The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit is B.C.'s anti-gang police unit that aims to suppress and disrupt organized crime.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit is B.C.'s anti-gang police unit that aims to suppress and disrupt organized crime.

Anti-gang police publish first community report

CFSEU unveils profile of murder victims, warning signs for parents

B.C.’s anti-gang police unit is taking a step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) is the integrated team of 400 officers and civilians from 14 different agencies, including RCMP and municipal police forces, that disrupt and suppress organized crime around the province.

Their investigations have cracked big cases, such as the discovery of an audacious cross-border drug-smuggling tunnel in Aldergrove and the unraveling of a massive international money-laundering ring.

The CFSEU is now out to capture a bigger public profile with the publication of its first-ever Community Report.

The report can be read online at bc-anti-gang.com.

Sgt. Lindsey Houghton said the aim is to make more people aware of the CFSEU and what it does.

The initiative comes as the anti-gang force chalks up a major win – the arrest in February of three men in the murder of notorious gangster Jonathan Bacon, who was shot with four associates in 2011 outside a Kelowna casino.

“Some people never thought that day would ever come,” Houghton said. “Or that the police would ever take something like that seriously. That was one of the watershed moments in the history of Kelowna.”

Houghton said the report pulls together a broader picture of the CFSEU’s work than people see in daily news media coverage.

“It seems like every couple of weeks or month we’ve got an interesting story to tell and this was one way for us to tell it,” he said.

The report includes stories of officers tracking members of the Dhak/Duhre crime group who make up one side of the ongoing bloody gang conflict in B.C.

And it also releases intriguing findings on who is most likely to end up a victim of the gang violence that occasionally erupts in B.C.

CFSEU researchers found the vast majority of gang-related murder victims over a four-year period had previous drug charges or convictions, and often violent criminal pasts.

Most were gang members, not just associates or minor players in the drug trade, and a few were girlfriends or an innocent victim, like a man who was shot in Burnaby after picking up a Bacon brother vehicle to install a car stereo in it.

B.C. gang-related killings peaked at 36 in 2009 before dropping to 18 last year.

Victims are overwhelmingly men and their average age is 30, according to CFSEU stats.

Three-quarters of bodies are found near the victims’ homes or vehicles.

Most (85 per cent) were shot, but eight per cent were viciously beaten, six per cent were stabbed and one victim was burned to death.

Also included are key risk factors for ending up in a gang and tips for parents on spotting potential signs of gang involvement. Carrying multiple cellphones, having unexplained cash and making frequent brief trips out of the home are among the red flags.

The report details how police try to keep gangsters out of bars and restaurants to keep them from recruiting new blood, as well as to prevent gang violence.

This month the CFSEU said it will publicly identify suspected gangsters where possible as a new tactic to make it more difficult for organized crime to operate.

After a gang-related shooting outside a gym in South Surrey, senior officers are also pledging backup for businesses that make gangsters feel unwelcome in their premises.

For more on the CFSEU, check out their website at cfseu.bc.ca or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Tomo Vranjes, a Greater Victoria musician and longtime fan of late rock guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, joins artist Paul Archer behind the latter’s Fort Street gallery. Archer, whose airbrushed paintings of rock greats have made him many connections in recent years, painted a likeness of Van Halen following the guitarist’s death last month from cancer. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria artist’s king-sized tribute to Eddie Van Halen draws on personal connection

Paul Archer had an up close and personal day with the legendary guitarist in 1980

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Bard to Broadway Theatre Society may stage shows outdoors next summer. (PQB News photo file)
Qualicum Beach’s Bard to Broadway group may stage shows outdoors

Theatre society plans smaller productions due to ongoing pandemic

A new short film festival called MORVENFEST is encouraging B.C. secondary students to step into the world of film during their Christmas break. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
New film festival gives Victoria students exciting opportunity

MORVENFEST is open to all B.C. secondary students over Christmas break

Most Read