BY RATTAN MALL
NOW that the Red Scorpions leader Jonathan Bacon’s murder trial is over, people are wondering what the gangs landscape is going to be. There seems to be some kind of vagueness and uncertainty about gang equations in the Lower Mainland with affiliations and alliances changing all the time.
And the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – BC is keeping a close watch over the situation. Back in November, CFSEU-BC Sgt. Brenda Winpenny had told me that there are between 1,200 and 1,400 identified individuals associated to gangs and organized crime in this province that have been identified through the Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority (PTEP) program that the CFSEU-BC houses and leads.
Last week, Winpenny told me: “We’re very much aware of the gang landscape through our analytical systems and obviously our everyday dealings with these individuals. We always have a finger on the pulse … We are very aware of who the major players are in the gang landscape and we very much are keeping an eye on them and what they are doing through partnership with all our policing agencies.”
There was a series of retaliatory violent events after Gurmit Dhak was murdered in 2010, Jonathan Bacon’s murder and the attempted murder of Hells Angels member Larry Amero and Independent Soldiers member James Riach was just one of them.
As has been reported in the past, the Lower Mainland gang war involved the Dhak-Duhre group and United Nations gang, on one side, and the ‘Wolf Pack’ of some Hells Angels with Independent Soldiers and Red Scorpions, on the other.
Winpenny noted: “The Wolf Pack is still in existence. There are many sub groups within the Wolf Pack, some in conflict with other sub groups.”
Winpenny elaborated: “What’s happening in B.C. is that there is more loose connections. It’s not so much that individuals are identifying with a certain gang … they are very much operating independently but do have connections, and sometimes they have connections in a number of gangs –affiliations and alliances are changing all the time which creates conflict.”
Regarding the influence of the surviving Bacon brothers, Winpenny said: “Jamie is still in jail. It’s not hard to think that he’s still conducting his business. While he is incarcerated he has got a lot of contacts and a lot of connections.”
Regarding the leftovers of the Dhak-Duhre group, Winpenny said: “A majority of them have been killed but there are still loose connections and ties that are still longstanding from that. But again, there’s loose connections and very loose alliances and allegiances and that’s the culture that we are seeing now. That’s what causes a lot of conflict because these guys are changing alliances, when they change alliances they also take that knowledge of the other gang with them and that’s what causes a lot of the conflict.”
Asked if the gangs landscape was going to stay in a state of flux, Winpenny said: “There is structure but there definitely is a lot of change – there’s a lot of change in the alliances, a lot of changing of connections and who they are associating with and it all depends on the drug trade – it all stems back to that and trying to gain that control.”
Winpenny stressed the importance of continuing with their initiatives on the education and prevention fronts. She added: “[CFSEU] Sgt. [Jagdeep] Khosa’s team with the gang intervention has been very successful and we are really, really working hard to educate the public and work with parents and educators and community groups and try and get that word out to support the kids in however they need it so they don’t go down that path.”
“Do you think the Hells Angels are still the number one group here?” I asked Winpenny.
She said: “The Hells Angels have been a prominent gang for a long time and it’s something CFSEU is looking very strongly at. We’ve really taken on a strong approach as far as what kind of connections that they have in B.C. and their activity.”
She noted that CFSEU uniformed gang members were supporting the Island RCMP jurisdictions in the recent Hells Angels event.
Winpenny pointed out: “They are one of the gangs that have been around for a very long time with connections all over the world.”
She added: “They do a very good job of trying to brand themselves as good guys and that’s something that the CFSEU wants to expose through educational material for public consumption. We want the public to be informed on their criminal activity and the violence associated with that activity.”