Newsbrief: Four Canadian Mounties Killed Raiding Marijuana Grow 3/4/05

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In a bloody incident certain to raise the decibel level as Canada grapples with marijuana law reform, four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were shot to death Thursday morning as they investigated a marijuana grow in remote northwestern Alberta. The shooter is also dead, apparently at his own hand, Reuters reported.

Unlike the United States, lethal violence against police is relatively rare in Canada. Stunned RCMP officials harkened back more than a hundred years in attempting to find parallels. "The loss of four officers is unprecedented in recent history in Canada," said the RCMP commanding officer in Alberta, Bill Sweeney. "I'm told you have to go back to about 1885 in the RCMP during the Northwest Rebellion to have a loss of this magnitude," he told reporters in the town of Mayerthorpe, 90 miles northwest of Alberta. "It's devastating."

The RCMP lost five officers in 1958 when their boat sank in Ontario and four officers in a 1963 plane crash in the Yukon, but it is not since the Metis and Indians rebelled in western Canada 120 years ago that so many Mounties were shot and killed.

According to Reuters and Canada Press, the officers were part of a team that had staked out a large metal hut where a grow op was suspected. They entered the building Thursday morning and didn't come out. When the officers didn't respond to radio calls, the RCMP called in SWAT teams and armed forces personnel carriers, but when police stormed the building in mid-afternoon, they found the officers and the shooter dead.

Grow ops in Alberta have been under pressure from police crackdowns in recent months, and now police are raising the alarm. "The issue of grow-ops is not a ma-and-pa industry as we've been seeing for a number of years. These are major serious threats to our society and they are major serious threats to the men and women on the front line who have to deal with them," RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli said in Ottawa.

The killings come as the minority Liberal government in Ottawa is pursuing a decriminalization bill and Liberal party members in conference are considering a resolution calling for the legalization of cannabis and the cannabis trade. Such moves are opposed by Canadian police organizations, as well as US officials.

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Issue #377 -- 3/4/05

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The Ignorance and the Damage Done | International Harm Reduction Battle Heating Up | National Drug Control Strategy Taking Lumps from All Sides | Under New South Dakota Anti-Meth Law, Drug Use Equals Child Abuse | DRCNet Needs You to Write the Senate | DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature Rep. John Conyers and Kemba Smith, March 9 in Washington, DC | Coasters to Stop the Drug War | Events and Conferences Coming Up for Drug Reformers -- Come Out and Be a Part of It | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: Four Canadian Mounties Killed Raiding Marijuana Grow | Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Business Week Columnist | Newsbrief: Washington State Drug Reform Coalition Launches Campaign | Newsbrief: Texas Racial Profiling Study Finds No Progress, Calls for Ban on Consent Searches | Newsbrief: Arkansas Bill That Would Have Cut Methamphetamine Sentences Defeated | Newsbrief: Utah Treatment Not Jail Bill Dying For Lack of Funding | Newsbrief: Colombia Guerrillas Demand Return of Commander Extradited to US | Newsbrief: British Opposition Promises Tough New Drug War if Elected | Newsbrief: As British Parties Embrace Student Drug Testing, Research Report Flashes Caution Light | Newsbrief: "The Marijuana-Logues" Tour Cancelled After Parole Officer Forces Tommy Chong to Quit | A Drug War Carol Now Available in Spanish and French | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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