Newfoundland was a major centre for pirates during the 16th and 17th centuries. Pirates first targeted fishing vessels operating off the Grand Banks. Pirate ships also came to Newfoundland to rest, repair, pick up supplies, and conscript seamen and soon its main draw for pirates was as a staging area for excursions into the more profitable waters of the Caribbean and South America.

● During the 18th and early 19th centuries, Nova Scotia produced some of the most succes
sful war-time privateers in the world. Privateers were essentially pirates who were issued licences by the King or Queen, which empowered them to rob merchant ships belonging to enemy countries during war time. During the war of 1812, it was the privateers who were the principal line of defence that prevented Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia from becoming American territories and eventually American states. Out-capturing their American counterparts by a four to one ratio, Canadian privateers won the war at sea.

● By the early part of the Twentieth Century, British Columbia was one of the world’s largest producers of smokeable opium. Between 1870 and 1908, Chinese merchants opened a number of factories in Victoria and B.C.’s Lower Mainland to convert raw gum opium into the smokeable form. By the 1880s, British Columbia was now the main North American importer, producer, and exporter of opium.
● Following its enactment of national prohibition laws in 1920, America would be supplied with illegal booze from a diverse number of countries. Canada was by far the greatest source, however, outstripping all other countries combined. Estimates of Canada’s share of America’s contraband liquor market ranged from 60 to 90 percent. Bootlegging became a nation-wide industry in Canada, employing tens of thousands of people. Canadian distilleries and breweries regularly dealt with some of the most infamous gangsters in America and were behind the largest smuggling operations ever carried out across the 49th parallel. The single largest source of federal government revenue in Canada during American prohibition was from taxes and duties charged to Canadian-produced booze.
● While there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that President John F. Kennedy’s father was involved in bootlegging during Prohibition, this book is the first to provide empirical evidence (including photos) of his involvement in shipping contraband liquor from Canada to the U.S.


● During the 1950s and 1960s Canada was a major conduit for heroin smuggling from Europe to North America. Quebec’s cultural, commercial, and linguistic ties to France, the subservience of the Mafia in the province to the American Cosa Nostra, as well as Montreal’s inviting seaports and close proximity to New York, made the city a major entry point for heroin being shipped into North America.
● In the early 1990s, Pablo Escobar, head of the infamous Medellin cocaine cartel, sent hired mercenaries to bust out cocaine smugglers imprisoned in a New Brunswick jail. The hired gun men were also captured by police in New Brunswick. Among the cache seized by police were a Uzi sub-machinegun, a Soviet 762x369 assault rifle, an Israeli 565 assault rifle, six 9-mm semi-automatic pistols, tear gas, a deactivated Japanese hand grenade, more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition, burglary equipment, a generator, an high-powered cutting disc, camping gear, survival equipment, and several maps of the province.

● Canada has long served as a branch plant for transnational criminal organizations and a transit point for the international movement of illegal goods. In addition, there is evidence that Canada has become a centre of operations for some transnational crime groups.
● Canada supplies an embarrassingly rich assortment of illegal and contraband goods, a tradition that began when British Columbia became a major producer of smokeable opium in the early part of the century, continued through Prohibition when the country was America’s main source of illegal liquor, and then re-emerged in the 1970s, when the country surfaced as a major producer of synthetic drugs. By the end of the 1990s, Canada had established itself as the continent’s preeminent supplier of high-grade marijuana, methamphetamines, and ecstasy. It has also become an international centre for telemarketing fraud and the counterfeiting of currency, bank cards, and digital entertainment products.

● Canada has become an international stronghold for the Hell’s Angels; there are more HA members per capita in Canada than any other country in the world. Moreover, although Canada has about one-tenth the population of the U.S., it has 450 full patch members in this country, compared to about 700 south of the border. With some 2,000 members and prospects in 22 countries, this means that almost one in four Hell’s Angels worldwide resides in Canada.


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