Multiethnic gangs like the United Nations, the Red Scorpions, and the Independent Soldiers of British Columbia present the second outcome of the Canadian multiculturalism policy on gangs. All the kids from immigrant families went to the same public schools. There they shared their aspirations for money, power, and respect with Chinese students, Black students, Muslim students, all types of students, especially those singled out as low achievers.
These second-generation Indians became fully integrated into Canada. They didn’t feel like immigrants at all. Vancouver and its outlying suburb Abbotsford have the 2nd and 3rd highest proportion of visible minorities respectively in Canada, after Toronto. It’s no surprise the gangs started here.
The multiethnic gangs present the second link to the Vancouver gang war, the first being the uni-ethnic gangs discussed in the first article. The main multiethnic group in Vancouver (and Abbotsford) was the United Nations gang, which ousted the Hell’s Angels and became a dominant power in the region. By 2009, the UN controlled a huge chunk of territory and thus, the drug trade. It primarily benefited from having a member named Clayton Roueche as the leader. Roueche was a mastermind businessman when it came to the drug trade. He catapulted the gang’s fortunes into the millions.
The UN gang, which was made up of a variety of ethnicities, a significant chunk being Indian, came into conflict with the Red Scorpions when a group of UNers named the Bacon brothers defected to the Red Scorpions. The Red Scorpions were another gang founded in a young offenders facility. A group of students from all backgrounds started out by dealing dope over the phone. They got bigger as the years passed and they trafficked guns and committed murders.
When the Bacon brothers defected to the Red Scorpions, street battles and shootings broke out and many on both sides were killed. But this was only the beginning of the war. Eventually another more established gang also entered the gang war: the Independent Soldiers. The IS were made up mostly of Indian Sikhs but also had Caucasians and other ethnicities. They operated in Central Canada and had been tied to Italian organized crime in Montreal. They saw the lucrative potential of the drug trade in B.C. and decided to make an investment.
That investment was the lives of over hundred people as the gang war between these five groups raged on in 2009.
Now that we see how Canada’s policy of multiculturalism spearheaded two very different types of gangs, let us figure out why all of a sudden street battles broke out in 2009? As I’ve mentioned, the five gangs were fighting before 2009 but their skirmishes were minor and not nearly as concentrated as the first few months of 2009 became. First off, the gang’s differences weren’t the reason. The reasons for warring weren’t for some ethnic pride or racism. Nor was there a significant police crackdown that pitted the gangs to fight for more drug turf.
Instead, the reasons for the war were almost completely linked to the gangs’ drug suppliers in Mexico. All five gangs were involved with the Mexican cartels. The cartels did not care about the racial make up of their partners. They only cared about the money.
Most of the drug trade is dependent on the steady flow of drugs – particularly heroin, cocaine, and crack – up from Mexico. Everything is connected and it is a fragile connection, fragile only because authorities like the DEA can disrupt that flow. If that flow is disrupted on one point in the connection, repercussions are felt everywhere. In 2009, the Mexican drug cartels suffered a setback when Mexican authorities cracked down on their business.
With the supply from Mexico cut significantly, the prices the Vancouver gangs had to charge for their drugs went up. With the prices going up, less people continued buying. And since less people were buying, the only way to maintain steady profit meant increasing turf. It was purely economics. It was purely business. It had nothing to do with the Indian quality of the gangs. It had nothing to do with Indians bringing foreign business practices to their gangs. It was all about the money flow. Thus, the five gangs began shooting at each other.
The war claimed the lives of both Indians and non-Indians. Eventually Vancouver police cracked down heavily. Udham Singh Sanghera was arrested for trafficking ecstasy across the U.S.-Canada border. Manny Buttar was arrested for gun possession and assault. Clayton Roueche, the drug kingpin of the UN gang – and probably all of B.C. – was arrested in Houston on cocaine trafficking charges. He’s serving a life sentence.
The gang war died down after the crackdown. But the flow of drugs is slowly rising again; a new generation of Indian kids replaces the old one, this time far removed from having any allegiance to India except by family and name.
Once again, it will be back to business as usual, but this time they won’t be joining gangs to cope with the eroding of their Indian identity; being Indian has nothing to do with anything. The identity of any gang now is one in itself.
As for Canada’s policy of multiculturalism, in the end it will result in lesser ethnic gangs and more multiethnic criminal enterprises. I predict ethnic gangs will only thrive in extortion and petty crime. Isolation has always been bad for business. Multiethnic gangs are the ones, at least in Canada, which have a future in the drug trade. It’s the schools where Indian kids integrate with their multiethnic friends. That’s where all the customers are!