Vancouver police have arrested three alleged gang members and “disrupted a murder conspiracy” in the city’s Downtown Eastside.
“This is a major break in the VPD’s ongoing efforts to reduce gang violence and protect vulnerable people who live in the Downtown Eastside,” VPD media relations officer Sgt. Steve Addison said in a press release.
“We will continue to target those who prey on the vulnerable and incite violence in the community.”
The department’s organized crime section launched Project Thunder last month, after learning that rival gang members were allegedly plotting to kill a known Downtown Eastside drug dealer.
According to police, the alleged conspiracy involved members of the Redd Alert and Independent Soldiers gangs, which are active in drugs, weapons and violence in the neighbourhood.
Brian Kiraly-Miller,26, of Vancouver, and Stefan Janic, 25, of New Westminster, were arrested Saturday night in Burnaby by the VPD’s emergency response team. A third suspect, 26-year-old Cameron Oppenheim, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Vancouver.
All three are charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Oppenheim is also under investigation for his alleged role in a West End home invasion earlier this month.
In recent months, Vancouver police have raised concerns about the escalating amount of violence in the Downtown Eastside.
Last month, three people were injured in targeted shootings in the span of 15 hours. Three people were subsequently arrested and are facing various charges including attempted murder and unlawfully discharging a firearm.
The department says extra officers were deployed throughout the neighbourhood and a number of investigations were launched targeting organized crime groups.
“These arrests have made the Downtown Eastside a safer place, and should serve as a warning to other intent on committing violence in our city,” Addison said. “We are still concerned about the proliferation of gun violence and brazen public shootings that have occurred in the Downtown Eastside.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on disrupting criminals that perpetuate violence in the neighbourhood.”