Co-operation between Canada and other countries and territories to promote countermeasures against illicit drug trafficking

Sections

ABSTRACT
Introduction
Drug control laws and their enforcement in Canada
Canadian participation in international co-operation to combat drug trafficking
Legislative measures to ensure the tracing, freezing and forfeiture of the profits and proceeds of drug crimes
Mutual legal assistance treaties
Controlled delivery of drugs
Undercover techniques
Strategic intelligence sharing
Education and prevention programmes

Details

Author: R. T. STAMLER, R. C. FAHLMAN, G. W. CLEMENT
Pages: 79 to 85
Creation Date: 1987/01/01

Co-operation between Canada and other countries and territories to promote countermeasures against illicit drug trafficking

R. T. STAMLER Director, Drug Enforcement Directorate
R. C. FAHLMAN In Charge of the Strategic Intelligence and Publications Branch
G. W. CLEMENT Anti-Drug Profiteering Program Co-ordinator Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT

This article reviews the current programme and legislation relating to drug control and co-operation in drug law enforcement between Canada and other countries. The article also outlines the measures proposed by the authors to promote world-wide co-operation in controlling the illicit traffic in drugs. The authors make the following suggestions: in order to prevent individuals involved in organized crime from profiting from their illegal activities, standards for criminal laws should be established at the international level to ensure that no country or territory can be used as a haven for organized crime and profits derived from it; national Governments must ensure that co-operation is extended to all investigations and enquiries concerning organized crime; bilateral and multilateral treaties should be developed and adopted to ensure the exchange of information and mutual co-operation in law enforcement action against organized crime; international co-operation is needed to ensure the effective prosecution of individuals involved in organized international criminal groups and the removal of their illegally accumulated profits, which should result in the dismantling of the illegal organizations to prevent their entrenchment in contemporary societies.

Introduction

Never has there been a greater need for international co-operation in drug law enforcement action to combat illicit drug trafficking. Over the past decade criminal organizations have enormously increased their mobility and their human and financial resources. In order to achieve success through the division of enforcement responsibilities, criminal networks have crossed over international boundaries and utilized different countries and territories to further their illegal activities. In many cases of drug trafficking it is necessary to look for evidence in countries or territories other than a country or territory where a charge has been laid and the accused individual has been brought to trial [1] .

Drug trafficking is one of the few illicit financial pursuits that have been continuously growing. It is to a large extent dominated by organized criminal syndicates whose purposes are to secure financial profit and influence in society. Enormous amounts of money flow from street drug sales upwards to high-level organizers of international crime. Drug trafficking alone generates more revenue for criminal organizations than any other type of criminal activity. This fact was highlighted in a 1981 national survey on enterprise crime, which revealed that illicit drug trafficking was responsible for 87 per cent of the cash flow generated from organized crime in Canada.

With greater financial resources than many police agencies, criminal organizations while conducting illegal business transactions use sophisticated equipment to identify law enforcement intrusion devices and employ counter surveillance methods to protect themselves from detection. Drug traffickers can afford to hire computer and legal and financial experts to assist in the day-to-day operations of their lucrative illegal enterprises. Using sophisticated money-laundering techniques to divert their huge profits into seemingly legitimate business, criminal organizations have made it increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to disrupt their extremely profitable operations.

The phenomenon of illicit drug trafficking can no longer be viewed as a contemporary social affliction that will pass with time. The global drug trade has to be identified and treated for what it is, namely the international distribution of illegal commodities which form the major source of income for criminal organizations. In order to combat this world-wide problem effectively, enforcement agencies must work in close co-operation at the national, regional and interregional levels.

In the following paragraphs the authors review the current programme and legislative measures relating to drug control and co-operation in drug law enforcement between Canada and other countries and territories. Furthermore, the authors propose certain measures with a view to promoting a world-wide co-operative spirit to control the illicit drug trade.

Drug control laws and their enforcement in Canada

The laws on narcotics and other dangerous drugs in Canada are contained in the Narcotic Control Act and the Food and Drugs Act. The international control required by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as Amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [2] , is provided for in Canada by the Narcotic Control Act. This Act applies to opiates, cocaine and cannabis and its derivatives. The Food and Drugs Act and its regulations provide for the controls required by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 [3] .

