Indo-Canadian organized crime

Indo-Canadian organized crime groups are based in Canada and predominantly of Indian origin. Collectively, these groups are the third major homegrown organized crime problem in Canada, next to the outlaw motorcycle clubs and Native American criminal organizations. Annual police report ranked them third in terms of sophistication and strength in British Columbia, only behind the aforementioned biker gangs and Asian criminal organizations such as the Triads and Vietnamese drug clans.[1]

Indo-Canadian organized crime
Founding locationBritish Columbia
Years active1990s–present
TerritoryPunjab, India, Canada (mainly in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta), California, New Jersey, New York
EthnicityMostly Indian Punjabi
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, weapon trafficking, robbery, contract killing, fraud, money laundering, chop shop, counterfeiting, extortion, illegal gambling, and murder


Many of the young men involved today come from second and third-generation backgrounds. These individuals were involved in petty street crimes, but older and more calculating criminals from the community quickly saw opportunities to make a profit of the situation. Often using clan-based connections in their homeland, mainly in the rural parts of the Punjab, organized criminals from there were able to build criminal empires making use of young street gangs.[1] Unfortunately Punjabi-Canadian gang violence is still rising. Statistics record that from 2006 to 2014, 34 South Asians (disproportionately Punjabi) had been murdered by gang violence making up for 21.3% of gang deaths in British Columbia.[2]

Rivals post rap songs advocating murder. An young men from Surrey, alleged to have to have committed two murders, posted an online tribute to the murdered Gavinder Grewal, the slain founder of the Brothers Keepers gang.[3] Tyrel Nguyen Quesnelle, using his rapper nome de guerre T-Sav, boosted in his rap song My Life that he was willing to both kill and die for Grewal.[3] Quesnelle rapped in his song: "They took GG from us, realest trapper ever living. I swear we riding out for you till they all ain't living. I caught my first body when you was in school...Brothers Keepers, that's a life contract, little nigga."[3] The police in the Lower Mainland maintain that songs glorying violence and criminality while boasting about drug dealing and murder are increasing tensions between gangs.[3]

The Brothers Keepers are not the only gang threatening their enemies musically. In the fall of 2019 , after he was released from a jail, the rapper Lolo Lanski posted his song Dedman to SoundCloud and YouTube.[3] As of 24 January 2020, the song had 80,000 downloads.[3] The song which denounces the Brother Keepers and describes how Grewal was shot inside his penthouse home in 2017.[3] The lyrics of Dedman admiringly declare that the killer “sent lead to his head” and the assassination was “trying to put a BK [Brother's Keeper] on TV."[3] In a bizarre note, Dedman includes an audio excerpt of the 911 call made by Grewal’s brother Manbir after he found his brother's corpse.[3] The use of rap in the present underworld conflict between the Brothers Keepers vs. both the Kang group and the United Nations gang is new, but police in B.C. have stated they have witnessed an overlap between rap and the underworld subculture before.[3]


The main trade of the Punjabi-Canadian crime groups is the trafficking of heroin. Punjabi-Canadian crime bosses use their family connections in the Punjab to bring in the drug from the "Golden Crescent" nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Punjabi-Canadian crime groups widened the reach of their activities and delved into other crimes such as extortion, kidnapping, money laundering and above all contract killing.[4] Organized gangs from the community have infiltrated the local transportation business, setting up connections with Mexican drug cartels and using truck drivers to smuggle cocaine and hashish from Mexico into the United States and Canada.[5] The profits of drug dealing allows for contract killing with the high rates of $50,000–100,000 in Canada due to the high profits earned.


Most Indo-Canadian gangs in Ontario and Alberta are either clans controlled by one family with friends and relatives associated with the group, small groups involved in petty crimes or networks of truck drivers involved in cross-border drug smuggling. The largest organized Indo-Canadian gang presence is in British Columbia.

The largest gangs are:

  • Dhak-Duhre: United Nations coalition although most of the original leaders such as Sandip Duhre, Sukh Dhak and Gurmit Dhak have been killed. It is now believed to be decentralized, but the associates of the leaders are still believed to control different crime groups and keep in contact with each other. The Dhak-Duhre coalition is known to have developed strong ties with the UN and waged a war against the Wolf Pack, a gang composed of various factions of the Independent Soldiers, Red Scorpions and Hell's Angels led by the Bacon brothers.
  • Punjabi Mafia: Currently controlled by the Johal Family. Other parts of it are considered to be mostly dismantled with only a few former factions of the Buttar Family still operating. The Punjabi Mafia was originally founded by Ranjit Cheema, the Dosanjh Brothers and Robbie Kandola later controlled by Bindy Johal before his death.
  • Independent Soldiers: Currently has two factions, one consisting mostly Caucasians and another consistently mostly of Punjabis and led by the Adiwal brothers. Sikh-Canadians make up most of the gang along with a small number of Fijians and Hindus, although recently there has been a significant increase of Caucasians in the gang who have risen up through the ranks. This organization is part of the Wolf Pack and was founded by Jimsher Dosanjh
  • Sanghera Crime Group: Founded by Uddham Sanghera, this gang is believed to be responsible for over 100 shootings in the South Slope Gang War in Vancouver against the Malhi-Buttar Coalition. The Vancouver Police Department has targeted and for the most part been able to capture members of the group. The courts have sentenced members of the Sanghera family to prison terms although it is believed that the remnants of the organization are still active
  • Malhi-Buttar Coalition: This coalition was made up of two groups, one led by T.J Malhi and based in Richmond and the other led by the Buttar brothers (Kelly, Bal and Manny Buttar) based in South Vancouver. This group is now defunct after the deaths of most of its senior leadership and imprisonment of most of its members. This organization was the other group involved in the South Slope Gang War against the Sanghera crime group.
  • Brothers Keepers: Founded by Gavin Grewal with most of its members and leadership formerly aligned with the Red Scorpions. This organization is active mainly in Metro Vancouver but is believed to have made inroads into the Interior of British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Alberta and Ontario.[6] The Brothers Keepers are led by the Grewal/Dhaliwal Crime Group
  • Kang Crime Group: Formerly a part of the Brothers Keepers organization but due to differences between members, had splintered and formed a new organization. The Kang Crime Group is known to be in a war with the Brothers Keepers for control of territory in Metro Vancouver. This organization is thought to be based in Burnaby, British Columbia but its presence is thought to extend throughout the Lower Mainland area.
  • Chahil Crime Group: Aligned with the Red Scorpions, this organization is one of two groups waging war in the Townline Hill area of Abbotsford, British Columbia
  • Grewal/Dhaliwal Crime Group: One of two groups involved with the gang war of the Townline Hill area of Abbotsford, British Columbia


  1. ^ a b Kim Bolan (Oct 1, 2005). "Stepping up the ranks". Vancouver Sun.
  2. ^ Rattan Mall (September 10, 2014). "34 South Asian victims in gang-related homicides January 2006-March 2014". Indo-Canadian Voice.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bolan, Kim (24 January 2020). "Disturbing twist in Metro Vancouver gang war: Rivals post rap songs advocating murder". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Canada gang wars have a Punjab connection". Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Indo-Canadian truck drivers from GTA caught in web of North American drug trade". 14 October 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Task force targeting Brothers Keepers gang has reduced violence, police say". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2020-07-22.

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