Priority pot
Dope bust through post office

Dawn Ostrem
Northern News Services

Fort Good Hope (May 08/00) - It was a postal priority with a difference last week as RCMP in Fort Good Hope confiscated a package filled with 61 marijuana cigarettes being mailed to the Sahtu community.

Acting on a tip, police asked Canada Post Corporation security officials to take part in the May 2 seizure of the package that was mailed from Yellowknife to Fort Good Hope. The effort netted about $1,000 worth of pot that was sent priority post.

"I received a tip on Monday when an individual gave me a signed witness statement," said Const. Jean-Marc Nadeau. "The post office is prime for trafficking because it's hard for police to get in through the Post Office Act. It's very strict."

Nadeau said the only people allowed to search the contents of mail is Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Customs and Canada Post employees.

"Our official request was forwarded to Winnipeg and (Canada Post) did whatever they had to do," he said. "They gave us verbal authorization to conduct a postal inspection."

A 34-year-old Fort Good Hope woman is currently in custody and charges are pending. A 37-year-old Yellowknife resident is also a suspect in the case but no charges have yet been laid.

Nadeau said drug trafficking and bootlegging is becoming a real problem in the community. There is no liquor store in Fort Good Hope, and Nadeau said a 26-ounce bottle of rum can be sold on the street for about $150.

Days before the seizure, on April 28, RCMP members from the Fort Good Hope detachment met with chief and mayor of the community, Delphine Pierot, to implement a strategy to crack down on the problem.

"She expressed concerns with the drug trade and bootlegging trade in Fort Good Hope and lo and behold, Monday we got the tip," he said. "It falls into this department's area of attack over the next year."

Two main initiatives are being implemented by local police -- cultivating sources by gaining the trust of community members and educating youth through school visitations and youth programs.

"The word on the street is that there are an awful lot more drugs in the community than there was five years ago," Nadeau said.