Gang officers in Vancouver have “cut the heart out” of a fledgling street-level gang that deals crack in the Downtown Eastside by arresting its leader and expelling him from the province, police said yesterday.
Stephen Philip King, 34, the alleged leader of the Game Tight Soldiers (GTS), a drug-dealing low-level street gang, was arrested and returned to Barrie, Ont. Wednesday morning. King is wanted in Ontario for a break and entry in 2000.
“We seized an opportunity,” said VPD Insp. Dean Robinson, “to strike early and effectively to cripple a young and developing gang, by culling the leader out of the herd and sending him home to face prosecution.”
Robinson said King’s gang, composed of about 10 locals in their late teens and early 20s, began to entrench themselves in the drug trade in the Downtown Eastside in late 2007. The group appeared on police’s radar in November.
He said members wear ball caps and T-shirts emblazoned with GTS. Others, like King, have the gang’s initials tattooed on the back of their hands.
King, Robinson said, had come into contact with police 54 times, including one incident when he and four others were found wearing body armour.
The VPD hope King’s arrest will dissuade the younger members and will lead to the dissolution of the group.
Officers even took the unusual step of filming King’s trip to Vancouver International Airport Wednesday morning.
The video shows King dressed in a Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Garnett jersey, hobbling through the airport in handcuffs and leg-irons.