Walpole Island First Nation to add security checks on bridge to curb flow of illicit drugs
'It's a positive step forward,' says Walpole Island First Nation chief
Walpole Island First will soon be enforcing a security checkpoint at the entrance of the bridge leading to the island to curb the flow of illicit drugs, according to Chief Charles Sampson.
Starting Friday at noon trained security guards will be in place on the bridge to check identification and the purpose of each person's visit.
"Hopefully we can put a big dent on the drug trade on our reserve here," Sampson said.
Last month, Walpole Island First Nation was placed under a state of emergency in response to a growing number of overdoses and deaths. It was the second emergency declared since March 2020, which was put in place due to COVID-19.
Sampson says there are approximately 15 to 20 properties on the reserve that may contain drugs.
Some Walpole Island First Nation individuals have been trained as security guards and will be enforcing the checks. Sampson said a request for OPP officers and other First Nations policing services have been sent out as well.
"We are terribly understaffed and undermanned and we don't have the financial resources to close these drug houses down," Sampson said.
While there is no end date for the security checks, monthly evaluations will be in place to monitor the effectiveness of the checks.
For individuals who fail to comply, charges and fines will be laid.