5 men charged in gang-related murders

Calgary police arrested four men today in connection with several gang-related murders. They are still searching for one man also charged in the intensive five-year investigation.

Police search for man charged with murder

Calgary police are looking for 32-year-old Tim Chan, who has been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (Handout)

Calgary police arrested four men today in connection with several gang-related murders, and are searching for another.

The intensive police operation, dubbed Desino by investigators, focused on three separate homicides starting in 2008. 

The men were known to have ties to organized crime.

They face charges in connection with six murders, including a triple murder at the Bolsa restaurant in southeast Calgary.

Triple murder charges

It was New Year's Day 2009 when three people were shot and killed at the restaurant.

Sanjeev Mann was the intended target, and his associate Aaron Bendle was also killed.

Bystander Keni Su'a was shot as he ran out of the restaurant.

The gun exchange was part of an escalating, violent feud between two rival gangs — Fresh Off the Boat and FOB Killers — responsible for multiple deaths since 2000.

New trials ordered

Nathan Zuccherato, Michael Roberto and Real Honorio were originally found guilty of first-degree murder for the deaths.

New trials were ordered for Zuccherato and Roberto after the Crown's star witness confessed to Saskatchewan RCMP to be the sole killer.

Honorio's appeal is pending. A fourth man, Nicholas Hovanesian, is currently serving a sentence for his role in the killings. 

Now Dustin Darby and Nick Chan, who was recently stabbed outside Community Natural Foods, join Zuccherato as co-accused on the file.

Other murder charges

Police have also charged Zuccherato in the 2008 slaying of Kevin Ses and his girlfriend Tina Kong, a nursing student.

The couple was at a birthday party at a Marlborough Chinese food restaurant when two gunmen burst into the room and started shooting at their table. 

Van Thoai Luc, 25, is also charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in the deaths.

Police say Ses was a loose associate of a gang member, but Kong had no connection to illegal activity.

Drive-by shooting charges

Zuccherato also faces a murder charge alongside three others in connection with the death of Kevin Anaya in 2008.

Anaya was the victim of a daytime drive-by shooting in Marlborough in August 2008. The shooting continued when the attackers then got out of the vehicle and walked up to Anaya, leaving him dying on the pavement. 

Police said at the time he knew his attackers. Four men are charged with his murder: Zuccherato, Darby, Chan and his brother Tim Chan, 32.

The men are also charged with conspiracy to commit murder for targeting another man who was not injured.

Police seek suspect

Police say Tim Chan's whereabouts are not known, but he does have  connections to Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto.

Several areas of the Calgary Police Service — including Major Crimes, Organized Crime and Community Policing — were part of the Desino operation, which means "desist" in Latin.

Along with multiple first-degree murder charges, the Calgary Police Service charged Nick Chan with instructing a criminal organization and Darby with participating in a criminal organization for the first time in its history.

"Gang violence transcends borders and has become a nationwide issue with gang members crisscrossing the country on a regular basis," said police in a release. 

Cost of operation unknown

"The service relied on the assistance of more than a dozen law enforcement agencies and partners from coast-to-coast who lent valuable resources and time and intelligence into ensuring a successful conclusion to these cases," police added. 

"We are incredibly grateful for their help."

Police say gang-related homicide investigations can cost several million dollars on average. The cost of this operation has yet to be tallied.

Calgary police say friends, relatives and associates of gang members are putting themselves in danger. Police encourage all people aware of gang activity to come forward, even gang members looking for some support in breaking away from organized crime.