The United Nations gang hunted its Bacon brother rivals for more than a year, the bounty reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars as the brothers proved elusive and the drug war descended into people being executed in cars and even outside a babysitter's home.
Five men – Yong Sung John Lee, Dilun Heng, Barzan Tilli-Choli, Karwan Ahmet Saed, and Ion Kroitoru – pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday to conspiracy to commit murder. The Crown will not proceed with charges of murder and attempted murder against the UN members as a result.
After the pleas were entered, the Crown read an agreed statement of facts that had all the feel of the television gangland drama, "The Wire," given the numerous references to intercepted messages and wiretaps.
The agreed statement of facts said that between January 2006 and May 2008 Clayton Roueche was a senior leader of the UN. He was arrested in May 2008 in the United States and is serving a 30-year sentence for his role in a massive cross-border drug smuggling scheme.
The agreed statement of facts said the UN drug dealing operation was disrupted by the Bacon Red Scorpions group in about 2006. It said Mr. Roueche was shot at by one of the brothers' associates in 2007 and turned to an outside party to strike back at the three brothers, Jonathan, Jarrod, and Jamie, as well as their associates.
The amount for killing Jonathan Bacon started at $15,000 and reached $200,000. Jarrod went to $100,000, while Jamie reached $300,000.
But the person hired to do the killings could not carry them out, leading to continuing frustration for Mr. Roueche, according to the agreed statement of facts. The person hired to carry out the shootings said in one of the intercepted messages: "I never seen guys that hide like this."
Mr. Roueche said the person had numerous opportunities to follow through on the hits but never did, according to the agreed statement of facts.
The court document said Duane Meyer, a UN member, was shot to death outside his babysitter's home in Abbotsford on May 8, 2008, at 10:30 p.m. That sparked attempts by the UN to strike back against the Bacon Red Scorpions group almost immediately. The statement of facts detailed the efforts throughout the day to scout for targets.
At 9:44 p.m., nearly 24 hours after Mr. Meyer's shooting, a Porsche believed to be driven by one of the Bacons was shot at. However, stereo installer Jonathan Barber was actually behind the wheel, having taken possession so he could install a new set of speakers. He was killed instantly. His girlfriend, Vicky King, who was driving behind him, was wounded.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie would not elaborate on the decision to stay the more serious murder charges, saying only that, "The evidence that will be put forward in the proceeding does not establish that any of these accused were directly involved in the death of Mr. Barber, or the attempted murder of Ms. King."
Earlier this year, UN gang member Daniel Russell pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his part in the death of Barber. He also pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, minus time served.
Jamie Bacon is facing trial for conspiracy to commit murder in relation to a case known as the "Surrey Six" murders in October 2007, a separate case that resulted in the death of six people, including two innocent bystanders.
Jarrod is serving a 12-year sentence on drug trafficking charges.
Jonathan was fatally shot in Kelowna in 2011.
Supt. Kevin Hackett of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Monday's pleas are "vital to remove the illusion of invincibility these individuals use to intimidate others and expand their violence and illegal operations."
"These charges bring well known gang members before the Courts to face justice and send a vital message to all criminals and perspective gang members that they will be held accountable for their actions," his statement read.
With files from The Canadian Press