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has the mandate to enforce the Canadian drug control laws and to bring before the criminal justice system those individuals and organizations involved in illicit drug activities. RCMP has approximately 1,000 personnel throughout Canada dedicated to drug law enforcement.

Canadian participation in international co-operation to combat drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is an international phenomenon with adverse social, political and economic effects on all countries. Illicit drug production is a major problem for some countries, illicit drug use for others, and illicit transit for a number of other countries, but all of them are severely affected by the phenomenon. Law enforcement in Canada is actively involved in co-operative efforts to combat international drug trafficking. Canada has become a signatory to several international agreements, primarily through the United Nations. The principal agreement to which Canada is a signatory is the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as Amended by the 1972 Protocol [2] , which restricts the trade in, and use of, narcotic drugs to exclusively medical and scientific purposes. Through its commitment to the Single Convention, Canada co-operates with foreign authorities in the various aspects of drug control, including drug law enforcement. While Canada has not yet acceded to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 [3] , it is directly involved in its administration and regulates drugs according to its schedules.

Canada is represented in a number of United Nations committees dealing with drug control matters and is a member of the Customs Co-operation Council. Since 1949, RCMP has co-operated with other police forces in combating drug trafficking through the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO/Interpol). RCMP operates the national central bureau which links the world police network with Canadian police forces and law enforcement agencies. Canada recognizes that the growing drug-trafficking problems throughout the world can only be effectively dealt with by international co-operative efforts.

Legislative measures to ensure the tracing, freezing and forfeiture of the profits and proceeds of drug crimes

National level

National criminal laws and procedures must provide for the appropriate tracing, freezing and forfeiture of the profits and proceeds of drug crimes so that organized criminal groups are not able to benefit from the proceeds generated by criminal activity, no matter where such a criminal activity has taken place. Section 312 of the Canadian Criminal Code makes it an offence to possess anything that has been obtained or derived directly or indirectly from the commission of an indictable offence or any act committed anywhere that if committed in Canada would be classified as an indictable offence. This provision in conjunction with the laws of conspiracy, makes it possible to prosecute anyone in Canada who conspires with anyone (even if all the conspirators are outside Canada) to possess the proceeds of crime within Canada. While the law provides for prosecuting criminals who possess the proceeds of crime, it was not designed to remove the proceeds from their possession. There are, in fact, few provisions in the law that can be used to dismantle financial empires run by organized criminal groups in Canada.

International level

Effective action to prevent criminals from making profits from their illegal international activities requires the establishment of international standards for development and adoption of national criminal laws. Criminal laws must ensure that no country or territory can be used as a haven for organized crime or for protection of profits derived from crime.

It is the opinion of the authors that national Governments must ensure that their fullest co-operation is extended to all investigations and enquiries concerning organized crime. For this purpose, appropriate bilateral and multilateral treaties should be developed and adopted to ensure the exchange of information and mutual co-operation in law enforcement matters involving organized crime. The highest levels of support should be extended to such organizations as ICPO/Interpol and the Customs Co-operation Council in an effort to reduce organized criminal activity world-wide.

At the moment, there are no international conventions that are directed specifically against organized crime. In August 1985, the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders recommended in its resolution 2 that the preparation of a new international instrument against illicit drug traffic should be considered an absolute priority [4] .

The General Assembly of the United Nations, in its resolution 39/141 of 14 December 1984, requested the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to initiate, as a matter of priority, the preparation of a draft convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs. On the same date, the General Assembly, in its resolution 39/142, adopted the Declaration on the Control of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, which states, inter alia, that the eradication of trafficking in narcotic drugs is the collective responsibility of all States, and that States should use the legal instruments against the illegal production of, illicit demand for, abuse of and illicit traffic in drugs and adopt additional measures to counter the new manifestations of this crime. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is in the process of drafting the proposed international convention, which is expected to include solutions to deal more effectively with drug trafficking and organized crime. One of the main elements for inclusion are measures to ensure the identification, tracing, freezing, seizure and forfeiture of the proceeds of drug crimes. Canada realizes that the international nature of the drug problem requires international measures to cope with it, and supports the initiative to develop an effective international instrument to promote co-operation between countries and territories in combating drug trafficking.

