Cops smother gang mayhem with arrests
Kent Spencer (The Province) | December 08, 2010
Gurmit Singh Dhak left behind twin daughters and a pregnant wife.
He also touched off the latest round of gang-related mayhem in the Lower Mainland when he was gunned down two months ago in a Metrotown parking lot.
The longtime gangster wasn’t a big muscle-bound stereotypical gangster. “He was a slight, small guy — but he was fearless,” says Doug Spencer, a longtime member of the Vancouver police gang squad. “Perhaps, he should have been more fearful.”
Dhak, 32, who had served a five-year sentence for manslaughter had been shot twice previously, once while at a birthday party at Quattro restaurant on Fourth in Vancouver and another time outside a strip club on East Broadway.
Spencer, who now works with Transit Police, says he first arrested Dhak when he was a Grade 8 student at Sir John Oliver Secondary School. “He was recruited in high school.”
Dhak became a high-profile member of a South Slope group called Billy’s Crew which, police say, did things such as trafficking in drugs and whatever else brought in money.
Soon after Dhak’s murder on Oct. 16, police started picking up intelligence from “a variety of avenues” that additional violence was in the works.
“Once there is a shooting, things come to the surface. There was a possibility of continued violence. Known players may have decided to participate,” said Sgt. Shinder Kirk of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
“Dhak’s murder was certainly part and parcel of the tension in the gang world. There was heightened anxiety,” he said.
Spencer says feuds have deep personal roots going back a long time.
“There is a long-standing hate for one another. They hunt each other in parking lots. It doesn’t go away. Dhak’s friends will go back, but they may not even be after the right people,” said Spencer.
Which is why dozens of front-line police and gang task-force personnel from all over the region began an intense suppression effort after Dhak was killed.
Police announced Monday that the gang tension has cooled following the arrests of six men and the seizure of several high-powered guns during the past few weeks.
“We believe we have prevented any number of violent acts,” said Sgt. Kirk.
The arrests included: Pedram Taromi Nejad Shirazi, 26; Christopher Henry Iser, 26; Derek James Stephen, 27; Christopher Jai Reddy, 25; Robert Joshua Achadinha, 27; and Glen Hartley Tetsuji Sheck, 29, who all have charges pending against them.
Several of the men are still in custody, while three others, who were not charged, have left the country.
Police seizures included three assault rifles, three semi-automatic pistols, night vision goggles and two vehicles with sophisticated hidden compartments.
“Every firearm removed is potentially an innocent life saved,” Kirk said.
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