A North Vancouver man with alleged gang connections has been charged in the murder of Red Scorpions gangster Jonathan Bacon, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Kelowna in October 2011.
Jason Thomas McBride, 37, has been charged - along with two other men - with the first-degree murder of Bacon and the attempted murder of three of his associates. Also charged with murder in the case are Jujhur Khun-Khun, 25, of Surrey, and Michael Kerry Hunter Jones, 25, of Gibsons.
B.C.'s Combined Forces Specialized Enforcement Unit, the police unit that targets gang activity, made the announcement of the arrests Monday afternoon.
Officers said Monday the arrests of the three men over the weekend marked the culmination of 18 months of investigation and work by more than 100 officers on the case dubbed E-Nitrogen.
The three accused men, including McBride, were arrested Friday after police in multiple jurisdictions executed six simultaneous search warrants.
McBride, who recently moved to Toronto, was arrested there and brought back to B.C. by the RCMP.
Jones and Khun-Khun - who recently survived his own targeted shooting - were arrested in the Lower Mainland.
Police had been under pressure to make arrests in the case, which formed part of what Chief Supt. Dan Malo of the combined forces unit described as a "cascade of violence" of retaliatory shootings among gang members.
Bacon was shot and killed after a group of assailants opened fire at the occupants of a white Porsche Cayenne, parked at the entrance of a downtown Kelowna hotel on Oct. 14, 2011 in a scene Malo said could have been mistaken for a "bad action movie."
One of those with Bacon that day, Leah Hadden-Watts, was rendered a paraplegic as a result of her injuries. Others who narrowly avoided being killed were Larry Amero, James Riach and Lyndsey Black.
Malo said at a press conference Monday that Bacon, Amero and Riach were in Kelowna that weekend as part of a recently formed criminal alliance known as the "Wolf Pack." All had previous gang associations. Bacon was part of the Red Scorpions, Amero was a Hells Angel and Riach was a member of the Independent Soldiers, said Malo.
Malo refused to confirm which gangs the arrested men belong to, noting they have been associated with several organized crime groups.
Wayne Rideout, assistant commissioner of the RCMP, called the arrests Friday an "important day for law enforcement," noting, "organized crime investigations are highly complex."
All three men arrested have been held in custody. McBride and Jones appeared in Surrey provincial court Monday. Their next appearance is set for March 21.
Matthew Nathanson, defence lawyer for McBride, could not be reached for comment by press time.
At the police press conference Monday, Malo pointed to the murder of Gurmit Dhak in Burnaby in October 2010 as the "flashpoint" for the violence that continued with the Bacon murder.
McBride has a criminal record, including a two-year jail sentence and a 10-year firearms ban handed down in 2001 for a string of robberies, plus jail sentences for break and enters in both Vancouver and Victoria. McBride's possible association with gangs and criminal violence was noted last year when a provincial court judge gave a ruling on weapons offences against another man, Christopher Iser.
Iser was charged after a .4 Ruger semi-automatic pistol loaded with eight rounds was discovered at a hut in Kensington Park where a group of men were meeting. Judge Harbans Dhillon noted McBride, who was among the group meeting in the park while they were under police surveillance, was "of particular interest to police because of his known connection and close association with Dhak."
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