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Thursday, 9 October 2008

Jimmy (Grover) Lee was gunned down in his north Surrey home about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday and two gangsters in Prince George were found dead


08:05 | ,

Jimmy (Grover) Lee was gunned down in his north Surrey home about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday and two gangsters in Prince George were found dead in a suspected double homicide there.Insp. Brian Cantera said the targeted hits in both places appear to be the usual disputes among those in the criminal underworld.These are gang and drug related homicides," Cantera said in an interview. "They are specific to those individuals involved in the criminal element who are jockeying for positions in the mid-level illicit drug trade for the most part."Solicitor-General John van Dongen said stemming the gang violence is his number-one priority."We recognize that organized crime and gun violence is spreading from the Lower Mainland to places like Kelowna and Prince George," van Dongen said. "That's why we do try to have these integrated police teams working cooperatively to pursue these investigations."
Lee's dumpy rented residence at 10928 Timberland Road in Surrey was a crack shack from which he sold crystal meth and other drugs, as well as used tires and wheels, several friends told The Vancouver Sun.Lee had connections to the Red Scorpions gang that controls the meth and crack trade in that part of Surrey, the friends said.
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Roger Morrow said the 33-year-old victim and the residence were well-known to police. Lee was involved in a dispute with another crack shack operator who was shot and wounded Aug. 26 at 108 Ave. and King George in Surrey. And he had regular run-ins with nearby businesses upset that he was selling auto parts without a licence, including some that were stolen.Prince George RCMP Const. Gary Godwin said investigators there are still working to confirm the identity of the two murder victims found in a house in the 2300-block of Webber Crescent.
But he confirmed the house was raided by police Sept. 12 and that three illegal guns - including two semi-automatic weapons - were seized. Five people were arrested.
The northern hub city has struggled with an increase in gang activity over the last few years with Hells Angel puppet clubs - like the Renegades and the Crew - challenged for turf by the Independent Soldiers, a gang that originated in south Vancouver."All of our recent murders, shootings, beatings and tortures have been gang-related," Godwin said.The three murders come just five days after a brazen gangland slaying in the parking lot of Vancouver's busy Oakridge Mall. The victim, Rakesh Ratnam Naidu, had a long history in the criminal underworld and was associated with two other recently killed gangsters - James Edward O'Toole and Tommy Ho Sing Chan. Another gangster linked to the Independent Soldiers, Jody Archie York, had his million-dollar house in Langley shot up Monday night.Van Dongen said the gangs appear to be getting more cocky with their very public shootings. "This kind of gun violence and this kind of attitude did not exist 10 to 20 years ago," van Dongen said. "They are becoming more brazen."Cantera said some gangsters think they are immune from prosecution in B.C.

"I have had some of those comments made to me in the past by some in the criminal world," he said.

Cantera said police resources are often tied up preparing for the court process, which is much more complicated and labour-intensive than it once was because of the prosecution's obligation to disclose everything to the defence.

"It is complicated law. It is extensive disclosure. Those are creating situations that are really allowing the criminal element to flourish here," Cantera said.

And while the shootings and slayings continue, Cantera said the public has to remember that the attacks are targeted.

"The majority of what we are seeing are not random acts of violence. These are targeted squabbles that these individuals are trying to sort out, trying to vie for a position in the drug underworld," he said.

kbolan@vancouversun.com


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