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Vancouver police arrest five violent Zone 43 gangsters from Montreal

Postmedia revealed last year that the Zone 43 gang had moved into Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and was working with the Wolfpack Gang. Learn more

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A Vancouver police investigation targeting the violent Montreal gang Zone 43 has resulted in five arrests and the seizures of firearms, 24 kilos of illicit drugs, and $150,000 in cash.

Postmedia News revealed a year ago that Zone 43 had moved into Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and was working with the Wolfpack Gang alliance to sell drugs to vulnerable users in the community.

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The Quebec gang has been involved in a violent conflict in Montreal with a rival group called the Profit Boys.

Vancouver Police Insp. Phil Heard said Tuesday that the force began an investigation into Zone 43 last year, which culminated with five searches, in Vancouver and Burnaby, on May 14.

The five men arrested have been released as the investigation, called Project Talon, continues, Heard told reporters as he stood in front of some of the seized drugs and cash.

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VPD Inspector Phil Heard spoke to media about seized drugs, cash, and firearms at VPD Property Office in Vancouver, BC, June 11, 2024. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

The seized drugs were “seven kilograms of fentanyl, 11 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine and four kilograms of cutting agents, including toxic benzodiazepines,” Heard said. “Investigators also seized two handguns and over $150,000 in cash.”

Heard said the VPD is “committed to combatting organized crime groups operating in our community, especially those from other jurisdictions that seek to establish operations in Vancouver and profit from the sale of toxic drugs.”

“These individuals and other persons identified during the course of the investigation will have numerous charges recommended against them once the investigation is complete,” Heard said, adding that Zone 43 remains active in the Lower Mainland.

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He confirmed the gang continues to have a relationship with the Wolfpack, which was formed in B.C. in 2011 among some Hells Angels, some Red Scorpion gangsters and some Independent Soldiers.

The Wolfpack has now expanded its reach globally.

Heard said Zone 43 gangsters “pose a very significant risk to the public. They’re involved in a well-documented conflict ongoing in the province of Quebec with a rival group.”

Vancouver police worked with both the Quebec provincial police and Montreal police on the investigation.

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A Vancouver police investigation targeting the violent Montreal gang Zone 43 has resulted in five arrests, the seizure of 24 kilos of illicit drugs and firearms, and $150,000 in cash. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

“We’ve worked together to bring individuals here that were wanted by other agencies and repatriate them to those locations,” he said.

Heard said that it’s a VPD priority to fight organized crime groups that move into the province from elsewhere in Canada.

“Those crime groups that move into B.C. present a unique threat because of the fact that they’re likely going to destabilize the region, they’re going to be looking to take over drug lines, drug turf, and that ultimately, oftentimes, in our experience, will lead to conflict and acts of violence,” he said. “So it’s a super high priority for us.”

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The fentanyl packages on display Tuesday were various different colours. A VPD drug expert said the colouring could be because different dealers want users to know their brand. Likewise, seized cocaine bricks displayed had various markings like Yeti or Monster.

The drug expert said there was no determination yet on whether the crystalized meth shown Tuesday was produced in Canada or had been smuggled in from Mexico.

Zone 43 had been linked to a shooting in June 2023, sources told Postmedia at the time.

Maria Mourani, a criminologist who has studied Montreal street gangs, said earlier that it was unusual that Zone 43 would move into Vancouver, though members have been involved in prostitution in several Canadian cities.

Zone 43 is aligned with the Bloods, Mourani said, referring to the original Los Angeles street gang founded in 1969.

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VPD Inspector Phil Heard spoke to media about seized drugs, cash, and firearms at VPD Property Office in Vancouver, BC, June 11, 2024. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG

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