VPD links drug, gun bust and arrests to Metro Vancouver shootings

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VPD Supt. Mike Porteous spoke about Project Tairiff Wednesday morning

Nijjar, Heer and Samra are from Vancouver, while Dhillon is from Richmond.

The group was believed to be in conflict with other crimes groups involved in drug-trafficking and criminal activity throughout Metro Vancouver.

Police have seized more than two kilograms of heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues as part of a long-term investigation into gang activity in the Vancouver area. "Over the course of the investigation, we obtained substantial evidence of trafficking of firearms, fentanyl, and other illicit opioids by this group".

And while he couldn't give a specific total dollar amount, Porteous said he was talking "in the millions". "It's hard to quantify the amount of street-level value of this level of fentanyl".

Asked about the seemingly ongoing gang violence, Porteous said it's a result of competition for business in the drug trade. "It's a large-scale seizure as far as fentanyl goes and it's a significant seizure relative to mitigating the opioid crisis".

The five-month investigation, named "Project Tariff", also led to the seizure of eight firearms, including several semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

Four alleged Lower Mainland gang members have been charged with various drug trafficking and firearms-related offences.

Jagraj Mushki Nijjar, 23, Jaskaran Singh Heer, 22, and Harjot Singh Samra, 21, all of Vancouver were arrested and are facing various charges including possession of a non-restricted firearm, possession of a loaded restricted firearm and possession of a firearm while prohibited.

Then on August 10, Harjot Singh Samra, 21, of Vancouver, was arrested and charged with firearms trafficking and drug trafficking along with Gary Gurpreet Dhillon, 25, of Richmond, who faces charges of possession of proceeds of crime and drug trafficking.

"There have been a significant amount of very risky weapons taken off the street", said Porteous.

Project Tariff began with a March 6 incident in which police had surrounded a house in southeast Vancouver and individuals inside the house began firing weapons. "They are still being analysed at length and we're working with our partner agencies as to links to various shootings, but it stands to reason that various shootings across the region could be related to these people", Porteous said.

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