United Nations (gang)
The United Nations (UN) (also known as Global United Nations Syndicate (GUNS), Canada United or Canadian United (CU)) is a criminal gang who started in the Vancouver, British Columbia area and more recently grew to the rest of the Canadian territory in the 2000s. The name alludes to the various ethnic origins of the members.
|Founding location||Abbotsford British Columbia.|
|Years active||1997 - present|
|Criminal activities||Arms trafficking, Drug trafficking, Extortion, home invasion, illegal immigration, kidnapping, money laundering, murder, passport fraud, people smuggling, Prostitution, Robbery, Bribery, Theft, Assault, Motor vehicle theft, Human trafficking|
Name and IdentificationEdit
All ethnic groups were encouraged to join thus the gang name, the United Nations (UN) or Global United Nations Syndicate (GUNS). The multi-racial gang consists primarily of Canadians of European, East Asian, First Nations, and Iranian background.
The U.N. gang had pioneered an alternative sense of style and recognition that became prominent in Vancouver, BC up until the end of the early 2010s. Many U.N. members would "cloak" themselves by wearing high-end, expensive and luxury brands based on California surf-trends, biker brands and accessories that would not typically be assumed as what a gangster would wear. Many youth imitated this style before the end of around 2012. Common items included murses, high-end active wear, designer jeans, baseball caps, sandals and name brand belts. This has become a well known sense of gangster appearance in BC due to the United Nations.
The UN gang was formed in Abbotsford in 1997 by a group of high-school friends from around the Fraser Valley. The founder of the gang was Clay Roueche, a white Canadian who grew up surrounded by Vietnamese-Canadians and Lao-Canadians. Roueche came to develop an Asian fetish as he was described as spending much of his time in Abbotsford's Vietnamtown where he loved: "...the fortunetellers he’d find there, grainy bootlegged kung-fu movies and Vietnamese girls". A Korean-Canadian said of him: "Clay was never white. Maybe he was born white, but his soul was never white." After graduating from high school in 1993, Rouche worked in a variety of sales jobs and opened a restaurant which soon failed.
Rouche began to work for a Vietnamese organized crime figure known as Vu. What began as a loose-knit group of Abbotsford thugs linked to Asian organized crime grew quickly over the years. They began a profitable drug-running enterprise involving helicopters flying across the US-Canada border trading much sought after British Columbian cannabis for cocaine to be sold in Canada. The United Nations gang was founded in May 1997. Rouche discovered that the Kootenays region was where most of the marijuana in British Columbia was grown and starting in 1997 began to export marijuana to the United States. With his new wealth, Rouche married a Lao-Canadian woman and purchased an expensive house. The name United Nations was coined at a party hosted by Rouche in Richmond when somebody commented upon the racially diverse crowd by saying: "What the fuck is this, an United Nations meeting?"
Rouche borrowed much from Asian culture for his gang. Rouche took aspects of Bushido ("the way of the warrior"), the fierce code of the Japanese samurai, as the basis of the gang's philosophy, using the motto "Honor, loyalty, respect". All the members of the gang are expected to have phrase "honor, loyalty, respect" tattooed on themselves in Chinese characters and their uniform were hoodies covered with images of tigers and Asian dragons together with the phrase "honor, loyalty, respect" in Chinese characters . Members were expected to learn mixed martial arts, especially Thai kickboxing and Japanese jujitsu. Initiation ceremonies were based on those of the Chinese Triads under which new members would walk under "The Mountain of Knives" as an archway of swords were named to swear eternal loyalty to the "36 Oaths" of the gang and drinking a bowel of rooster's blood. A senior member was a dai lo (Cantonese for "big brother") who would supervise the other members who were given much freedom to operate as they pleased. The gang initially avoided the rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian structure of traditional organized crime groups like the Mafia and outlaw biker clubs such as the Hells Angels.
