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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Vancouver-based Red Scorpions gang that aggressively expanded in the capital city's drug trade by threatening other dealers and giving free crack

11:35 |

The Red Scorpions are considered to be one of the most violent gangs in B.C. and members have been identified as suspects in the slaughter of six people in a Surrey highrise in October 2007.Victoria police say they've dismantled a chapter of the Vancouver-based Red Scorpions gang that aggressively expanded in the capital city's drug trade by threatening other dealers and sometimes giving crack cocaine away for free.Police arrested six people, in their late teens and early 20s, last week and raided a Saanich house -- on Borden Street, near McKenzie Avenue -- they called the base of operations for a burgeoning Greater Victoria "dial-a-dope" operation.In addition to the arrests, police seized $3,000 in cash, $1,000 in cocaine and a loaded sawed-off shotgun, said Const. Colin Brown, a lead investigator.The raid was the culmination of a month-long undercover operation by the Greater Victoria Regional Crime Unit, and Victoria and Saanich police. Plainclothes officers bought crack cocaine from dealers downtown, said Brown."We certainly believe that we've made a dent in this group," said Brown.During the undercover work, police identified 11 people they thought were either members or associates of the Red Scorpions. Six were arrested and face court dates this week. Two are in custody for unrelated charges, and three remain on the loose and are wanted, say police.Those arrested face a variety of drug trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking charges. They are to appear in court this week. Victoria police will ask the court to ban some of them from returning to Vancouver Island, said Brown.
The Red Scorpion gang was recruiting members in Victoria by distributing free crack cocaine with a phone number for orders it filled 24 hours a day, said Brown. The Scorpions were also "very aggressive" to other dealers and police were concerned about the potential for future violence, said Brown.
It was established in the Lower Mainland eight years ago by a group of young men who met each other in a youth detention facility and has grown over the years. Many members have a "RS" tattoo on their wrists, neck or shoulders.
Two years ago, several Red Scorpions were arrested in connection with a large crack cocaine "dial-a-dope" operation in Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster and Port Moody. After 10 accused in the ring pleaded guilty, it was believed the Scorpions had been disbanded but police said earlier this year the gang was still active.
Sgt. Shinder Kirk, of the B.C. Integrated Gang Task Force, said he's aware people in Victoria are affiliated with the Red Scorpions, but he didn't know whether they are associates or members.He said many individuals will operate under the moniker of certain groups, such as the Scorpions, in a franchise-type situation in order to intimidate and sell their drugs. "No community is immune; if there's a market for their product, they'll operate there," said Kirk.Police pressure on the Lower Mainland may have played a part in the gang's decision to expand to Vancouver Island, said Sgt. Dave Bown, head of the Greater Victoria Regional Crime Unit

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