Organized crime crackdown: Anti-gang operation nets guns, drugs, cash on Vancouver Island

Organized crime crackdown: Anti-gang operation nets guns, drugs, cash on Vancouver Island
Evidence photos show the wide-ranging number of illicit guns and drugs seized in a massive province-wide crackdown on gang activity in early 2023. (Handout)

Guns, drugs, and stacks of cash were just some of the items confiscated as Vancouver Island authorities took a major swing at organized crime earlier this year, according to B.C.’s anti-gang task force.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) teamed up with local law enforcement agencies across the province, including the RCMP in Nanaimo and Campbell River as well as Victoria Police Department, to target violent crime perpetrated by those “who pose a significant threat to public safety,” CFSEU-BC said in a news release.

The multi-week operation took place in the first quarter of 2023 and focused on multiple “high-risk” hot spots on Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and northern B.C., identified using current intelligence and historical trends, according to the organization.

It resulted in the seizure of approximately two kilograms of illicit drugs, five firearms, assorted ammunition, body armour, around $70,000 CAD, 80 various weapons, and other unspecified items.


More than 260 case files were generated in the cities involved and authorities hope they’ll lead to additional charges and arrests linked to ongoing investigations. The sweeping operation also turned up crucial information linked to multiple high-level criminal organizations as well as people who were referred to the task force’s Gang Intervention and Exiting Team.

“This joint operation is a perfect example of how collaboration can lead to significant disruptions to organized crime groups,” said Supt. Jim Elliott, Acting Deputy Criminal Operations Officer for BC RCMP.

CFSEU-BC said as summer nears, British Columbians can expect to see more activity from its Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) officers, who will be cracking down even more on people and places linked to gang activity, such as events organized by outlaw biker gangs and their associates that are linked to drugs and violence.

Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence

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