SURREY, B.C.: East Indian parents discuss ideas to prevent gang-related violence

Reaching young people most at-risk is crucial, forum hears

CBC News Posted: May 05, 2015 10:30 PM PT Last Updated: May 06, 2015 10:42 AM PT

The organizer of the event, Meera Gill, says more needs to be done to keep youth out of gangs.

Roughly 100 people gathered in Surrey on Tuesday to come up with ways to fight back against the spate of drug-related violence in the city.

People jotted down ideas, trying to figure out solutions for reaching young people who are most at-risk of becoming involved in gun and drug violence. Police say there is a gang turf war on the streets of Surrey that has spilled into Delta and resulted in 22 shootings and one homicide in six weeks.

“A lot of East Indian parents are so involved in work and unfortunately the problem with that is they’re so involved in trying to make a good living for their children that they don’t have the time to be involved in their children’s life,” says one Surrey parent Ruby Deol. 

Surrey teen Jayden Grewal says there is a lot of peer pressure to try drugs and sell them. 

“People keep on telling you to sell drugs, to try them. It’s really hard … as you’re talking to the older kids, you find out they’ve tried that stuff and [there is] a lot of peer pressure.”

The organizer of the event, Meera Gill, says more needs to be done to keep youth out of gangs. 

“We want to be at the preventive stage,” she says. ”When someone gets shot, that’s enforcement. RCMP will take care of that. But as parents, we want to say how can we save our kids before we get to that stage.”

Gill says the ideas they collect tonight will be sent to all three levels of government as well as Surrey RCMP.

Kash Heed says gang violence in Surrey is not a ‘South Asian’ issue

Former solicitor general says solution to violence is comprehensive approach, not finger pointing

By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: May 05, 2015 8:14 AM PT Last Updated: May 05, 2015 8:14 AM PT

Kash Heed, a former B.C. solicitor general, is criticizing what he calls an “ethnic approach” to a recent outbreak of violence in Surrey and Delta, B.C., in the past two months.

Police have pointed to “low-level drug dealers” in the South Asian and Somali communities.

“Some people seem to have this bizarre belief that it’s something within the South Asian culture that creates this type of individual when in fact it’s across all groups, regardless of their ethnic background,” Heed, who was an officer with the Vancouver Police Department during another surge in gang violence in the early 2000s, told The Early Edition’s Rick Cluff.

Police have said they are being stonewalled by the families of the victims who are not coming forward with information — something Heed said isn’t surprising.

“You have to remember the individuals who are involved in this dispute are in their 20s. They’re not young kids. They’re not 12 and 13-years-old where the family still has a lot of control on that,” said Heed.

Heed, a former B.C. Liberal MLA, wants to see a comprehensive approach to gang violence — with more funding to build prevention programs for at-risk youth, better supports in schools and crack downs on known offenders.

“Law enforcement officials [need to] take this seriously and put them behind bars and deal with it — but then think long term,” he said.

Former B.C. NDP MLA Moe Sihota has also criticized the focus on the South Asian and Somali communities.

“Surrey has a crime problem that extends through all elements of the community. The Bacon brothers weren’t Somali,” Sihota said in an interview last week.

To hear the full interview with Kash Heed, listen to the audio labelled: Kash Heed on gang violence.

String of Surrey shootings connected to turf war between Somali and South Asian gangs

Young refugees have little support for trauma, says head of Umoja Operation Compassion Society of BC

By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Apr 30, 2015 12:55 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 30, 2015 12:55 PM PT

The Umoja Operation Compassion Society of BC helps young African refugees to adjust to life in Canada - and its executive director says more needs to be done to prevent young people getting involved with gangs.The Umoja Operation Compassion Society of BC helps young African refugees to adjust to life in Canada – and its executive director says more needs to be done to prevent young people getting involved with gangs. (


Keeping Somali youth out of gangs 6:49

The head of a Surrey, B.C.-based organization that works with Somali immigrants and refugees wants better gang prevention programs for youth, as the community grapples with 23 shootings in two months.

RCMP have said the shootings are connected to a turf war between rival Somali and South Asian gangs.

“It’s a big problem generally in the youth. If there are no youth programs the Somalis won’t be there,” Amos Kambere, Executive Director of theUmoja Operation Compassion Society of BC, told The Early Edition’sRick Cluff.

Huge culture shock

Kambere said many of the Somalis who come to Canada have suffered violence in refugee camps and experience a huge culture shock when they arrive.

“These people are coming with issues of trauma, issues of mental health and when they come here they are overwhelmed.”

TORONTO: 9 arrested in alleged human trafficking operation

 Toronto police have arrested nine people and laid 61 charges in a multi-province investigation into an alleged human trafficking operation. There is a warrant outstanding for one further person.

