Blue Line

COVID-19 pandemic causing spike in illegal drug prices: Winnipeg police

May 8, 2020  By The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG — Police say there has been a massive increase in the price of illegal drugs on the streets of Winnipeg.

Insp. Max Waddell says methamphetamine has doubled in price.

Police are also seeing a spike in the cost of cocaine.

Waddell says it’s linked to supply issues, as COVID-19 restrictions are hindering production and movement of the drugs.


There is also more demand, with many people stuck in their homes and having more time.

Police made a massive drug bust last month involving millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine, meth and ecstasy.

“The sheer volume of methamphetamine and cocaine that you see before you, with the estimated value of $2.2 million, it really had a large potential to spread significant impact,” Waddell told a news conference Wednesday, pointing to a table covered in large clear bags filled with white drugs.

An investigation into an illegal drug distribution operation in Winnipeg began at the start of the year. A search warrant was issued April 16 to search two separate residences. Police found nine kilograms of methamphetamine, four kilograms of cocaine, 326 grams of ecstasy, as well as money and a bullet-proof vest.

Two people face charges.

Police estimate the substantial drug haul had the potential to go to 90,000 people in Winnipeg.

“We know how highly addictive methamphetamine is — that would put a massive health strain on all of our systems,” Waddell said.

He said most drugs are still coming from Mexican cartels, and the cartels are having trouble getting the chemicals needed to process the drugs, causing the spike in prices.

They are still finding ways to bring drugs across the United States-Canada border, despite its closure to non-essential traffic due to COVID-19, Waddell added.

With less people out on the streets, he said police have been able to perform multiple significant drug busts.

Addictions can be so powerful, however, that Waddell said they aren’t seeing a decrease in the volume of drugs getting to people.

“The pressures of the pandemic I think have also impacted the addictions cycle.”

– Kelly Geraldine Malone

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2020

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020

Print this page


Stories continue below