Major drug bust in Surrey of home-based lab with gang ties
On Thursday, Surrey RCMP announced that they have made a “substantial” drug seizure from a home-based lab in the South Surrey area. Police now believe that the lab is linked to the Brothers Keepers group, a criminal organization involved in the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict in B.C.
The news release reads as follows:
On August 6, 2019, Surrey RCMP Drug Section executed a search warrant on a residence in the 16300-block of 14A Avenue as a result of an ongoing investigation supported by the Surrey RCMP Frontline. The search warrant was executed with the assistance of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team and the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team, which supports RCMP detachments in investigating clandestine drug labs.
According to the RCMP, police have seized a significant quantity of drugs, manufacturing devices, and firearms.
According to the police, 63,000 doses of fake OxyContin ‘80’ pills, 94,000 doses of fake Percocet pills, 5,000 doses of suspected cocaine, 22,500 doses of fake heroin, and 200 doses of suspected methamphetamine have been seized.
Furthermore, in relation to drug manufacturing, 89 kg of an unknown cutting agent and 60 kg of a pill-binding agent, and 3 pill presses, capable of producing 3,600-16,000 tablets per hour, have also been seized.
Finally, police have managed to seize 7 firearms, including 6 SKS assault rifles and 1 carbine rifle.
“Police units involved in the operation, including RCMP’s Surrey Gang Enforcement Team and the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team, said Thursday the drug bust not only cripples the gang’s drug network, but also eliminates a public safety risk,” reports Global News.
“The public safety risks associated with these type of large-scale illicit drug operations cannot be understated,” says Sgt. Derek Westwick of the CLEAR Team. “Clandestine labs pose a significant risk of contamination due to the volume of toxic and hazardous chemicals being handled by untrained individuals.”
RCMP say that some of the drugs were packaged in bulk, likely to make large scale shipments to other distributors, while others were intended for distribution on the street level. RCMP also say that preliminary tests found the presence of fentanyl.
In addition to the massive drug bust, two people have been arrested after a search warrant was executed. They have since been released pending further investigation.
RCMP say that the investigation is ongoing, but they strongly suspect there are connections between the home-based lab and the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict, specifically the Brothers Keepers crime group.
“Based upon the sophistication and capacity of this operation to produce massive quantities of street level drugs, we believe there is a large criminal network associated to this lab, says Insp. Mike Hall, Surrey RCMP Proactive Enforcement Officer. “This seizure will cause a significant disruption to this group’s ability to distribute mass amounts of potentially fatal street drugs in the Lower Mainland.”
According to the Vancouver Sun, “The Brothers Keepers gang was started on the Lower Mainland almost four years ago by Gavinder Grewal, who took the name from a line uttered by Wesley Snipes’s character in the 1991 movie New Jack City. Grewal got his new gang name tattooed across his upper chest in stylized script, as did other original members of the gang.”
They go on to detail the deaths of many of the gang’s founding members, but reveal that, nonetheless, the gang has been rapidly spreading across B.C., and that affiliated gangs have begun operating on Vancouver Island.
Anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Sgt. Brenda Winpenny says the Brothers Keepers are still based in the Lower Mainland, but that they are definitely operating in some capacity on Vancouver Island.
“And they definitely are bringing their own drugs over there,” she added.
In addition, the Vancouver Sun reports that the Brothers Keepers are currently waging a vicious war with the break-away Kang group, as well as the United Nations gang, in what is being called the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict. They go on to report that RCMP and Vancouver Police have made several arrests connected to the Brothers Keepers crime group in August 2019 alone.
“On Aug. 1, Jagraj Singh Atwal, Meninder Singh Dhaliwal and Samroop Gill were charged with aggravated assault for an alleged attack in Vancouver in February,” reports the Vancouver Sun. “The victim, Gagandeep Singh Sandhu, has his own history with police. Their next court appearance is Aug. 21.
“Atwal was also recently charged in Surrey,” they added, “along with Jaskeert Singh Kalkat and Jaskaran Kandola with six counts including assault, using pepper spray as a weapon and using a motor vehicle as a weapon related to an incident on June 10 of this year.”
The Brothers Keepers also have ties to the Hardside Hells Angels.
RCMP are now hoping that this latest drug bust may put a dent into their operation, and direct anyone with further information about this operation or other criminal to contact the Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
After causing many delays, protestors have left the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, located north of Victoria, B.C. They were blocking the terminal and denying people access on Monday.
The protestors claim to be working alongside Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in attempting to cancel a liquified natural gas pipeline being implemented by Coastal GasLink. The pipeline is being built in north central B.C.