From October 2014 to April 2015, the Sex Crimes Human Trafficking Enforcement Team were looking into a Toronto street gang called the Complex Crip Gangsters for what they believed to be a Canada-wide human trafficking network. Police called the investigation Project Guardian.

Police announce arrestsPolice announce the arrest of what they say are nine members of a Toronto street gang on Wednesday morning. (Shannon Martin/CBC)

Police say the accused would recruit women at dance clubs, schools and group homes and force them into sex work. They would also befriend women online, using Facebook and Instagram.

The victims involved ranged in age from 15 to 33 and were from Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta. The girls and women were forced to work and turn over the money they earned, and if they did not make enough money, they would be physically beaten and threatened, police say.

The police allege the women were being forced to service 10-15 clients a day.

Police say they identified four alleged victims during their investigation.

On April 2, the police raided dwellings in the area of Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, and Kipling Avenue and Rexdale Boulevard to make the arrests. They also say they found stolen property, as well as drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and MDMA. As well, they gathered evidence related to hotels and motels.

The charges laid include human trafficking and drug-related counts, as well as obstructing a peace officer, possession of the proceeds of crime, and trafficking in persons under 18 years.

The accused are:

  • Marcus Cumsille, 21, of Toronto.
  • Joel Edwards, 22, of Toronto.
  • Tyronne Matthews, 20, of Toronto.
  • Felix Funes Vasquez, 19, of Toronto.
  • Shane Hendry, 18, of Toronto.
  • Symisha Murray, 19, of Toronto.
  • Abdulwahab Sheikh, 18, of Toronto.
  • Keron Christie, 32, of Toronto.
  • Chanelle Espinosa, 20, of Toronto.
Police have released some of the photos of the arrestedPolice have released some of the photos of the arrested. Clockwise from top left: Marcus Cumsille, 21, Joel Edwards, 22, Levi Alexander, 19, who has not yet been arrested, and Chanelle Espinosa, 20. (Toronto police)

Levi Alexander, 19, of Toronto, has not been apprehended and is wanted on an arrest warrant.

Police believe there may be more victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 416-808-7474.

Information can also be passed on anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

SURREY, B.C. :Mayor Linda Hepner delivers condolences to family of street-level drug dealer Arun Bains

Keven Drews, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, April 20, 2015 5:29PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 20, 2015 10:28PM EDT

SURREY, B.C. — The mayor of a Metro Vancouver city plagued by a gang war has implored those shooting at each other to stop before more people are killed, adding police will get the necessary resources to deal with the violence.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner was flanked by the area’s top officers Monday as politicians and police presented a united front against the suspects behind 22 shootings since March 9 in that city and in neighbouring Delta.

The latest victim was shot a day earlier and identified Monday by provincial NDP Leader John Horgan as the nephew of Harry Bains, one of the party’s members of the legislature, whose riding is in Surrey.

Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, left, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, centre, and Assistant Commissioner Dan Malow address the recent spate of shootings in Surrey, B.C. at a news conference on Monday, April 20, 2015. (Keven Drews / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Condolences to the family of 22-year-old Arun Bains were the first thing Hepner delivered at the news conference.

“This has to stop before any more lives are lost,” she said. “I am imploring those that have been involved in these shootings to take a sober look at the grim reality of your action.

“While you may have been fortunate to escape any serious injury to date, what happened yesterday is a fate that can easily befall you.”

Police were called to reports of gunfire early Sunday and found Bains inside a vehicle that had crashed into a pole.

Mounties have said Bains was known to be connected to the street-level drug trade and became the first person to lose his life since the shootings began six weeks ago.

RCMP assistant commissioner Dan Malo said groups of individuals who want to violently take over profits from the drug trade and target vulnerable people are involved.

Marc Wabafiyebazu pleads not guilty to murder in Florida drug-related shootout

The Associated Press Posted: Apr 20, 2015 11:51 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 20, 2015 4:28 PM ET

The 15-year-old son of a Canadian diplomat has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in a Miami drug-related shootout that killed his older brother.

Marc Wabafiyebazu 20150408Marc Wabafiyebazu is the son of a Canadian diplomat who police say was involved in a drug-related shootout that killed his brother and another teenager. (Handout/Canadian Press)

The attorney for Marc Wabafiyebazu entered the plea Monday on his behalf to adult felony murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Wabafiyebazu waived his appearance in court. Circuit Judge Richard Hersch set a tentative July 20 trial date.

Wabafiyebazu is the son of Roxanne Dubé, the Canadian consul general in Miami. Her other son, Jean Wabafiyebazu, was fatally shot in the March 30 confrontation over a marijuana deal that also left 17-year-old Joshua Wright dead.

Two other young men also pleaded not guilty Monday in the case.

Police say the gunfire erupted after the Wabafiyebazu brothers tried to rob the drug dealers.