Lax Pot Laws Lure Criminals To Canada, Police Say

Lax Pot Laws Lure Criminals To Canada, Police Say
Posted by CN Staff on October 28, 2003 at 08:43:16 PT
By Jonathan Fowlie
Source: Globe and Mail 
After a gang-style weekend shooting left twin brothers dead, Toronto's top homicide officer denounced Canada's marijuana laws, saying they are an open invitation for criminals from around the world to set up shop."We've got a new cash crop called marijuana where the penalties are slight and the profits are enormous," Staff Inspector Gary Ellis, head of the homicide squad, said yesterday.
"We are attracting every serious criminal going, and just like the old Wild West days, you get the violence that goes with it," he said.While he had no direct evidence to link the weekend shootings to marijuana grow houses -- or even to recent shootings involving such operations -- Staff Insp. Ellis said the deaths were yet another example of what he called a continuing "cycle of violence."He said that if laws don't allow police to crack down on marijuana users and growers, gangs in Toronto, such as the one that may have killed the twins on Sunday, will become even more visible as they fight over profits in the city's drug trade.On Sunday morning, two to four men burst into the Hush Karaoke Bar on Ossington Avenue, near Queen Street.Their faces covered with hats and bandannas, the men walked directly to the table where the victims were sitting, pulled out their guns and began "firing indiscriminately," according to Detective Rudy Pasini, the lead investigator on the case.The bullets left 27-year-old twins Phu Hoa Le and Loc Dai Le dead. Three of their friends were injured.Two men, both 26, were treated and released on Sunday. A 24-year-old remains in hospital and was expected to live, police said.The Vietnamese brothers worked together at a marble and granite countertop installation company.Loc Dai Le was married with one child.Police said that although the men had been involved in "minor" offences in the past, they were not considered dangerous and had no known links to any local gangs.Staff Insp. Ellis said he was almost certain, however, that those who shot the men were part of a gang, and were connected to the underworld that is becoming increasingly more visible throughout Toronto."Those who are involved in this type of trade are a culture unto themselves. They don't leave clues; they're ruthless, and they are very transient," he said. "I'm concerned, because I see the outcome of the bodies on the street and I'm expected to do something about it."At a press conference last week, Staff Insp. Ellis tried to outline the danger of relaxing marijuana legislation after a 22-year-old man was killed in a shootout outside a Scarborough grow house.Staff Insp. Ellis said it was too early to tell if there were any connections between the killings this past weekend and those in the shootout, but maintained that the recent deaths just prove what he was trying to say last week."It goes with what I predicted," he said. "I'm not saying I'm connecting the two, [but] we've got some gang warfare going on here where people are being executed, and some of them are innocent."While Staff Insp. Ellis thought it too early to draw too close a connection between the incidents, his investigators confirmed yesterday they are already looking for possible links.Det. Pasini said he is comparing the guns used and the descriptions of the suspects.He added that while most witnesses left the karaoke bar after Sunday's shooting, many of the nearly 30 people there have come forward to offer accounts of what they saw.He urged others to do the same, admitting the present descriptions of suspects are vague. He said he hoped that other witnesses could help assemble a better description.Police are looking for up to four Asian men, possibly Vietnamese, and 20 to 30 years of age.Det. Pasini said he was ruling out any connection to the location itself, which changed hands less than a month ago. He said the fact the men came straight towards the victims once they entered the bar suggested they had specific targets in mind.While Det. Pasini searched for witnesses and more clues, Staff Insp. Ellis continued his call for stronger regulations. "On the policy macro level I think its very shortsighted," he said of Ottawa's intentions to relax marijuana legislation."The outcome is that nice residential neighbourhoods are going to get shot up. These guys [gang members] are soldiers."Note: Twins' killers likely part of increasingly visible Toronto underworld, officer says.Complete Title: Lax Pot Laws Lure Criminals To Canada, Police SuggestSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Jonathan FowliePublished: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - Page A15 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: News Canadian Links -- Canada Archives
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Comment #10 posted by Kegan on October 29, 2003 at 03:30:15 PT
To The Globe And Mail
To The editor,Staff Inspector Gary Ellis said that "if laws don't allow police to crack down on marijuana users and growers".... then the gang wars will get worse. Gary's answer is harsher laws, and more police involvement. Anyone who has watched the incredible failure of the drug war thus far would disagree. "The War On Drugs" is a catastrophic fiasco, and always has been.Anyone looking at history will remember that violence in the United States during alcohol prohibition era was comparable to the violence we see today with the "War On Drugs". And how did they reduce the violence back in the 1920's? They repealed prohibition.If cannabis prohibition were repealed in Canada, then the black market would collapse. Then these "soldiers" would have to move to start paying tens of millions of dollars to Revenue Canada for their growing efforts.You don't see Seagram's trucks getting robbed too often.Russell Barth
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Comment #9 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on October 29, 2003 at 01:57:04 PT
Sirs,  As long as marijuana is illegal, criminals will monopolize the business. The level of law enforcement merely determines the price on the street. Canada also has highly profitable alcohol businesses, but there is no violence associated with the manufacture and distribution of alcohol. It's time to allow marijuana the same legal status. People are apparently going to smoke it and buy it no matter what - wouldn't it be nice to see upstanding business owners and the tax man making money off of it, instead of these criminal gangs?
