Abbotsford Police say they have caused a “major disruption” to the drug trade that has fueled the Townline Hill gang conflict, with the arrests of three men last Thursday.
Herman Sidhu, 25, has been charged with 13 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, while Bhavdeep Deol, 26, has been charged with two counts of the same offence. The two were previously sentenced for assaulting a man outside an Abbotsford pub in 2010.
A third man, 27-year-old David Karl Elliott, has been charged with one count of drug trafficking.
The trio were arrested Thursday afternoon after drug search warrants were executed at the Deol home in the 30600 block of Curlew Drive and at the Sidhu residence in the 3500 block of Summit Drive.
Const. Paul Walker said police seized from the two homes two pounds of MDMA (ecstasy), 26 ounces of cocaine and a small amount of heroin. The drugs had an estimated street value of $70,000.
They also seized drug paraphernalia, $6,000 cash and two vehicles, Walker said.
Walker described the men who have been charged as “medium- to high-level” traffickers who allegedly would have had access to “large quantities” of drugs.
He said a “variety of resources” were used in the investigation over the last couple of months, leading to the arrests on Thursday by members of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) emergency response team and the crime reduction unit.
Elliott and Sidhu were apprehended in the Highstreet shopping centre parking lot, while Deol was arrested at the home on Curlew Drive.
Walker said the men are allegedly involved in the ongoing Townline Hill conflict, which has seen two groups of young men battling for drug turf for well over a year. The dispute has included several drive-by shootings and two killings.
Harwin Baringh, 18, was shot to death in October 2014 while in an SUV on Sparrow Drive.
Ping Shun Ao, 74, died on Sept. 2 of this year when he was struck by a stray bullet intended for a person living in the home next door to him on Promontory Court.
Charges have not yet been laid in either murder.
Deol and Sidhu both have prior criminal records. They served conditional sentences of 12 months and nine months, respectively, in 2012 after each pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm.
They and a third man, Gurparit Gill, who was given a four-year jail term for aggravated assault, randomly attacked a 24-year-old man as he left Finnegan’s Pub on King Road on Aug. 22, 2010.
The victim was punched, kicked and stabbed three times in the arms and torso. He recovered in hospital.
The assailants left the scene and were stopped by police a short distance away. Sidhu, who was driving the vehicle, was charged with failure to provide a breath sample at the scene, but later pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.
According to the provincial court database, Deol has another prior conviction for assault causing bodily harm for an incident in 2007 for which he received one year of probation. According to court documents, Sidhu was also present at that assault, when Deol used a taser to attack the victim.
Elliott does not have any prior convictions, according to the provincial court database.
Meanwhile, Walker said police are continuing to monitor areas of west Abbotsford for criminal activity. A total of eight video surveillance cameras are in place in the area running west to east from Mt. Lehman Road to Clearbrook Road and south to north from Maclure to Downes.
He said the cameras are pointed to public spaces, such as roadways, and are used “for monitoring and ensuring that neighbourhoods are kept safe.”
Walker said local citizens have given their “overwhelming support” for use of the cameras.
Members of both the APD’s and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s gang enforcement teams will continue to operate in the Townline Hill and other areas of Abbotsford, he said.
Police Chief Bob Rich said the APD continues to take a “proactive approach” to combatting the issue.
“The APD will continue to deal with the ongoing conflict and threat to public safety as a top priority. We will not stop until public safety is restored,” he said.
Walker said police are continuing to encourage residents to report suspicious activity by calling 911 or the APD non-emergency line at 604-859-5225 or texting abbypd (222973).
People with information about gang activity and other criminal behaviour should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the APD Tip Line at 604-864-4777. Both lines allow callers to provide information anonymously.