Calgary gang enforcer flips on friends to avoid jail time
Ex-FOB gang member and admitted killer Hans Eastgaard becomes police informant
One of Calgary's top gangsters has been granted full immunity in exchange for his testimony against others in the notorious FOB gang.
CBC News has obtained a court document showing the attorney general of Alberta will not prosecute Hans (Jay) Eastgaard, 37, for three slayings and two attempted killings.
Eastgaard was a member of the FOB — which initially stood for "Fresh Off the Boat" — and was part of a gang war in Calgary which is connected to at least 25 deaths since 2002. The rival gang was FK, or "FOB Killers."
Crown prosecutor Brian Holtby said the arrangement with Eastgaard is far from ideal.
"It's distasteful to be honest," he said.
"Our mandate is to disrupt and dismantle organized crime and in this case it's clear that complete justice is not going to be done but we hope by this action that we at least disrupt this group for a time."
Eastgaard is a well-documented criminal, having received several convictions on drug and weapon offences. But he has received full immunity from prosecution for his role in the slayings.
"We certainly understand why people would be upset and we're not totally happy with the situation ourselves but unfortunately the police had put absolutely hundreds — if not thousands — of hours of investigation into the murders that Mr. Eastgaard was involved in and it was clear to us that unless we got his co-operation, no charges were ever going to be laid," said Holtby.
According to details provided to police by Eastgaard, he was an original, top-level member of the drug-dealing, violent FOB gang in Calgary.
The court document identifies Nick Chan as the leader and his brother Tim as a high-ranking original member.
Eastgaard met the brothers when he was in his late teens. Eastgaard and Tim Chan would run errands for Nick, eventually starting their own "dial-a-dope" cocaine business.
Around the time he was 24, Eastgaard was arrested and convicted for drug offences. He took full responsibility, allowing Tim Chan to avoid jail.
On Eastgaard’s release, the brothers took care of him financially, instructing him to "lay low."
Tim Chan and Eastgaard eventually moved to Toronto together.
Now the man the Chan brothers considered a friend, business partner and loyal gang member will testify against them and others in several upcoming murder trials.
Eastgaard’s move to co-operate with police came as a shock, especially to Nick Chan.
"He's still the same Jay and I know that. [He's] never gonna turn on us," Nick Chan said to another original FOB member, Dustin Darby, in a conversation recorded by police.
"[He'll] never do anything bad against us."
Darby is also facing murder charges as a result of Eastgaard's information.
Another gang member, Michael Roberto, also received partial immunity in June when he became a police witness.
Roberto was involved in several murders and has provided authorities information about how the murders took place and which gang members were present.
He also told officers that Nick Chan directed him and others to commit the murders.
"We were in a better bargaining position with Mr. Roberto than Mr. Eastgaard. We had more evidence relating to Mr. Roberto, we had virtually none relating to Mr. Eastgaard," said Holtby.
The Crown prosecutor said Eastgaard will walk free to ensure the gang's top brass are put behind bars.
"It's not helpful if we're dealing with the bottom rung of gang members because they just don't have the knowledge that can assist us in court," said Holtby.
"So even though Mr. Eastgaard was a more senior member, we had to go to that level to get the information we required."
The information provided by Eastgaard led to a series of arrests in July and is part of what Calgary police say is the biggest gang investigation in the force’s history — Operation Desino, which mean "desist" in Latin.
Nick Chan and Darby were both charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder. For the first time in the force’s history, the Calgary Police Service also charged Nick Chan with instructing a criminal organization and Darby with participating in a criminal organization.
Eastgaard told police he was considered the "enforcer" of the FOB gang, "carrying out violence" for the group in exchange for money.
In a videotaped interview, he admitted to killing Kevin Anaya in August 2008, shooting him on a friend's front lawn.
Eastgaard said that killing was directed by Nick Chan, who believed Anaya had ties to the rival FK or "FOB Killer" gang.
He also said he tried to kill suspected FK members in an October 2008 shooting at the Food in the East Restaurant that left Kevin Ses and Tina Kong dead and another man paralyzed.
The gun he attempted to fire wouldn't discharge, he said.
Police would not comment on Eastgaard's current whereabouts.
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