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Friday, 9 December 2011

21-year-old member of a Montreal outpost of the 18th Street Gang, one of the largest and most violent U.S.-based gangs

13:15 | ,

fast-rising member of a Montreal street gang — involved in robberies, stabbings, beatings, gunplay, turf wars and linked to an unsolved murder — has been ordered out of Canada as quickly as possible in order to maintain public confidence in Canada’s immigration control.

The 21-year-old member of a Montreal outpost of the 18th Street Gang, one of the largest and most violent U.S.-based gangs, flagrantly caused mayhem in his adopted city of Montreal while never becoming a Canadian citizen, the Federal Court of Canada heard.

Téofilo Gyampie Massoni Vasquez was 10 when he arrived in Canada from Peru in 2001 and claimed refugee status with his family.

The following year the claim was rejected for a lack of credibility and the family argued against removal in the courts until 2005 when, appeals exhausted, they left.

Vasquez returned, however, and in 2007 obtained permanent residence status here, settling in Montreal where he entered a boisterous life in the city’s tawdry gangland, court heard.

Even before he left in 2005, police had linked him to a street gang, having questioned him at the age of 15 inside a gang hangout. The year he returned to Montreal, police linked him to death threats against a rival gang member made over the Internet.

Over the next two years, police documented both his rise in prominence within the gang and his escalating violence.

In May 2007, he was with two others, one of whom attacked a passerby, believed to be a rival gang member, with a knife and a machete. Vasquez then admitted to police he was a member of the 18th Street Gang.

In March 2008, police stopped him in a metro station and photographed him; his tattoos revealed his rise in gang status.

That same month, he was with two gang leaders in a hotel room near a convenience store that had been robbed when police came to the door, but the trio managed to flee through the hotel’s window.

In April 2008, he was arrested after being caught marking the gang’s territory with graffiti.

That same month, he was found in Sherbrooke in a two-vehicle convoy in which police found a gun, knife and other suspicious items.

“Even though he was not charged, [he] revealed that he had in-depth knowledge of the gang in his comments on the incident, which, again demonstrated his rise in the gang,” Federal Court Justice Michel Shore wrote in his judgment.

The next month, Vasquez was in the Berri Street metro station in Montreal with three others. There, they attacked two men: one was beaten to the ground and the other stabbed, causing a lacerated liver and kidney. Vasquez was charged and convicted for the stabbing.

In November 2008, Vasquez was found to be a roommate of one of the leaders of a faction, following a split in the gang, at the time the boss was murdered.

And in July 2009, he robbed an SAQ liquor store.

Soon afterwards, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board deemed him to be involved in organized crime and ordered him deported, triggering another round of court appeals.

Even after that order, he racked up additional criminal convictions.

Justice Shore was thoroughly unimpressed with Vasquez. Not only did the judge rebuff all efforts to have the deportation delayed, but he urged removal be swift.

“The applicant’s removal is not simply a question of administrative convenience, but implicates the integrity and fairness of, and public confidence in, Canada’s system of immigration control,” Justice Shore wrote in his decision, released this week in English.

“The integrity of the immigration system depends on immigration law being interpreted and administered in support of the legislation; this legislation requires that the prompt removal of those ordered deported must be the rule, and the grant of a stay pending the disposition of legal proceedings, the exception,” he wrote.

“One factor, above all else, weighs heavily in favour of the ministers in the present matter: the Canadian public’s right to be protected from criminal individuals who are not entitled to remain in Canada.”

Canada Border Services Agency was happy to comply. Vasquez was deported to Peru shortly after.

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