Pubdate: Mon, 26 Nov 2001
Source: Burlington Post (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 Burlington Post
Author: Angela Blackburn


Halton Regional Police Chief Ean Algar used the example of increased gang 
activity in the region to justify asking the Police Services Board for more 

While the gangs may not be headquartered in Halton, that doesn't stop them 
from doing business here, the chief told the board.

"They don't just hit the border and say it's Halton. They come 
here...they're all here," said Algar.

But the chief noted that policing gang activity is just one of a myriad of 
pressures facing the service. Deputy Chief Gary Crowell echoed Algar's 
sentiments and said there are at least two Hell's Angels members in our 
area and Georgetown is home to one motorcycle club.

Although no clubhouses have yet to spring up in the region, Algar said a 
gang called the Crypts and another one called Oriental Blood Brothers 
(OBB), has members who frequent Halton nightclubs.

Several alleged members of the OBB gang were charged earlier this year in 
connection with the murder of a Burlington teenager. But it's not just 
biker gangs that are active here, according to police. Aside from 
"traditional organized crime groups and gangs, there are also outlaw 
motorcycle gangs and eastern European and Asian groups. A Russian gang, for 
example, has been involved in telemarketing schemes being conducted in the 
region, said the chief.

Algar said the policing of organized crime is time intensive and complex 
for police. It takes a lot of human resources and is often international in 
scope -- and it's costly.

This past year, Halton had 14 specially-trained investigators working on 
organized crime.

"These people are not rookies," said Algar. Meanwhile, the chief said their 
"opponents" are well-organized, have vast resources, follow no rules and 
often co-operate with each other. "The days of a few people riding around 
on bikes selling drugs are gone," said the chief.

And while the chief didn't necessarily link gangs or organized crime 
activity to a growing drug trade, he said a "proliferation" of drug 
cultivation operations is also putting pressure on local police. And police 
don't know who's behind it.

So far in 2001, 16 such operations have been raided in Halton -- three were 
raided in Oakville's Glen Abbey just last week.

In total, more than 4,000 marijuana plants with a street value of $4 
million were seized. The Glen Abbey seizures bumped that figure to $5.5 

"We're not getting up the ladder. I don't know where that money is going, 
but it's not going to charity," said Algar.

This type of operation is something police didn't expect, said the chief. 
The deputy chief said those behind the operations are getting more 
sophisticated every day.

Police used to make such raids dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, he said. Now 
they wear special suits and air filters to protect against chemicals used 
in the process.

"The THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content is incredible," said Crowell.

Police said one of the trio of operations raided last week in Oakville 
would have given the impression that a family lived in the home. A bicycle 
was often placed by the front door and toys were frequently scattered about.
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