NEWS 1130 reported that the group was protesting on Highway 17 and were even in the water in kayaks too.
An online statement released by the protestors says, “In response to the recent call from the Wet’suwet’en for solidarity actions that ‘shut down rail lines, ports, and industrial infrastructure’ this action has targeted BC Ferries because of the corporation’s deepening integration with the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry,”
“BC Ferries has proposed ‘upgrades’ to two of its ferries that will make them reliant on the very product that Coastal GasLink (CGL) threatens to bring through Wet’suwet’en territory.”
Dozens of protestors took part in the event and used their banners to cover signs at the terminal.
Since being proposed, the pipeline has even caused violent encounters between protestors and police.
After coming to agreements with 20 First Nation councils, Coastal GasLink is attempting to build the pipeline from northeastern B.C. all the way to Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline will reportedly stretch 670 kilometers.
According to the hereditary clan chiefs, the project can not continue without their permission.
On Monday, Deborah Marshall from BC Ferries noted, “We fully respect the rights of individuals to protest decisions that they don’t agree with, but our concern is allowing our customers to have safe and unimpeded access to our terminal.”
“At our Swartz Bay terminal right now, the lanes are blocked. The lanes leading into the terminal, so no customers are able to access the terminal at this point, so it’s affecting all of our routes sailing in and out of Swartz Bay right now.”
Criminals are using the latest technology to innovate their unlawful ways. A bag of crystal meth was discovered inside the prison walls of Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Jan. 9 around 11 am.
The bag of narcotics was attached to a carbon-fibre sporting arrow which was used to launch the package over prison walls according to the Campbell River Mirror.
The package contained nine grams of drugs with a total institutional value (what it’s worth inside the prison) of $7,200 according to Correctional Service Canada. The B.C. prison has since tightened up their security and an investigation is underway with local police.
There has been a recent spike in criminal innovation when it comes to smuggling things into prisons, mostly due to the use of drones. In the Fraser Valley region alone last year, more than $86,000 in contraband was seized from Agassiz’s Kent Institution. One such item seized was a drone used for such activity.
A wealthy businessman who was well-connected to Asian organized crime was permitted to buy a stake in a British Columbian Lottery Group casino, according to Global News.
The government official who allowed the transaction to occur was later hired by the casino in question.
Asian organized crime has been reported to have dipped their tentacles into British Columbian casinos. This was made starkly apparent through a 2009 RCMP report. Asian women with gambling debts, for instance, were being trafficked to B.C. and forced into sex work.
As a result of this, the RCMP report robustly concluded that the police should be targeting B.C. casinos as a way of combatting money laundering.
Despite this, the British Columbian government decided to defund and then disband the illegal gaming unit, provoking outcry amongst those who wanted to see a more transparent gambling industry in the province.
Earlier this month, a caretaker at Jewish summer camp spotted “crude images and swastikas” according to a CBC News report.
Camp Miriam, one of the few Jewish overnight summer camps in the B.C. region, located on Gabriola Island, an island between the mainland and Vancouver Island, in close proximity to Nanaimo, was the target in the hate-motivated graffiti incident.
After discovering the graffiti, one of the camp’s committee members, Kelley Korbin confirmed it has been reported to the RCMP. The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver is also aware of the troubling incident. The two groups, along with the hate crimes unit of the Vancouver Police department are examing the incident.
Ezra Shanken, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver told NEWS 1130 that “it’s almost like no corner of the globe is immune. We’re talking about a camp sitting on an island in the Strait that has not so many people on it.”
Korbin described the camp on priding itself on being “a progressive overnight camp where children learn about Jewish history, leadership and the environment.”
While there has been continued news coverage of antisemitic incidents in Canada, the United States and around the world, “this is the first time in (her) memory that Camp Miriam has been a direct recipient of an attack,” Korbin said.
The incident came to light after a tweet by Sheila Malcolmson, the MLA for Nanaimo, and Gabriola Island was shared.
The camp is a member of Habonim Dror, a Labour Zionist movement, one of the many Jewish organizations within the Kibbutz Movement. Habonim Dror has camps in 15 countries, and two camps in Canada alone.
Swastikas are generally the most common form of antisemitic graffiti in the Jewish diaspora. They are antisemitic to their core, and always have the interest of hatred against the Jewish community, regardless of their sect or affiliation.
Jewish summer camps are unlikely targets for antisemitic attacks, however, and this brings to light yet another type of Jewish institution that will need much more attention with regards to security as the unfortunate worldwide wave of antisemitism continues to spread.
The camp subsequently painted over the graffiti and are reviewing the organization’s security protocol.