Prince George RCMP investigating 5th 'drug-linked' homicide of the year
Search and Rescue helped recover man's body from rural area north of Prince George
The Prince George RCMP Serious Crime Unit is investigating the fifth homicide of the year linked to the drug trade, according to police.
The latest homicide victim, James [Jimmy] Webb, 52, had been reported missing by family in March.
At the time, RCMP said Webb may have been carrying an oxygen tank ... and could have difficulty walking long distances."
Webb was found dead in a rural area about 80 kilometres northeast of Prince George on April 19, said RCMP Cpl Jennifer Cooper in a written statement issued Wednesday, a week after the discovery.
Cooper said Prince George Search and Rescue staff and volunteers helped investigators with the "recovery" of the body.
She said Webb's death was a "targeted event connected to the drug trade in Prince George" and the fifth such homicide in just three months.
Earlier this month, Prince George RCMP Superintendent Shaun Wright told CBC News that drug dealers from the Lower Mainland were linked to the violence.
"To really distribute drugs to the north and up to the Yukon, Prince George is a desirable territory. We're seeing individuals from the conflict in the Lower Mainland reaching up here to try to control that illegal trade."
Police say the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit B.C. has been in Prince George since March to try to stem the violence.
This year's deadly drug-linked toll includes a woman killed in a small yellow house just a few doors down from the popular Lheidli T'enneh Park and a woman found dead in a mobile home on an icy street, both in February.
One woman has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of the woman at the mobile home.
On March 7, a man was found shot to death outside a highrise apartment building less than 500 metres from city hall.
The next day, bloodstains were visible in the building's parking lot and on a glass entrance door, which required tenants to walk through the crime scene to leave the building. RCMP later charged a man with manslaughter with a firearm.
On April 1, a man was found dead in a home in Prince George's inner city.
Cooper said RCMP don't know whether the deaths are connected to each other.
"We are looking into all of our investigative avenues, but the only link we have so far is that they are all connected to the drug trade."
Webb's name is the only victim's name that RCMP have publicly released.
In a missing person's alert for Webb that RCMP issued in March, Webb's family said it was out of character for him not to check in with them each day.
Court records for a man with the same name and birth date as Webb show that he was under a lifetime firearms ban but that his last contact with the court system was almost a decade ago, in 2014.
The convictions included theft under $5,000, fraudulent consumption of electricity, and possession of an unauthorized firearm.