Many members of the public fear crimes committed by strangers despite statistics showing greater danger from friends, acquaintances, and relatives. Since this fear is rooted in the fear of the unknown, some people prefer to fall victim to white-collar crimes as opposed to street crimes. Since most white-collar crimes require gaining the victim’s trust, many are committed by people that know the victim. Moreover, the traditional view of white-collar criminals as people of high respectability and social class drastically influences our perception of crime and can lead to significant societal implications.

In Canada, this traditional view of white-collar criminals is reflected in criminal legislation. Not only are the actions of white-collar offenders less likely to be criminalized and prosecuted but also the punishments enacted are typically much less severe than for street crimes. In a regime without the possibility of life imprisonment and minimum sentencing, there is instead a program offering immunity and leniency.

In this paper, the author discusses the possible adoption of an immunity program in the context of cartel-level drug trafficking, since current methods of law enforcement aimed at penalizing organized drug trafficking lack deterrent value. Establishing an immunity program for cartel-level trafficking would have the immediate effect of excusing the criminality of a few low-level criminals, while having the underlying effect of enhancing deterrence and, potentially, dismantling extremely damaging criminal organizations.