It’s disturbing to note that there are individuals out there making a living by installing hidden compartments into truck cabs for the purposes of transporting contraband.
Everything from dope to guns to dirty money is being hauled across the border we share with the US as well as east and west right across this country.
Const. Paul Webb of the Niagara Regional Police, made the point during a presentation on trucks and terrorism which he gave at the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada’s annual conference in June.
“No matter how contraband gets into this country, at one time or another it ends up on a motor vehicle,” he said. Commercial trucks are increasingly being used to transport drugs and other contraband, and most cops, admitted Webb, are out of their element when it comes to questioning truck drivers or conducting truck inspections.
That’s why it’s imperative the trucking industry works alongside law enforcement to ensure it is proactively reducing the risk of playing an unwitting role in the drug trade or other criminal activity.
There have been many positive developments on this front. A growing number of fleets are partnering with the RCMP and its Operation Pipeline/Convoy initiative. Some are prominently displaying Crimestopper logos and phone numbers on their trailers and others are training their drivers to keep an eye out for, and report, suspicious activity. Anecdotally, there seems to be an increase in the number of major busts that have involved tractortrailers in recent months. This could signal an increase in the level of illegal activity utilizing commercial motor vehicles, or it could mean the police are doing a better job of detecting it.
Regardless, the trucking industry has a responsibility to ensure its equipment and people are not being used to commit illegal activities.
By partnering with law enforcement to report criminals who operate under the guise of law-abiding trucking companies, the industry stands to gain significantly. For one, many of the ‘bad guys’ undercut the rates of legitimate carriers so they have a load in which to conceal their contraband.
“We want to get the illegitimate drivers off the road who are taking money out of your pockets,”Webb told the PMTC audience. “We need your help, we can’t do it on our own.”
Getting these posers off the road will not only prevent them from undercutting rates, but will also lessen the rate of equipment thefts. These guys love to steal trailers to transport their dope, pointed out Webb, noting the high cost of steel has now made stealing tanker trailers a lucrative opportunity for thieves.
Webb made another startling revelation during his presentation. He said more commercial drivers are using crystal meth, a highly-addictive and devastating drug that can cause its users to do unthinkable things.
“Two to three times a month, I’m taking meth off truck drivers,”Webb revealed.
Webb’s thought-provoking presentation was a real eye-opener, and a reminder that our industry is not immune to crime.
Working together with police, truckers and trucking companies can help ensure criminals spend more time behind bars than behind steering wheels.