Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
Smugglers have shown they will will go to great lengths to get what they want. A recently unearthed news story from the late-1970s about an RCMP bust involving Jamaican weed shipped to Canada after being pressed into pizza-shaped discs and stuffed into real album covers proves just that.
Posted last Friday by boingboing.net, much of the story, delivered reassuringly by then CBC senior anchor Knowlton Nash, shows its age. Just consider the first line of the short item as delivered by Nash, who served as what was then called senior anchor for The National from 1978 to 1988, before sharing those duties with Peter Mansbridge until 1992.
“The customs men [officers] at Mirabel’s Montreal airport [all commercial traffic has since moved to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport] were a little curious about a crate of long-playing albums [physical vinyl discs, not streaming services] imported from Jamaica.”
The story explains that the album covers for rock, classical and country music were genuine, but all together, they hid 350 pounds (almost 160 kilograms) of high-quality Jamaican cannabis formed into 1,200-plus discs.
RCMP officers managed to trace the contraband to a Montreal record store and ripped open the boxes to make the skunky discovery. “Police estimate the pot records would be worth a lot more than the real thing with a street value of $225,000 (translating to $661,365 today),” Nash noted.
At the time, two Canadians and two Jamaicans had been arrested, and warrants were out for the arrest of two more people from Jamaica.