Boom leads to busts in Estevan
Estevan's oil-fuelled economic boom has also led to a growing number of drug busts, says city police Chief Del Block who is calling for more officers to combat the problem.
Undercover RCMP officers have assisted in a number of drug-related arrests recently, with seven people arrested last month in the southeast Saskatchewan city. Late last year police arrested 28 people involved in an alleged drug ring.
"It isn't a big city but there seems to be a huge demand," said Block. "We've had comments from undercover operators that they've worked in places like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver … they've never been in a drug-rich environment like here.
"They can't believe how easy it is to purchase drugs in this city."
Block said last year at this time police had taken 264 people into custody on a variety of charges but so far this year the tally is 436.
He said the force is so busy he's asked the police board for two or three more officers.
For bar owner Jeff Pierson, the proliferation of drugs has led to more potential confrontations with patrons.
"It was pretty easy to take care of. But now you're dealing with people who are on — you name it. They're not as easy to deal with.
"There's no reasoning with someone who's on ecstasy or cocaine or crack."
Estevan is about 200 kilometres southeast of Regina, near the U.S. border.