving the arrest of a bunch of primarily young people will result in essentially no progress in reducing drug demand, drug supply or the recruitment of young people into gangs. Indeed, it will probably increase such recruitment because now the gangs need new people to work the corners. And if any of the people busted go to jail, their links to the gangs will solidify and they will learn how to be better criminals when they are released. Since upon release they will be convicts, a life of continued crime is probably one of their only options.

How on earth is this anything but tragic? If you support drug prohibition, you support teenage drug dealing, teenage recruitment into gangs and the constant growth in the power and economic influence of organized crime. And in my book, you should be ashamed. We must end this madness for the sake of all Canadians but, primarily, to protect our youth from the dangers of prohibition.

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