BY RATTAN MALL
YOU can be sure that some gang members are very keenly interested in what’s going on at the Red Scorpion gang leader Jonathan Bacon’s murder trial in Kelowna because they are nervous if their name or some information concerning them may crop up – and of course, the consequences that may follow!
That was the rather interesting – or even somewhat amusing – fact that gang expert Staff-Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – BC (CFSEU-BC) pointed out to me on Thursday.
As facts tumble out at the high-profile murder case – details of which Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan has been reporting from Kelowna – there’s bound to be tension because as was reported last week, former associates of the three who have been charged with the first-degree murder of Bacon in August 2011 — Jujhar Khun-Khun, Michael Jones and Jason McBride – will be testifying against them at the trial at B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna. (For more details read last week’s VOICE story “Why joining gangs makes no sense – unless you have a death wish!”
Houghton noted: “As we remind people, your choices may come back to haunt you 10, 15, 20 years down the road and so when we eventually catch the people who we allege are behind these acts of violence – and people should make no mistake that we will catch them eventually – all of the things that happened … will all come back (to haunt you).”
He stressed: “People need to understand that.”
Houghton added: “So maybe for them, they are a little bit on the edges of their seats to see what’s said in court. But in terms of the effect on the gang dynamics, it’s somewhat negligible.”
The trial has been on everyone’s radar for a long time, Houghton noted.
The same gang equation continues.
Last January, Houghton had told me that equation was the United Nations and remnants of the Dhak associates and the Duhres associates, on one side, and the so-called Wolf Pack that consists of certain Hells Angels like Larry Amero and their allies and associates, the Independent Soldiers and the people that they brought to the equation and the Red Scorpions, on the other side.
Nothing has changed as such in the gang world. They are still fighting in communities over the drug trade with expansions and alliances, not just in this province but all across Canada, and shoring up their businesses, Houghton said.
When I asked Houghton about the members of the Dhak and Duhre gangs, he said they were like seeds in the wind. They have scattered and, like cockroaches, they scurry around to find dark corners to hide in them.
And what they do, if they decide to stay in that lifestyle, is to find other groups and associations they may have been on friendly terms with to continue their businesses and they get essentially absorbed into those groups.
THE CFSEU-BC continues to support their partners around the province. “We are very focussed not just on the enforcement side – and the investigations and the gathering of evidence and arresting people and those sort of things – but on the disruption and the suppression, stopping violence before it happens,” Houghton told me.
“So when we get word or intelligence or information that there’s a threat or something may flare up, it’s really marshalling the troops and going out and finding these people and putting them on notice.”
I pointed out to Houghton that there seemed to be some peace in Surrey where street-level gangs had been duking it out for drug turf (though the shooting could start even as you read this piece!). He said that as a result of a coordinated and collaborated effort lead by Surrey RCMP, the level of violence dropped. He said it’s been a combination of some kids just growing out of it, other kids leaving – whether it’s going back to India in some cases, their family sending them back there – or kids moving to a different community here. “Or the right people are in jail!”
He added: “All those things coming together helped put a lid on things.”
However, realistically, Houghton pointed out that the drug dealing doesn’t completely stop. It’s still going on. That’s the sort of street-level manifestation of the gang – and then it’s the persistent and sustained pressure that the CFSEU and its partners put on these people and groups so that things don’t flare up. “Once in a while they do and then we respond accordingly,” he added.
I also pointed out to Houghton the efforts made by Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich to reach out to Punjabi-speaking families to inform them about how gangs were recruiting their kids (Rich was interviewed by The VOICE about this in the first week of May).
Houghton said that the CFSEU continues to support the Abbotsford Police on a number of different fronts and everybody recognizes that Rich and Abbotsford Police are very proactive and they don’t shy away from this issue.
“They, more than anyone, have held community forums and reached out to the public and engaged the public and we’ve been supporting them,” he added. CFSEU’s Jag Khosa has participated in their Punjabi forums.
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