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Comment #8 posted by trekkie on October 28, 2003 at 14:18:07 PT
The most telling part of the "reporting..."
While he had no direct evidence to link the weekend shootings to marijuana grow houses -- or even to recent shootings involving such operations -- Staff Insp. Ellis said the deaths were yet another example of what he called a continuing "cycle of violence."Read that again, NO DIRECT EVIDENCE. If I hear another politician talk about the "liberal media," I'm gonna lose it. >:)
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on October 28, 2003 at 12:09:34 PT
Pay attention now...
"Prohibition" of alcohol - BAD. Al Capone! Terrible mistake by the government. bad, very bad.Prohibition of "drugs" - GOOD! You daughter will be shooting heroin & getting raped by huge black men within SECONDS if we legalize drugs.Just wanted to clarify that in case anyone was going to try a dirty trick, like thinking their own thoughts.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 28, 2003 at 10:27:44 PT
You're Welcome Treeanna 
It is very hard for me to post articles when someones name is mentioned. When I first started doing CNews I didn't have many thoughts on what to post or why I should or shouldn't post something. There wasn't much news happening 5 years ago. I posted articles with peoples names and didn't think much about how the person might feel. It never entered my mind. I was contacted by a few upset people. One was a lawyer as I remember. What they said was they were upset to see their name come up in a search tool. They said they have suffered enough and wanted to get on with rebuilding their lives and didn't want their children or parents to find it on line. I actually was asked one time by an upset lady. She asked me whose side was I on! I weigh articles to post and try to think of even how others might feel. Big cases like WAMM etc. I know publicity is fine but I don't know how individuals feel.
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Comment #5 posted by Treeanna on October 28, 2003 at 10:13:07 PT
Thanks, FoM
I am always grateful when you go ahead and post stuff.I would much rather be informed than kept in the dark.Seems our governments do enough of that.
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on October 28, 2003 at 09:45:30 PT
nothing new 
same story, different time, same old same old. If it were legal, maybe these things wouldn't happen. A no-brainer, not a profound revelation... legalize
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 28, 2003 at 09:16:59 PT
New Article from Snipped Source
U.S. Woman Held in B.C. on 1972 Drug ChargeJack Keating, The Province Tuesday, October 28, 2003 
The long arm of the law reached back 31 years to nab a middle-aged American wanted on a Canadian marijuana charge from 1972.Ilene Schecter, a 52-year-old mother of two, was arrested last month trying to enter B.C. at the Peace Arch crossing. She is in the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women."It was a total shock to us and our children," said her husband Gary Rosenzweig. "It just threw our whole life out of whack. "We have two children in college right now. She's had no charges. She's lived as a clean citizen, a teacher, a mother, just a normal life."Schecter was 22 when she was arrested in 1972 at Toronto International Airport with a kilogram of pot. She received a mandatory minimum seven-year prison sentence for importing the drug.After serving 14 months, Schecter was on a day pass in 1973 and walked away. She's been on the lam ever since.Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #2 posted by BigDawg on October 28, 2003 at 08:50:37 PT
"...and the profits are enormous," 
Ummm, remove the penalties for growing.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 28, 2003 at 08:47:02 PT
Just a Note
I really thought about posting this article and decided I should. I don't like when people are named in articles but this article is to try to make it harder on those who want the laws changed so I posted it. As long as Cannabis is illegal there will be a criminal element. It's the money not Cannabis!
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