A series of recent arrests and charges against Strait area residents for their involvement in the distribution and sale of illegal drugs shows just how bad the drug problem has become.
Inverness District RCMP got the ball rolling in January after four separate incidents uncovered drugs like oxycodone and cocaine, as well as cash, and resulted in charges against six people in Inverness County. Just last month, two more people in Port Hawkesbury were charged after a police search of a vehicle uncovered cocaine and oxycodone.
The arrests were made as a result of complaints from Inverness County residents about the amount of drugs in their communities.
Then on February 23, the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit executed search warrants at residences in Arichat and West Arichat, resulting in charges against two Isle Madame men for trafficking and importing cocaine.
Police executed the warrants as part of Operation Halfpenny, a one-and-a-half-year international drug smuggling investigation with ties to Colombia. The RCMP said they received information in the spring of 2015 from Cape Breton.
It’s conceivable that like the folks in Inverness County, others were fed up with the amount of drug dealing, addiction and related criminal activity in their community.
Several seizures of money and hard drugs in Inverness County and news that Richmond County residents were involved in a national drug smuggling and distribution ring with ties to South America, are proof of the severity of this problem.
It is encouraging that the RCMP are identifying culprits, searching residences, making arrests, and laying charges, but this problem should not have been left to deteriorate.
It takes many years of people getting away with illegal behaviour before such activity grows to become the problem it has, and it’s clear drug activity was left largely unchecked over time, due in no small part to a lack of action from law enforcement.
It should not take residents complaining to police to have them address such a glaring problem. This activity was at such a level that law enforcement should have been aware and plans should have been in place many years ago to meet this challenge head-on.
Unfortunately, this didn’t take place and law enforcement now has to clean up this mess.