DEPUTY CHIEF WARREN LEMCKE
You know, it’s a terrible thing to live in fear.
Imagine how frightening it would be to know that there is one person or more out there who intends to hurt you in a terrible way or possibly do something to you even worse.
There are women in the Downtown Eastside who know that terror and live with it every day.
These women are victims of a special type of criminal.
He is not addicted to drugs, he doesn’t live in poverty and he doesn’t care about the community. He cruises into the Downtown Eastside in high-end vehicles and preys on the most vulnerable of its residents.
The women of the Downtown Eastside have told us that what they fear most are the predatory drug dealers who conduct their business with violence, torture and terror.
We have heard what the women and the community have told us and we have targeted the worst of the worst of these offenders.
I’m very pleased to tell you today that the streets of the Downtown Eastside have just gotten a little safer. We have arrested a number of these predators and more arrests are on the way.
For months we have been conducting a secret operation called Project Tyrant and more recently another called Project Rescue. They are both under the umbrella of SisterWatch, a program in partnership with the community to end violence against women.
I would like to say how much we value that partnership.
INSPECTOR BRAD DESMARAIS
GANGS AND DRUGS SECTION
In the Spring and Summer of 2010, members of the Vancouver Police Department Gangs and Drugs Section, in concert with the Beat Enforcement Teams in the Downtown Eastside, investigated the criminal activity of Peter Soiles, Ngoc Le, and Zhen Liu.
This crime group was believed to be responsible for supplying drugs to the Downtown Eastside and had been identified as victimizing marginalized people.
The VPD chose to target these individuals based on intelligence received which indicated they had a significant propensity for violence.
Further, VPD’s targeting decision was also influenced by financial intelligence provided by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), indicating the targets were involved in activity consistent with money laundering and possession of the proceeds of crime.
The husband and wife duo of Le and Liu were believed to be supplying drugs to Soiles, who in turn distributed the drugs to drug traffickers in the Downtown Eastside.
As a result of this investigation, Soiles, Le, and Liu were arrested prior to the execution of the two CDSA search warrants.
The first warrant was executed in Burnaby in the 6200 block of McKay Avenue. Approximately $45,000 cash was located and seized.
We searched a storage locker and found:
- approximately 740 grams of cocaine
- 139 grams of heroin
- 1.021 kilograms of ketamine
A second search warrant was executed in Vancouver on Regiment Square and we seized:
- approximately 132 grams of cocaine
- 5.16 grams of heroin
- 41.12 grams of marijuana
- about $30,000 CDN
- a hand gun
INSPECTOR MIKE PORTEOUS
MAJOR CRIME SECTION
On the heels of Project Tyrant, a further analysis and identification of a more sophisticated group operating in the Downtown Eastside was targeted.
We determined through our analysis that this group were preying on the most vulnerable people in this community: the addicted, the ill, and women.
Further to that, in September 2010, at a Regional Homicide CompStat reduction strategy meeting, we identified this organized group as being viable targets for a proactive homicide reduction strategy.
In fact, one of the targets was on bail at the time for manslaughter.
While the targets in Tyrant and the targets in Rescue are separate and distinct, they do have a number of things in common – the most important of which is the victimization of the marginalized.
As such, they both fall under the umbrella of SisterWatch.
We hand-picked a team from various areas of the Vancouver Police Department, including Major Crime, Gangs and Drugs, Financial Crime (including FINTRAC) and the Beat Enforcement Team, to proactively target these individuals.
Of particular significance, as the case unfolded, we found that this group was a sophisticated criminal organization tied into organized crime in this province and abroad, who were operating a lucrative drug trafficking business in the Downtown Eastside.
For the first time in the history of the VPD, Criminal Organization charges have been laid.
This is very rare in the province of British Columbia.
The project successfully concluded with a series of Controlled Drug and Substances Act search warrants in Vancouver, New Westminster, and Surrey.
As a result of these warrants, we were able to seize:
- three handguns
- a large quantity of drugs
- luxury SUVs
- a 30,000 watch
- other related drug paraphernalia
More charges against individuals who prey on the vulnerable will be announced in the following weeks.