Durham police arrests reveal new party narcotic

Durham police say recent drug-related arrests have revealed a new stimulant narcotic is circulating.

On Feb 10, officers led by the Durham Region Police Service (DRPS) Intelligence Branch, conducted multiple search warrants throughout the GTA and Peterborough. Police arrested 19 people and laid more than 115 charges. They also seized 14 vehicles, six kilograms of cocaine, $400,000 in cash and quantities of a new drug called mephedrone.

Dave Wilson is the officer in charge of the Intelligence Branch.

“This was the first time in the Durham Region that we’ve seized this drug,” Wilson said.

According to the addictions website, Teen Challenge Canada, mephedrone is a street drug that is referred to as “drone,” “meow” and “MCAT” among other names. Mephedrone is a party or designer drug that is chemically similar to cocaine or ecstasy.

Wilson said that there have only been 18 cases in Canada in which mephedrone has been seized during a drug bust.

Teen Challenge Canada lists that the drug gives the user an exhilarated rush. Side effects of the drug are nose bleeds, paranoia, increased heart rate and nausea.

In May 2010, a Bowmanville couple was charged with the possession of cocaine and intent to traffic the narcotics, which led to links in other communities.

“Following up upon that investigation, members of the drug unit determined that these two people were involved in a mid-level drug network,” Wilson said.

These arrests led to a police operation called Project Shrike. Project Shrike extended from Brampton to Toronto to York Region and Peterborough.

Project Shrike seized four kilos of mephedrone during the investigation.

“We do believe that this was a very successful drug investigation,” Wilson said. “We did make an impact into the cocaine availability in our area.”