Mutual legal assistance treaties

Recognizing the need to promote co-operation in law enforcement between Canada and the international community, officials from Canada and the United States of America have negotiated the Canada-United States Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. It was signed by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States on 17 March 1985. It provides a framework for improved co-operation between the two countries in the investigation of international drug trafficking, organized crime and other criminal activities and in the prosecution of the criminals involved. In addition to improving co-operation between Canada and the United States in law enforcement activities relating to cross-border matters, it is hoped that this treaty will also serve as a model for the development of similar bilateral treaties with other jurisdictions.

Controlled delivery of drugs

A controlled delivery of drugs is defined as the transporting of illicit drugs from one country to another under controlled conditions with the knowledge and consent of law enforcement officials of each country. The main objective of a controlled delivery is to allow a consignment of illicit drugs to continue under surveillance of law enforcement officers in order to permit the apprehension and successful prosecution of the key principals involved, rather than the mere seizure of the drugs and apprehension of the couriers.

In the interests of international co-operation and assistance in action against the illicit traffic, as set forth in article 35 (b), (c) and (d) of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as Amended by the 1972 Protocol [2] , some countries currently allow the international controlled delivery of drugs for law enforcement purposes. However, a number of countries take a strict interpretation of article 31 of the Single Convention, relating to international trade in licit drugs, as well as article 4, limiting, inter alia, the export and import of drugs controlled under the Convention to medical and scientific purposes only, and thereby refuse to permit the controlled delivery of drugs for law enforcement purposes. The countries which permit international controlled deliveries, of which Canada is one, do so under the issuance of an authorization as outlined in article 31, paragraph 4, of the Single Convention, dealing with international trade in licit narcotics. Canada recognizes and supports the need for international co-operation in permitting the controlled delivery of drugs for law enforcement purposes.

Undercover techniques

The use of professionally trained police officers acting in an undercover capacity has been for decades an effective enforcement tool to uncover illegal activities. In recent years, RCMP has had a number of investigations where an RCMP undercover officer has been successful in infiltrating not only an organization based in Canada, but also its international affiliates. In many instances, by proceeding beyond Canada's boundaries, the arrest of the suppliers in source countries has resulted. This success is only possible where there is a co-operative spirit among all countries affected.

Strategic intelligence sharing

In order to increase the effectiveness of drug control, RCMP collects, analyses and disseminates available information relating to drug trafficking and abuse in the form of intelligence reports.

The information is issued in a number of publications, which form an integral part of the overall RCMP strategic intelligence programme. These include the RCMP National Drug Intelligence Estimate, the RCMP Monthly Digest of Drug Intelligence Trends and RCMP Drug Intelligence Bulletins.

The annual RCMP National Drug Intelligence Estimate and the Monthly Digest of Drug Intelligence Trends are distributed to all federal departments concerned with drug law enforcement in Canada and to RCMP drug enforcement units, which provide copies to their provincial and local counterparts. These publications are also distributed to RCMP liaison officers stationed at Canadian embassies, who provide complimentary copies to host countries.

Education and prevention programmes

Although the mandate of RCMP concerns the enforcement of drug laws, it is firmly convinced that drug education and prevention of drug abuse are vital to its efforts to reduce the availability and use of illicit drugs in Canada. With this in mind, RCMP works closely with Health and Welfare Canada and other Government departments concerned with drug education and prevention of drug abuse. Health and Welfare Canada focuses on prevention in its youth drug programmes. Its awareness and information programme is directed to adolescents and their parents and is intended to help the two groups in promoting a clearer understanding of the cannabis issue. Health and Welfare officials realize that communications between parents and children is essential. To this end, two booklets have been produced, one (entitled "Stay Real") deals with the issues of communication about cannabis, and another (entitled "Straight Facts About Drug Abuse") with key questions which adolescents and parents have about drugs. By providing this type of information, the Government hopes to decrease the need for enforcement.

References

01

R. T. Stamler, "Forfeiture of the profits and proceeds of drug crimes", Bulletin on Narcotics (United Nations publication), vol. 36, No. 4 (1984), pp. 1-18.

02

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as Amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.77.XI.3).

03

Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.78.XI.3).

04

. Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Milan, 26 August to 6 September 1985: Report Prepared by the Secretariat (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.86. IV.1), chap. I, sect. E.