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Kang gang member gets a year in jail

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Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Reg Harris noted that Ranbir Kang’s assistance to a violent drug gang warranted time in jail even if his actions were not violent.

One of the Kang family’s homes in East Vancouver. Francis Georgian / PNG

A member of the Kang criminal organization has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to helping the gang in the drug trade by renting stash houses.

Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Reg Harris noted that Ranbir Kang’s assistance to a violent drug gang warranted time in jail even if his actions were not violent.

“The spread of violence and drugs by organized groups must be stopped. A step in this direction is to impose a sentence indicating that those who aid criminal organizations will receive harsh penalties,” Harris said in a written ruling released April 1.

Kang, 49, was charged after a Vancouver Police-led investigation dubbed Project Territory targeted the gang beginning in 2017.

Kang’s younger cousins Sameet and Gary were also arrested, along with several others who remain before the courts.

During the investigation, Ranbir Kang was captured on wiretaps “sourcing locations, obtaining approval to rent, instructing on how to avoid detection and discussing steps he had taken to create the appearance of occupancy,” Harris said.

Kang also “provided advice on how a gang member could enter a suite to avoid police detection,” Harris noted.

“He located rental properties, he met property owners, he negotiated leases and he dealt with problems. His involvement occurred over a number of months and his actions cannot be described as the impulsive behaviour of a naïve individual.”

Harris rejected a defence argument that Kang was simply assisting his cousins out of family obligation and had no idea the suites were being used for criminal activities.

Ranbir Kang would have known that his cousins were involved in something nefarious once Randy was shot to death in Surrey in November 2017, Harris said.

And Ranbir’s comments on some of the wiretaps hinted that he was directly involved in the drug business, the judge said.

Harris described the Kang group as being controlled by Ranbir Kang’s much younger cousins Sameet and Gary.

“The gang’s primary enterprise involved the packaging and distribution of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine,” Harris wrote.

Harris said the Kangs stored and mixed their drugs in stash houses, before distributing them across the Lower Mainland, to Vancouver Island, and to the B.C. Interior.

“Violence is a tool typically used by those involved in the drug business. The gang was not immune to having violence perpetrated against them. Specifically, Randy Kang was murdered and Jitesh Vagh, a high-level member, was stabbed,” Harris said.

He said the organization needed the suites that Ranbir Kang rented as “a necessary component to the gang’s operation and “to conceal members from the police and rival gangs.”

“The stash houses were typically apartment suites and they were used for the storing and mixing of drugs. Safe houses were suites that were occupied by members of the gang.”

Harris said gang members didn’t want to be connected to the rentals so needed “a trusted intermediary.”

The gang’s “previous intermediary had been arrested and incarcerated in the United States,” Harris said, so they needed a replacement.

He didn’t name the arrested associate, but Postmedia earlier revealed that former Vancouver realtor Omid Mashinchi leased properties for the Kangs and other gangs. Mashinchi was convicted in Boston last year of money laundering.

“(Ranbir) Kang presented as an ideal replacement. He was trusted, he was well-spoken and he was knowledgeable. In his capacity as an intermediary, Mr. Kang rented five or six locations for the gang,” Harris said. “The monthly cost was $28,355 with Mr. Kang charging an additional $4,000 per month.”

Harris said that “Kang’s conduct requires denunciation.”

“His actions contributed to the illegal enterprise of packaging and distributing drugs. The media, social science and crime reports all acknowledge the irrefutable harm caused by criminal organizations,” Harris said. “As such, through the sentence imposed this court must express society’s condemnation of Mr. Kang’s conduct.”

kbolan@postmedia.com

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