White supremacist street gang with ties to the Hells Angels and cells throughout northern Alberta dismantled.During a 15-month investigation, the Metro Edmonton gang unit targeted members of the White Boy Posse.
Officers arrested 17 members after five raids Thursday morning and issued warrants for another five.
It's completely handicapped them. They are not functioning as of this moment," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Galvin.The White Boy Posse has between 50 and 100 members and is involved in trafficking cocaine and other drugs from Yellowknife to Medicine Hat, Galvin said. It often uses the swastika in tattoos and other gang paraphernalia.
Police displayed swords, a handgun, cocaine, cash and gang-related hats and sweaters confiscated during the arrests.Thursday was the end of an initiative police called Project Goliath. Members hit four homes in Old Strathcona, Castle Downs and Clareview and one business in Beverly between 7:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Thursday, said gang unit member Const. Brent Dahlseide.Those arrested range in age from 17 to 33. Police confiscated 1.3 kilograms of cocaine and $47,000 in cash.
At the same time, RCMP have been heading Project Krystal, a joint investigation targeting members of the West End Jamaicans and Redd Alert. Sixteen members of those groups have been arrested in the last month.Police Chief Mike Boyd credited members of the public for phoning in tips to help build the cases. "We're getting information on all sorts of gangs every day," he said.
Police forces in Canada have been focusing on street gangs that feed members to more organized criminal networks for the last eight years, Boyd said. That's when it became obvious organized gangs such as the Hells Angels were using specific street gangs to build their reach and their membership.
"Any takedown that culminates in these kinds of arrests is a win for all of us," he said. "But our work isn't finished today. We have to keep working at this problem until we beat it right down."Galvin said those arrested Thursday are mostly mid-level managers, distributors and wholesalers in the gang's drug trade.
Some lower level drug runners were included, but police try to focus on prevention tactics first, he said. Jail time can simply give gang members better street credibility and drug contacts.Galvin estimated there are between 5,000 and 6,000 gang members and affiliates in Edmonton.