Organized crime ‘tentacles’ everywhere in B.C., including Comox Valley

Fuelled by greed and money, the tentacles of gangs and organized crime is everywhere in the province, including the Comox Valley.

Fuelled by greed and money, the tentacles of gangs and organized crime is everywhere in the province, including the Comox Valley, says Sgt. Lindsey Houghton.

Although it may not be a highly visible problem in some communities, Houghton said no community in B.C. is immune.

“Violence precipitates down … where money can be made from drugs, where that can be done, it will be done,” he added.

Houghton is a spokesperson for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) – B.C. — the province’s anti-gang agency —  an integrated joint forces operation to target, investigate, prosecute, disrupt and dismantle the organized crime groups and individuals that pose the highest risk to public safety due to gang violence.

The approach enhances information sharing, co-ordination and deployment against threats of violence posed by organized crime groups and gangs in the province.

Houghton spent the weekend in the Comox Valley talking to kids attending the RCMP Youth Camp about gangs and the general gang environment, and to dispel any myths about the issue.

“It’s important to demystify (the issue) and get down to the facts,” he noted. “It sounds clichéd, but (the kids) are our future police officers, educators, journalists and businesspeople.”

CFSEU works with various police and RCMP detachments, and Houghton explained the unit worked closely with the Comox Valley RCMP in the fall of 2011 for the joint project E-Pigmentation.

“A couple of people were arrested on drug and weapon-related offences. At the time, it was a large bust of heroin and cocaine in the Comox Valley,” he said, and added drugs and its relation to organized crime is not just a big-city problem.

In June 2010, officers executed three search warrants, two in the Comox Valley and one in Nanaimo. Seizures included a large amount of drugs, cash and 30 firearms.

“The Comox Valley is an idyllic place; people come here for recreation and for the gateway to Mount Washington. A lot of people don’t realize there still a presence of organized crime and drugs,” noted Houghton.

He said the sharing of information and intelligence between various law enforcements in the province, including the Canada Border Services Agency, has never been greater.

“There’s monumental changes in the mindset and willingness to share information in real time. It really helps with various police agencies, even across Canada.”

Houghton said gangs and their members are travelling, not bound by municipal or provincial boundaries, always in pursuit of money.

“It’s the driving factor.”

Looking at the statistics, Houghton explained that generally the number of gang-motivated homicides has fallen since its peak in 2006, and there are an estimated 188 gangs and organized crime units in B.C.

“It has stayed pretty steady in the last five to 10 years. It is significant who has been arrested,” he noted. “We have taken high-profile and extremely violent offenders off the streets.”

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Comox resident proposes golf course conversion to park

A Comox resident is hoping he’s not the only one who would… Continue reading

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Y2K Spitfire comes home

Stocky Edwards guest of honour at banquet

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Lawyer fired in B.C. courtroom during trial for dangerous driving causing death

Dustin Dennis Zinter was charged following November 2015 accident near Nanaimo, B.C.

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Most Read