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What was going on in 1995?

I mentioned in my last update that we need to remove our blinders in the case of the Lost Boys of Pickering.

I am inspired by the words of the late Leonard Cohen in his song “Anthem”.

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

As we move forward on this case, there are a number of cracks beginning to show. That’s how the light will get in.

Take, for example, the state of the drug scene in the Durham area, and for that matter all of Ontario in the mid-’90s. We know that the drug scene existed in Durham and that it was growing. In addition to local use, there was a flourishing trade between Canada and the US by boat across Lake Ontario. In the mid 90’s it was not difficult to move back and forth across the lake, undetected and unreported.

We know that the drug trade entered the school system in Durham in the 1990s. It even involved the school staff. There was one teacher who stands out. In addition to being a teacher, he was also a guidance counselor. He was hired in 1980 by the Durham Board of Education, now called Durham District School Board, and trouble began almost immediately. We found a proceeding on the Ontario Teachers College website when he lost his license to teach in 1999. His record included: a break, enter, and theft charge in 1980; two theft charges in 1985; possession of property obtained by crime in 1987; possession of narcotics in 1995; and, in 1998, breach of recognizance. It seems that the final straw was his 1999 conviction for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He was arrested while seated on his bed under which was a stash of drugs and money, which he claimed was not his. Did we mention that he was known in the local drug circles as “Teacher”?

We know that there were wars going on between rival “biker” gangs for control of the drug trade in the region. Hells Angels and the Rock Machine were bitter rivals.

We know that all six of the Lost Boys were involved with the local drug scene, at least as users. We also know that some of the boys had a history with the law; one, in particular, a night or two before the disappearance.

We know that Durham Region Police Service (DRPS) has a history of problems with its officers, especially in the 1990s. One female officer was accessing local and national police computers and passing intelligence to biker gangs. Her dismissal from the Service was controversial as some of the Service-brass wanted her to be retained. The decision to fire her was based on appearances, rather than wrongdoings. We know that two male officers made it a habit of detaining teenagers, taking them to remote places, especially the Rouge Beach area, and roughing them up. Both officers were eventually charged with assault and drummed from the service.

We know that in the middle of my investigation into the Lost Boys case Durham and Niagara Police became quite defensive with compliance to many of my ATIP requests. Why?

In 2018 a number of complaints were put forward by rank-and-file DRPS officers charging severe corruption and criminality against senior members of the force. The force was in complete disarray when the province stepped in to appoint an administrator: something that had never happened in Ontario’s history.

The situation in Niagara at that time was no less chaotic. In 2018 there was a cop-on-cop shooting, charges of assault, false arrests, and steroid abuse against several officers. Another officer was charged with smuggling goods into Canada from the US: wheels of mozzarella cheese and chicken wings! During that period I was investigating the red pants case which denigrated into a fiasco.

So, what does this all add up to? In the next post, we shall explore an alternate theory for the Lost Boys of Pickering.

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