SURREY, B.C. – Mounties say a man suspected in the gangland slayings of six men in a Surrey apartment building two years ago is back on Canadian soil and behind bars.
B.C.’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Monday that 24-year-old Quang Vinh Thang Le, also known as Michael Le, was returned to Canada from the Philippines over the weekend.
Police said Philippino investigators handed Le over to Canadian police on Saturday. He made a brief appearance in Surrey Provincial Court on Monday.
Le was arrested in the Philippines earlier this month as he arrived in Manila from his native Vietnam, where he fled after the murders.
“This arrest is an example of how law enforcement works together internationally,” the RCMP said in a statement.
“If not for the support and co-operation and hard work of Philippines officials from the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation Mr. Le would still be eluding capture.”
Supt. John Robin of IHIT thanked Interpol and the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines for their co-operation.
Police have described Le, a Canadian citizen, as one of the leaders and original founders of the Red Scorpions gang.
He faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of 21-year-old Cory Lal, one of the six men found slain in the October 2007.
Two of the victims, Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan, were innocent victims in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mohan, 22, lived in the apartment building and police have said they believe he was dragged into the apartment by the killers simply because he crossed their paths en route to the crime scene. Schellenberg, 55, was making his rounds doing routine fireplace maintenance.
Edward Narong, 22, Corey Lal, 21, his 26-year-old brother Michael and Ryan Bartolomeo, 19, were also found dead inside the apartment. Police have said in the past that the four have ties to organized crime.
In April, 27-year-old Dennis Karbovanec quietly pleaded guilty in a Vancouver courtroom to three counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.
Later that day, three other men were arrested and charged in the murders.
Jamie Bacon, 24, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, while Matthew Johnston, 24, and Cody Haevischer, 24, each face six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy.
In May, charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder were approved against Le, police have said.
The arrests appeared to staunch a bloody gang war that has seen several brazen daylight shootouts and dozens of deaths since the beginning of the year, including a young mother found shot to death behind the wheel of her car with her toddler in a car seat behind her.
Police say the investigations into the six murders are active and other charges are expected.