12 charged in major gang bust

RCMP Insp. Bob Simmonds, head of the Integrated Response to Organized Crime unit (IROC), addresses...

RCMP Insp. Bob Simmonds, head of the Integrated Response to Organized Crime unit (IROC), addresses the media, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, in Edmonton. Drugs and other paraphernalia seized during raids against the White Boy Posse are arrayed on the table. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Less than a year after police announced they had crippled the White Boy Posse - a Hells Angels affiliate gang - cops have charged a dozen Posse members with nearly 100 crimes.

Yesterday, police announced not only the arrest of 12 Posse members "near the top," according to EPS Insp. Kevin Galvin, but also the seizure of 28 firearms, about $500,000 in cocaine, more than $300,000 in cash, 3,000 ecstasy pills and a variety of stolen goods.

SEIZED

The items were seized from residences in St. Albert, and on Hooke Road, Caldwell Way and South Terwillegar Drive, as well as a business in the area of 127 Avenue and 127 Street.

Some of the weapons, police say, were recovered less than 24 hours after they were stolen in a break-and-enter.

"We are going to continue the pressure that they see here today," Alberta Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security Fred Lindsay said confidently to a crowd of reporters yesterday. "This is only a portion of it, it's a disruption, in fact."

He added that there are about a dozen crime gangs and up to 40 affiliate groups operating in Edmonton.

"They may even see this, to some extent, as the cost of doing business. But, the more busts that we have, we're going to take their profit margins away and we are going to get these guys the heck out of our province."

Lindsay also called for tougher legislation to keep offenders off the streets.

Behind him, several tables were filled with a variety of items seized from the arrested dozen, including firearms of all sorts, a crossbow, a Nazi flag and shirts bearing WBP logos.

Cops say the year-long multi-agency project - known as Integrated Response to Organized Crime - that spanned much of Alberta and some of B.C., was triggered by a shooting in June 2008 in downtown Edmonton.

Cops from EPS and RCMP ranks agreed that the bust would hit the organization - with an estimated 50 core members - where it hurt.

"The group of individuals that we have arrested and charged, to this point in time, are pretty significant players in the organized crime gang community in Edmonton," said RCMP Insp. Bob Simmonds, the officer in charge of IROC.

ECHOED

The comment echoed Insp. Galvin's comments in late March, 2008, when he announced that the arrest of 17 Posse members "completely handicapped" the organization, and that the Posse was "not functioning."

The early-morning shooting at the All-Happy Family Restaurant that set IROC into motion took place about 10 weeks later.

The 12 people arrested are between 16 and 49 years old and are facing mostly firearms, drug trafficking and stolen property-related charges.


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