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Good ReadsWhy Criminals Love Canada

Why Criminals Love Canada

Why Criminals Love Canada

by Hank Reardon

Canada has become a multicultural haven for organized crime, says Antonio Nicaso, co-author (with Lee Lamothe) of Angels, Mobsters and Narco-Terrorists: The Rising Menace of Global Criminal Empires (Wiley Canada).

According to Nicaso, 9/11 had a direct impact on Canada's underworld. Funding for law enforcement was diverted to anti-terrorist/homeland security operations, resulting in new opportunities for organized crime to flourish here and (ironically) leading to the development of alliances between criminal gangs and terrorist networks. Countries that once funded terrorists, fearful of U.S. retaliation, cut off the money supply to insurgent groups, which then forged alliances with mobsters to traffic in drugs, weapons and human cargo to finance their terror campaigns.

"What we are facing now is an increase in co-operation among several criminal organizations," Nicaso says." They are not showing as much interest in controlling a territory. That is why we are seeing a proliferation of street and motorcycle gangs, because they are directly involved in the distribution of narcotics .The major criminal organizations used to do that. They now import narcotics, but no longer distribute them. They leave that to the gangs, which then engage in turf wars and shootings., as we are seeing in Toronto these days. This situation is being repeated in other Canadian cities, including Ottawa."

These groups have different goals and mentalities, but they are in business together, exchanging commodities. For example, the terrorist group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is replacing the Colombian drug cartels. FARC now controls the cocaine fields in Colombia. It is exporting cocaine to the Russian Mob and using the money to buy arms. Middle Eastern terrorist groups are funding their operations through drug trafficking in Canada.

"Canada is a country of crime, but not a country of punishment," Nicaso laments. "Our judicial system is a joke. Parole boards do not consider drug trafficking to be a violent crime. In fighting organized crime, the government makes deals with criminals. Increasingly it negotiates plea bargains to avoid the cost of a lengthy trial. We are fighting organized crime in Canada with the mind of an accountant. Legislators are not coming out with intelligent solutions. They aren't going after the mobsters or their criminal assets. The Americans have the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statute, which has been very efficient in curbing organized crime there. The Americans are able to seize criminal assets and so create the worst conditions for criminal organizations to operate in; that is, conditions in which to challenge or curb organized crime. Unfortunately, Canada has comparable legislation, but it is rarely used. No wonder every major criminal organization in the world has a branch in Canada! Even the Israeli Mob has a presence here!"

Eighteen transnational criminal organizations are based in Canada. Why do criminals love Canada so much? Because there is a lower risk of prosecution and detention than in the United States and many countries in Europe. "We are a transit point," Nicaso notes. "Criminal organizations use our ports of entry to ship drugs into the United States. Only 25 per cent of those drugs remain in Canada for domestic consumption. We are a source country for narcotics."

The Americans are fed up with this growing threat along their northern border. One Indian reserve on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border is controlled by an aboriginal criminal gang, Nicaso says. "Through that reserve, you can smuggle immigrants, guns, cigarettes and narcotics," he tells me. "This is an issue that our federal government does not want to address, because it is afraid of being politically incorrect. Federal politicians are afraid they might create another explosive Oka-type situation."

Canada's ports are also in the hands of criminals, the author claims. "The Port of Montreal is controlled by the West End Gang and the Hell's Angels," Nicaso says. "They can make a fully-loaded container disappear in 15 minutes. They run the show. Reports by criminal intelligence services clearly indicate that criminals control the Port of Montreal, the Port of Halifax, and ports on the West Coast."

The proceeds from these criminal activities are then invested in legitimate businesses through money-laundering schemes in offshore banks. According to Nicaso, what the mobs once did with guns, they now do with lawyers: "Today's criminals run their activities as corporations. One of the major sources of revenue for criminals in Canada these days are legitimate business enterprises created from the proceeds of crime."

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