Parliament must change federal law to permit police, postal inspectors or First Nations constables to open letters in transit, says one of the nation’s largest Indigenous groups. Letter mail is a leading source of narcotics, says the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

“The Assembly is aware opioids and other forms of contraband can be transported through the postal service due to a legislative gap that prevents police from lawfully obtaining judicial authorization to search and seize packages sent through Canada Post,” the Assembly wrote in a submission to the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee.

“Organized criminal groups can exploit this gap with high profitability and relatively low risk and effort especially in northern communities where postal shipments have become the most common method of distribution for illegal substances,” said the Assembly.

The group represents First Nations who comprise more than a tenth of Manitoba’s population, some 151,000 people, it said. Drugs by mail have had “devastating effects” in remote hamlets, wrote the Assembly.

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