2018-19 National Criminal Intelligence Estimate (NCIE) on the Canadian Criminal Marketplace ‐ Illicit Drugs
This strategic assessment, produced by CISC in collaboration with its network of ten Provincial Bureaus, combines federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement reporting; public health data; open source reporting; and intelligence from other domestic and international government agencies to explore existing and emerging threats to Canada.
This national perspective helps ensure that law enforcement, government and the public have a consistent view of serious and organized crime, and contributes to building and maintaining the partnerships that are instrumental in our ability to combat this threat.
For a copy of the full report, please contact the CISC at CISC_Tasking@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
- Methamphetamine, fentanyl and its analogues, and cocaine are assessed as having the highest level of threat due to their geographical reach, high level of harm, and the increased involvement of domestic organized crime groups (OCGs).
- The illicit drug trade provides organized crime with one of its most financially lucrative criminal markets.
- Methamphetamine has had substantial increases in trafficking and use and has seen a 28% increase in OCG involvement over three years.
- The Canadian methamphetamine market is and will continue to be mostly supplied by domestic labs, with OCGs getting inexpensive, readily available chemicals from hardware, grocery, pharmacy and supplement stores.
- OCG involvement in fentanyl has increased by 1,500% since 2015, and entrenched OCGs, such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, are becoming more involved.
- Intelligence assesses that there will be over 4,000 opioid‐related deaths in Canada in 2019. This estimate is based on previous statistical trends, the increased organized crime involvement and the expansive nature of their distribution networks.
- The cocaine market has more OCGs involved (75%) than any other market. This trend is expected to continue as a result of increasing domestic and international demand, ensuring continued profits for OCGs.
- A total of 140 (or 23%) OCGs involved in the illicit drug market are importing illicit drugs. The vast majority of these are importing cocaine.
- The number of assessed OCGs involved in the heroin market has risen 44% in one year, but most groups are also involved in fentanyl.
- Approximately 44% of assessed OCGs were involved in the cannabis market leading up to the implementation of the Cannabis Act.
- Almost all of these groups are also involved in at least one other illicit drug market and are unlikely to be disrupted by legalization, given their alternate streams of revenue.
- In the short term (1‐2 years), as the legal supply continues to be insufficient to meet demand, OCGs are well‐placed to fill the gap.
- Illicit drug trafficking is helped by dark web marketplaces and cryptocurrencies, which are providing anonymity to vendors and purchasers and posing new challenges for law enforcement.
- Despite domestic and international law enforcement efforts to take down illicit trading platforms, they are constantly reappearing.
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