A multi-ethnic street gang known as the Independent Soldiers — notorious for its trade in commercial cocaine and firearms in British Columbia — now has members in Alberta’s capital, says the Edmonton police gang unit.
Const. Kevin Berge said yesterday the Vancouver-based gang, whose members wear hip-hop style red and black clothing, has slowly moved into Kelowna and Calgary, and now police are finding members in Edmonton.
Several reports out of Vancouver link the Independent Soldiers to a number of shootings involving rivalries with other gangs in that city.
“We know for sure we do have members (in Edmonton), but we don’t know how many members or associates are here,” Berge said in a news conference.
Berge says Independent soldiers, who have ties to the Hells Angels, is now only a small gang in Edmonton.
The gang, however, could thrive and grow thanks to Alberta’s booming economy and a growing demand for cocaine, Berge said.
There are currently 18 to 20 known street gangs in Edmonton.
Police last week seized more than $27,000 worth in street value of cocaine, a loaded AR-15 assault rifle only used by police and the military, a 9mm handgun, body armour, and a number of Independent
Soldier-labelled clothing from a home on 156 Avenue and 44 Street after conducting a search warrant. Three alleged members, who investigators believe lived in the home, were not around at the time of the search, police said.
Police also raided a home on Roland Road over the weekend and seized 28 oxycontin pills, ammunition and more Independent Soldier-labelled clothing.