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Police link Vancouver violence to Mexico

Police link Vancouver violence to Mexico

Canadian police say a Mexican crackdown on drug cartels has led to a wave of killings in Canada's Olympic city as rival gangs battle for dominance over a cocaine shortage.
Eleven people have died since January in more than two dozen shootings in Vancouver, which is preparing to host the 2010 Winter Games. Three people have died in the past week. Police believe most of the violence is drug-gang related.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Supt. Pat Fogarty said Thursday the supply lines to Vancouver trace back to Mexico through the United States, particularly Los Angeles.
Fogarty said Vancouver gangs have gone to war over a dwindling supply because Mexican supply lines are drying up.
Fogarty said the cost of cocaine in Vancouver has skyrocketed from $23,300 per kilogram to almost $39,000.
Fogarty, who commands a regional police task force to fight the drug gangs, said the bigger players with good supply lines into the south prevail, leaving the smaller ones scrambling for the drug market's crumbs amid rip-offs and unpaid debts.
On Tuesday, five people were hospitalized after blazes of street gunfire. Three more shootings occurred overnight Wednesday.
The violence has spread far beyond the city's notoriously squalid and poverty-stricken notorious Downtown Eastside where drugs and prostitution are rampant.
Canadian Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan recently dubbed Vancouver the country's gang capital. He said the violence is the worst in Canada.
Last month, Canadian Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson announced a new law that would label gang killings as first-degree murder, carrying a sentence of at least 25 years without parole.
The proposed law also would create a new offense with a minimum four-year jail term for drive-by shootings.
The same day, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Vancouver the increasing violence should not worry people planning to attend the Olympics.
Harper said the Olympics and the drug-gang violence are separate issues.
A total of 15,000 police officers, private security and military personnel for the Games is expected to cost at least $715 million. That's more than five times the original estimate.


Updated : 2021-10-21 03:46 GMT+08:00