Bacon brothers chose gang lifestyle for easy money, says author

Jonathan Bacon - File photo
Jonathan Bacon
— image credit: File photo

One thing to be learned from the history of the Bacon brothers is that  gangsters can come in any form, says the author of a new book about the infamous siblings.

Jerry Langton (photo below), author of The Notorious Bacon Brothers: Inside Gang Warfare on Vancouver Streets, said that's one of the things that inspired him to pen the book. In a recent interview with The News, he said that he was interested in delving into the background of a family that appeared to have stable middle-class roots.

The three brothers – Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie – grew up in Abbotsford and later moved to Surrey.

Their parents had stable jobs, the boys were involved in sports, and there is no apparent history of family dysfunction or abuse.

Rather than being drawn to organized crime due to their circumstances, they appear to have chosen the lifestyle because of its easy money, Langton said.

He said Jonathan, the eldest of the brothers and considered the "smart one," led the way for the other two.

He was the "deal maker" who was almost "statesmanlike" in his ability to keep people together, while Jarrod and Jamie played the "deputy or lieutenant role," Langton said.

Jonathan began by selling drugs, and was hooked by the glamour of what such quick money could buy. His brothers saw him getting away with his crimes, and were also enticed by the lifestyle, Langton said.

"When you're in a gang in your teens or early 20s, instead of fixing up an old car, you're driving an Escalade … Nobody wants to be an average Joe anymore; they want to be someone special."

The brothers became immersed in the Red Scorpions gang, which was embroiled in a violent and bloody war for control of the drug trade in the Lower Mainland.

The number of gang-related murders and drive-by shootings – some spilling into city streets – resulted in Abbotsford being dubbed "the murder capital of Canada" in 2008 and 2009.

The Bacon brothers' dominance in the drug trade ended with the fatal shooting of Jonathan in Kelowna in August 2011, a 12-year prison sentence for Jarrod on drug conspiracy charges in 2012, and Jamie's conviction on weapons offences. Jamie also faces murder charges related to the 2007 fatal shootings of six people in a Surrey apartment tower.

Although Langton's book focuses on the Bacon brothers, it encompasses the B.C. drug trade as a whole, including the current wars between the Hells Angels, Independent Soldiers, and Red Scorpions on one side, and the Dhaks, Duhres and UN Gang on the other.

Langton said the current outbreak of violence and deaths is indicative of two things – a show of strength as gangs battle for control of the lucrative Lower Mainland drug trade, and retaliation for the murders of key players, such as Gurmit Dhak in 2010 and Jonathan Bacon.

"You're going to keep seeing violence in B.C. until one side becomes more dominant," Langton predicts.

He brushed aside the notion that his latest book sensationalizes gangsters and their lifestyles.

"If anything, I'm not glorifying it; I'm pointing out how horrible it is."

Langton, an editor for the Toronto Star, is the author of several other true-crime books, including the bestsellers Gangland: The Rise of the Mexican Cartels from El Paso to Vancouver, and Fallen Angel: The Unlikely Rise of Walter Stadnick in the Canadian Hells Angels.

The Notorious Bacon Brothers is now available in local bookstores.

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