In Yukon, Canada, the US border creates an environment conducive to organized crime

Few people live in the frigid and wild province of Yukon, a nearly 200,000-mile stretch of land wedged between Alaska and the Arctic Circle, but organized crime is thriving in the region, according to a recent report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Organized crime is thriving in the Yukon, a strip of land nearly 200,000 miles wedged between Alaska and the Arctic Circle. (Photo: GRID-Arendal, Flickr, Licence)“While police and many Yukoners have anecdotally noted for some time the impact of the drug trade on the quality of life of Yukon communities, this report clearly identifies the extent and impact in measurable terms,” ​​read a statement from the RCMP. .

Only 40,000 people live in this province roughly the size of Spain, but opiate addiction is a growing concern. Almost a quarter of all Yukoners belong to the First Nations peoples of Canada.

According to the RCMP, the overdose death rate in the province is more than double that of the rest of Canada.

“Organized crime activity in the area of ​​illicit drugs creates significant costs to the community without regard to human health or life. This cost will continue to increase as illicit drug activity increases,” the RCMP said. “It is estimated that illicit drugs cost the Yukon CAD 113 million (USD 88 million) in 2021. This estimate is expected to increase and could total CAD 127 million (USD 98.7 million) by the end of 2023. would represent CAD 90 million. ($70 million) in 2023.”

According to the report, there are at least five organized criminal networks operating in the province.

“In 2021, organized crime is estimated to have generated $12.5 million (US$9.72 million) from the trafficking of crack cocaine, powder cocaine and opioids,” the RCMP found. A fraction of this amount was used for other criminal activities, such as violence, arms trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.

“Proceeds of crime from the expanding synthetic opioid market are helping organized crime maintain control in the Yukon, creating more addicted users in more communities,” the statement said.

Yukon’s unique geographic location only makes things harder to contain. While much organized crime is concentrated around the southern border with British Columbia, home to Vancouver, Canada’s most densely populated city, the long border with the US state of Alaska only makes complicate things.

“The Yukon occupies a unique place in the Canadian geographic landscape, being both a vast and remote space, but also sharing an international border with the United States. said the RCMP. “Sharing a border with Alaska increases the potential for international drug trafficking, while remoteness impacts the size and scope of criminal markets and even the availability or use rates of certain substances. “

“These factors further contribute to a potentially volatile illicit drug market with significant changes in drug toxicity and chemical composition,” they added.

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