Friday, March 07, 2008

The Wages of Sin

"Blog reader #10 of 10" calls attention to an exhaustive investigative report on the rise of the drug trade among Old Colony Mennonites in Ontario. Some highlights (or lowpoints):

They are dressed in their finest for the Holy Day — the day when several hundred Old Colony Mennonites gather for a solemn two-hour sermon, delivered in Low German. Inside the church, pine pews on the right are filled with men wearing western-style shirts and cowboy boots and holding well-worn bibles. On the other side of the pulpit, young women sway, hushing babies. Their black bonnets and leated dresses, fashioned from patterns handed down for generations, reflect little of the profound change sweeping their community.
...
By the late 1990s, Old Colony Mennonites living in Ontario, Manitoba and throughout northern Mexico had cornered the market on the sale and distribution of marijuana in Canada, and were responsible for a staggering 20 per cent of all pot smuggled into the country. ... Today, by Loop’s count, 5,000 Mennonites have been conscripted into the drug trade in southwestern Ontario alone and their ranks swell steadily every year.
...
Old Colony Mennonites have mastered the complex machinery of drug trafficking, acting not only as mules, but also as lookouts to detect police surveillance; running “decoy” shipments during rush hour to hoodwink or preoccupy border agents ... Mennonites even use rudimentary code words, such as “cows,” “fleas,” “steel” and “shingles” to negotiate the quantity, quality and price of drugs with prospective dealers.
...
And as the old system disintegrates, more Mennonites living in Canada and Mexico are likely to join the ranks of the poor and illiterate. “The lower the level of education,” Funk warns, “the lower the morality and the more crime and corruption.”


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