Gang leaders, associates charged in major organized crime bust
Leaders of two of the Lower Mainland's most notorious gangs along with dozens of their associates have been charged after what authorities are calling "one of the most successful gang crime investigations in B.C. history."
Since March 2017, officers with the Task Force Tourniquet seized 93 firearms, an improvised pressure cooker bomb and 9.5 kilograms of fentanyl as part of an investigation dubbed Project Territory, the Vancouver Police Department said in a statement Friday.
Police also seized 40 kilograms of other illicit drugs, $833,000 in cash and well over $1 million worth of jewelry and collector cars.
“We have taken weapons off of the street and disrupted violent activities being committed by several different crime groups,” VPD Staff Sgt. Lisa Byrne said in the statement. “In this case, we have charged individuals involved in criminal organization, which includes family members who participated in the criminal dealings.”
Project Territory targeted the Kang/Latimer group, which police say "shares common interests with the Red Scorpions Gang."
Fourteen suspects are facing a combined 92 charges, including drug trafficking, firearms possession, possession of the proceeds of crime and participation in a criminal organization.
Gary Kang, 22, and 27-year-old Kyle Latimer—both known gangsters—are among those who ended up in handcuffs as a result of the investigation.
The list of arrests al o include Kang's parents and Latimer's father. Project Territory's team commander said criminal families are a troubling trend in the region.
"We have noticed that parental involvement at times can be anywhere ranging from being complicit into their activities, willfully blind of their children's activities or completely unaware to their children's activities," Byrne s aid.
Of those arrested, 13 remain in custody. Only Kang's mother has been released.
"If they are convicted, they'd be looking at significant, probably double-digit years of jail time for these types of offences," said VPD Supt. Mike Porteous.
Task Force Tourniquet is led by the VPD and includes officers from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC), the RCMP, the Integrated Homicide Investigation team and other local police forces.
“The seizure of deadly firearms and drugs in this investigation will undoubtedly save lives,” says CSFEU-BC Supt. Brian Gateley said in a statement.
“This joint investigation and the tenacity of all the officers and support staff involved to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately take down this criminal organization, is an excellent example of how determined we are in British Columbia to stemming the tide of gangs and gang violence.”
The multi-agency task force has resulted in a total of 201 charges against 34 people since its inception, and police say additional charges are pending.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson