Are there more narcotics in Quebec or are the police more present? One thing is certain, drug traffickers in the region have had a hard time in recent months, as the authorities have gone into overdrive, after more than two years of the pandemic, to crack down on the black market.
"The pressure brought about by confinement and the pandemic has caused the consumption of narcotics, especially methamphetamine, to skyrocket," said Roger Ferland, a former investigator with the Service de police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ).
According to a non-exhaustive census of the Journal, the SPVQ carried out at least 19 searches and 38 arrests in the field of narcotics, between September 1 and December 21 last.
These searches led to the seizure of approximately 50,000 methamphetamine tablets, 104 kg of cannabis, 660 grams of cocaine, 500 oxycodone tablets, 1,000 cannabis plants and $128,000 in cash.
More than 60 cell phones, 53 "wax pens", a few firearms and handguns of all kinds, five vehicles, as well as a few grams of hashish, oil and cannabis edibles, were also obtained during these interventions.
Tip of the Iceberg
Although the SPVQ refused to comment on the question, Le Journal noted that it was a comeback of the police force in this field after two quieter years, due to the pandemic.
By way of comparison, 28 people directly or indirectly linked to drug or cannabis trafficking were arrested over this same period, for the combined years of 2020 and 2021, if we rely on the data released by the police of Quebec.
Despite this significant increase in interventions in this area, this would only be the tip of the iceberg, according to Mr. Ferland. Organized crime, which would remotely manage the traffic in the region by collecting a sales tax, is far from being affected.
"When we talk about the flow of about 2 million pills of methamphetamine and 100 kg of cocaine in Quebec in one month, we are far from the mark," he says.
To do the housework
The 38 arrests in three months are still interesting for the authorities since they allow them to work the field and better know the players who sell the goods.
"And it allows you to clean up your yard to avoid losing control, even if you rarely reach the head of the snake and it is impossible to completely stop the phenomenon," explains Mr. Ferland.
For the former investigator, it would be possible to improve the efficiency of the squads dedicated to drug trafficking by allowing them to finance themselves with the money and goods they seize from the traffickers.
Fall 2020 *
* Data is missing regarding seizures from an operation that led to 11 arrests.
Source: According to data from the Service de police de la Ville de Québec, compiled by Le Journal, between September 1 and December 21 of each year