‘Head-shaving’ DTES dealers arrested
A group of alleged drug dealers known for “head-shaving” intimidation tactics have been arrested by Vancouver police — with their base of operations sold off for $850,000 to fund provincial crime-reduction programs.
Sgt. Randy Fincham said on Wednesday more than $350,000 in drugs and cash were seized from the Backpackers Inn at the 600-block of Alexander Street in an investigation dubbed Project Twizzler dating back to September 2011.
“We believe that these drug dealers were responsible for various head-shaving incidents in the Downtown Eastside and they were using threats and intimidation to convince these people to sell the drugs for them,” he said.
Fincham said the head shavings were shaming tactics used to target drug debts or to urge lower-level dealers to sell drugs.
Charged are Dennis George Knibbs, 38, Randolph Ertis Aubrin Brown, 36, Mark Sean Chung, 33, and Shawn Anthony Brown, 41. All face charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Police said the men are well-known to them.
Knibbs was charged with second-degree murder after the 2005 shooting of a 23-year-old at a Dunlevy Street residence.
According to court documents, Knibbs was convicted by jury in 2007 of killing a drug dealer who fatally shot his cousin. He appealed — a new trial was ordered — and he was acquitted by a judge two years later, according to the courts.
Fincham said police are investigating to determine if more charges would be laid. The owner of the Backpackers Inn had the building seized and sold under the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Act, but has not been charged.
Police said they also hope to seize another apartment building and six high-end vehicles linked to criminal proceeds.