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The Marijuana Trade

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Scores of Vietnamese "family units" using fear, trust and relatives have taken a stranglehold on the multi-billion dollar illegal B.C. bud trade in Canada.

The operations, which revolve around how debts are repaid and secrets kept, are primarily organized through family ties and are dotted across the country.

Det. Jim Fisher, the Vancouver Police Department's intelligence coordinator for Asian crime said 95 per cent of grow-ops raided by police in the Vancouver area are operated by Vietnamese groups.

He said the groups are structured around family units, range in size from four people to as many as 100 and co-operate with one another to make money.

Testifying in Halifax at the sentencing hearing of a Vancouver man convicted of marijuana production and possession for the purpose of trafficking, Fisher, one of Canada's leading experts on Asian organized crime said: "Vietnamese groups are the largest producer of marijuana in the country."

Tuan Anh Nguyen, 43, of Vancouver was one of 12 people arrested after October 2004 drug busts in the Halifax and Truro areas. Police raided 20 sites and seized 4,000 marijuana plants, cash, growing equipment and 10 vehicles.

Operations such as these are treated as businesses and records are kept "rather meticulously." There is a "tremendous profit" in these grow operations and expansion across the country has become inevitable, the police officer said.

Fisher also described the inner workings of the grow operations. In many cases, "crop sitters" are paid a salary to tend to the plants.

Others deal with readying marijuana for smuggling, packaging it in an attempt to hide the drug from police. In some operations, there are even people employed as security to protect the crop, local media quoted him as saying.

While there is no central hierarchy that governs Vietnamese organized crime, groups do have business relationships with other criminal organizations.

Vietnamese grow-ops have sprung up in the Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal areas, Fisher said.

Fisher said some of the challenges for police in tackling Vietnamese gangs include cultural and language issues. He said there are also problems of impersonation, where those involved change names, or claim they are someone different.

A Vietnamese-Canadian community leader said there is a lot of talk about Vietnamese families involved in marijuana operations.

"Many of them feel this is the easy way to make money.they have language problems and cannot get high paying jobs and they go to do this because of the easy cash," he said.

"But we have to be careful not to say all Vietnamese people are involved in the drug trade," he said.

B.C.'s annual marijuana crop, sold at street level, is worth over $7 billion, according to a study called Marijuana Growth in British Columbia by The Fraser Institute. And it is estimated that there are roughly 17,500 marijuana grow-ops in B.C.

Police agencies destroy nearly 3,000 marijuana grow-ops a year in B.C., but the industry is so profitable that producers are prepared to take the criminal risk.

The increased involvement of Vietnamese family groups in this illicit trade is also being recorded by a variety of other agencies.

One B.C. police study showed that during 1997, the number of Vietnamese suspects involved in marijuana growing operations rose from 2% to 36%, representing a 26% increase.

Surrey's Electrical and Fire Safety Inspection team, also reports finding people of Vietnamese descent at most of the grow operations it inspected.

As well, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Intelligence has reported that Vietnamese people from Europe and Australia are being recruited to be crop-sitters ( to monitor grow operations ) and to learn how to grow marijuana. Police in the U.K. said 75 per cent of the marijuana factories they are busting are run by Vietnamese gangs.

"These gangs are bringing organized crime to the suburbs and the problem is getting worse," warned Chief Superintendent Jon House, of the South Yorkshire Police.

Properties in the suburbs and shires are usually bigger than flats and terraces in the city and bigger properties result in bigger profits.

The grow-ops being taken down in residential streets in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, the Peak District, and Iver Heath in Buckinghamshire all operate akin to those in Vancouver.

The analysis of nationwide police raids - 802 in London alone between 2005 and 2006 - showed around "two thirds to three quarters" of cannabis factories are run by Vietnamese gangs.

Quoting police the Daily Mail said the cannabis criminal chain invariably leads to Canada first, not Vietnam.

"The methods used back in Canada are now being replicated here," the paper said.

In Australia, police said that their latest criminal intelligence suggests Australian-based Vietnamese drug dealers have traveled to Canada to learn how to cultivate "a new brand of highly addictive cannabis." They are expected to use the knowledge to grow and sell it in Australia.

Calling the high-potency B.C. Bud "super dope", the threat by the Canadian-based Vietnamese gangs was revealed in the Australian Crime Commission's annual Illicit Drug report. The Asian Pacific Post reported in September that competing Canadian-based Asian organized crime syndicates were setting up elaborate marijuana grow-ops in Southern California, selling highly potent "B.C. Bud" for up to $6,000 a pound.

The clandestine setups - many in posh neighbourhoods, including the Inland Valley of San Bernardino County - are similar to those found in B.C., investigators said. Drug-enforcement officials in the U.S. say they're seeing a deadly trend as B.C. bud makes its way into their communities.

In July, two people-Linda Nguyen, 20, and Kevin Meas, 23-were fatally shot in a home that had 400 marijuana plants outside Seattle.

The Everett operation, which had been under surveillance by drug authorities since June, was believed to be part of a thriving Seattle-area network of indoor marijuana operations run by Vietnamese growers, drug officials said.

Source: Asian Pacific Post, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 The Asian Pacific Post.
Contact: editor@asianpacificpost.com
Website: Asian Pacific Post Newspaper - Chinese newspaper, Filipino newspaper, Philippines newspaper, Philippine newspaper and media published from Vancouver BC. Distributed in Surrey, Vancouver, Langley, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford,
 

tonystarks

New Member
they fail to understand that this is being an urban farmer. i would love to run a high-quality hemp bar. pay a sin tax and all to be legit :rasta:
 
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