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Coquitlam part of recent multi-city police operation to combat gang violence

Here's what transpired since Jan. 1 that led to several arrests and seizures of illicit drugs and weapons by B.C.'s gang enforcement task force.

A large-scale police operation that included a stop in Coquitlam resulted in seizures of drugs, cash and weapons, as well as a number of arrests, in hopes of reducing gang violence in B.C.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) responded to more than 260 files generated across six communities, including those reported to the local RCMP detachment.

As a result of the three-month multi-city initiative, there are potential criminal charges in relation to multiple investigations, and several items related to gang activity have been recovered.

This included the following commodities, all seized by the CFSEU-BC uniform gang enforcement team (UGET):

  • Roughly two (2) kilograms of illicit drugs
    • Cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin among others
  • Roughly 16 pounds of non-government issued cannabis products
  • Five firearms, assorted ammunition and body armour
    • Plus, nine (9) other types of firearms, including airsoft rifles — one modified to project arrows
  • 80 weapons, including....
    • Knives and an axe
    • Brass knuckles
    • Billy clubs
    • Tasers
    • Loaded heavy gloves
    • Extendable baton
    • Bear spray
  • Approximately $70,000 in Canadian cash
  • Two (2) vehicles related to ongoing investigations
  • 11 impounded vehicles in relation to a number of investigations
  • Approximately $80,000 worth of recovered stolen property from several cities, including designer watches and a high-end SUV

Names of those that were arrested were not provided as the investigations are still ongoing.

In a release, the CFSEU-BC stated the intent of the campaign was to disrupt gang violence in high-risk places "through proactive, overt enforcement on identified individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety."

Stops along the way included Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley, Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Campbell River and Prince George.

"Every time high visibility gang enforcement officers from CFSEU-BC and our partner agencies initiate contact with those engaged in activities that put us all at risk, it deters and prevents gang violence and also sends a message to them that police agencies are working together," said Superintendent Alison Laurin, CFSEU-BC's deputy operations support officer.

"The BC RCMP is committed to working closely with CFSEU-BC and other policing partners to combat organized crime in our province," added Superintendent Jim Elliott, BC RCMP's acting deputy criminal operations officer in the same statement.

"This joint operation is a perfect example of how collaboration can lead to significant disruptions to organized crime groups."

The initiative throughout the first quarter of 2023 also allowed officers to gather information connected to multiple high-level crime groups, which is likely to produce "future positive outcomes" for gang enforcement, CFSEU-BC explained.

The task force said Tri-Cities residents csan expect to see its UGET team out and about this summer speaking with individuals at risk of potentially joining a gang, as well as those that pose a threat to public safety.

For more information, you can visit the CFSEU-BC website.