Cop says city’s cocaine trade has exploded
Edmonton police suspect they’re intercepting less than 1 per cent of the city’s drug trade.
And even when cops do make a bust, suspected dealers are getting off too easy, Staff Sgt. Kevin Galvin said at a special media briefing yesterday.
"Ten thousand dollars bail, that’s nothing," Galvin told reporters at the Southeast Division police station, where he talked openly about gangs and organized crime in Alberta.
Edmonton police are investigating more than 20 criminal collectives that exist in three tiers: as local street gangs, as inter-provincial criminal networks and as organized crime groups of international finance and infamy, he said.
Cops are doing their job but the system breaks down during preliminary court hearings, when police must show cause for prosecution of a suspect before a justice of the peace.
"This system," Galvin said, tapping a graph illustrating the intersection between police and lawyers, "That’s what’s failing your community right now."
Galvin showed other graphs detailing crime hotspots around the city, and explained how lucrative the drug trade can be.
In Alberta’s booming economy a kilogram of cocaine can be bought for $30,000 and sold for $120,000 in the course of a weekend, he said.
Police are intercepting "probably less than 1 per cent," he said.
The drug trade connects to other aspects of criminal life, Galvin explained, detailing how criminals are like sharks operating on motive and opportunity, offering whatever "products on the shelf" they have available.
He said two gangs currently operating in Edmonton use the Internet to lure young women from rural Alberta as girlfriends, but the unsuspecting women soon become part of an international prostitution ring.
Hundreds of young Canadian girls and boys from across the country become ensnared, said Galvin.
"Several federal and international laws are being broken."
He would not name many names, but stressed that Alberta’s crime problem is growing.
"There are consumers for products that are illegal. There always has been and there always will be."