Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia
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|Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia|
|Formed||March 11, 1999|
|Superseding agency||Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit - British Columbia|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||Province of British Columbia, Canada|
|Constituting instrument||BC Police Act|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia (OCABC) was established as a Designated Policing and Law Enforcement Unit under the Police Act (B.C.) on March 11, 1999. Similar to the structure and authority of municipal police departments in British Columbia, OCABC is an independent policing agency. The specific mandate of OCABC is to facilitate the disruption and suppression of organized crime which impacts all British Columbians.
The Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) was created in direct response to the recommendations of the report of the Organized Crime Independent Review Committee, chaired by Stephen Owen (“The Owen Report,” September 15, 1998). The Agency was incorporated as a Society in March 1999 under the BC Police Act to replace its forerunner, the Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit (CLEU). The Owen Report found CLEU to be “… not sufficiently equipped, mandated or able to cope with the growing sophistication and diversity of organized crime”. OCABC became fully operational in February 2000, similar in structure and authority to other municipal police departments in British Columbia. As a designated Police Agency in the province of British Columbia, the Organized Crime Agency of BC has its own contingent of sworn law enforcement officers and civilian personnel, and is responsible for:
“Providing designated Policing and designated Law Enforcement to reduce and eliminate organized crime and other significant criminal activity in British Columbia”. OCABC derives its powers from Section 4.1 (2) (c) and 18.1 (d) of the Police Act.
During Hon. Rich Coleman’s term as Solicitor General, the province increased its move toward more integration in policing as both a cost-saving measure by reducing duplication of efforts, and in order to solidify the Agency’s impact as an aggressive organized crime fighting unit. In 2004, this restructuring aligned OCABC with its law enforcement partners into the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – British Columbia (“CFSEU-BC”). It is under this agency name that organized crime projects are investigated and prosecuted. CFSEU-BC integrated 14 law enforcement agencies, including OCABC and the RCMP, under one single command structure with oversight provided by a Chief Superintendent. The intent was to integrate the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia, municipal police and the RCMP into one combined unit to coordinate the province’s response to the growing threat of organized crime and gang violence.
In 2002-2003, the agency participated in Project Blizzard with Alberta and U.S. authorities in investigating drug trafficking. This project had 689,000 pseudoephedrine tablets, 64.7 kilograms of cocaine, 3,353 pounds of marijuana, and $4 million seized. The 5-month Project Longhaul in 2003 investigated distribution and transportation of marijuana, ecstasy, and ephedrine from British Columbia to Ontario and the U.S. and resulted in 3,872 pounds of marijuana, 20,000 tablets of ecstasy, and 218.2 kilograms of ephedrine being seized. Project Longhaul II specifically focused on BC Bud and had 1,595 pounds of marijuana, and 461 marijuana plant clones seized.
- OCA 2003/2004, 8-9.
- "Annual Report" (pdf). 2002/2003. Province of British Columbia. 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
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- "Annual Report" (pdf). 2003/2004. Province of British Columbia. 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
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- Stephen Schneider; et al. (March 31, 2000). "Alternative Approaches to Combating Transnational Crime" (pdf). Final Report. Ministry of the Solicitor General of Canada. Retrieved 2007-08-11.