British Columbia

27 Lower Mainland gang members convicted thanks to special task force, police say

A joint effort between police agencies in the Lower Mainland has led to convictions against 27 gang members in the region.

Convictions include participation in criminal organization, murder conspiracy, firearms trafficking, drugs

Police say 27 gang members in the Lower Mainland have been arrested and convicted over the past three and a half years, thanks to a special task force aimed at addressing gang violence. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A joint effort between police agencies in the Lower Mainland over the past three and a half years has led to convictions against 27 gang members in the region, according to the Vancouver Police Department. 

Convictions included participation in a criminal organization, murder conspiracy, and drug and firearms trafficking.

Const. Tania Visintin said the final guilty plea was entered Friday, and all 27 individuals have been sentenced, some of whom are serving jail time. 

"The men convicted as a result of Task Force Tourniquet were significant players in the gang conflict between March of 2017 and August of 2018," Visintin said Friday during a news conference.

Police believe those arrests led to a decrease in shootings and murders between 2018 and 2020.

"These are very serious charges," Visintin said. "Some of them are even murder charges." 

The VPD launched Task Force Tourniquet in 2017 in response to increasing gang violence at the time. Other police agencies including the RCMP, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. and the Integrated Homicide Investigation team, worked together and created several projects within the task force.

According to Visintin, those projects have resulted in the seizure of more than 170 firearms, more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 40 kilograms of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine and $2 million worth of cash, jewellery and high-end vehicles.

"It takes a lot of time between the time of arrest, investigating and gathering evidence, charging and then convictions and sentencing," Visintin said. "And the members in this project, really it shows a lot of good work and determination, really."