Under the impact of gang wars, greater discipline was needed and Rouche has admitted in an interview that he ordered the beatings and the torture of gang members who disobeyed his orders, through he also claimed not to enjoy it. The dominant organized crime group in British Columbia as in much of the rest of Canada are the Hells Angels, who only accept whites, and as such the United Nations gang attracted non-white members, usually second-generation Vietnamese-Canadians and Lao-Canadians. In 2000, the United Nations gang were involved in a notably bloody brawl with the Hells Angels at the Animals nightclub in Abbotsford, which gave the gang stature in the underworld after beating up the Angels. A group of 70 United Nations members fought and expelled 30 Hells Angels from the Animals nightclub, which was perceived as "theirs".
As a new criminal organization, the group fought a number of turf wars against other gangs, most notably the Red Scorpions. They also led a turf war against the Independent Soldiers gang, as it sought to establish itself. After establishing themselves against the Hells Angels, the two gangs reached a modus vivendi in 2005. One of its biggest rivals was the Hells Angels but recently the two groups have been working together as some of the UN's high-ranking members became Hells Angels and also shown by the arrest of Omid Bayani, a mid-level member of the Hells Angels, who was arrested as part of an investigation looking at criminal actions of the Hells Angels. After Rouche's arrest in the United States in 2008, leadership was assumed by Barzan Tilli-Choli.
Relationship with the Hells AngelsEdit
On 8 May 2008, former Hells Angels head hunter and UN gang member Duane Harvey Meyer, 41 and nicknamed D.W., was killed, with the funeral held on May 15, 2008. Full members of the Hells Angels and UN gang members were at the funeral, with news stations and police agencies on hand to videotape all visitors. Whenever a United Nations member dies, he gets a special tombstone featuring the letters "UN" across it.
Before a number of its leaders were arrested the police estimated the gang had 50-100 core members in the Lower Mainland area of B.C. The alleged leader of the United Nations Gang is Clayton Roueche. Roueche grew up in Chilliwack, B.C. He later moved out to Abbotsford, B.C. and then on to Vancouver. Roueche had an obsession with martial arts and became involved in the drug scene at an early age.
As part of an American investigation into drug trafficking on a stopover in Texas on a flight from Mexico City May 17, 2008, Roueche was arrested for conspiring to possess cocaine, conspiring to export cocaine, conspiring to import marijuana, and conspiring to launder money and was subsequently deported to the United States. Roueche faced up to a maximum of 220 years in prison, but he was sentenced to 30 years and $8 million in fines. He was flown to Seattle to answer to the charges. Other members arrested as part of the international investigation were UN members Kris Neri, Daryl Johnson and Douglas Vanalstine.
Jong Ca John Lee is believed to have supplied the gang with guns. On June 9, 2007, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) was called to his residence due to an unanswered 911 call. Lee answered the door, and police saw what looked like firearms inside the apartment. A subsequent search revealed a dozen guns (some loaded, and some with defaced serial numbers), including automatic and semi-automatic rifles, and almost two dozen magazines of ammunition. Lee, who had no criminal record, pleaded guilty in September 2007 to all 10 charges. Lee also pleaded guilty to possession of 3.5 kilograms of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking, 900 grams of marijuana, a Panther stun gun, a silencer, and three stolen Canadian passports obtained through a home invasion. He was sentenced to five years each on two of the weapons charges and two years on each of the other charges, to be served concurrently.
The former de facto leader of the United Nations gang was Barzan Tilli-Choli, an Iraqi immigrant responsible for a myriad of crimes, none more infamous than his conspiracy to murder the notorious Bacon brothers (the Bacon brothers are believed to be high-ranking members of the rival Red Scorpions Gang). Tilli-Choli's elaborate plot to murder the Bacon brothers manifested in his arrest in April 2009, along with Dilun Hung, Aram Ali, Ion Croitoru, Daniel Russell, and realtor Soroush Ansari 
2004 saw the arrest at a Calgary hotel of drug and chemical importer, Paul Vincent. Known for his unmatched ability to circumnavigate border security, Vincent was in possession of a vehicle-mounted Bren machine gun, a number of barrels of banned chemicals and $585,000 in cash. In a lengthy trial, the prosecution sought a 21-year sentence. The trial was brought to close with a dismissal due to an evidence-seizure technicality.
Involvement in 2009 Vancouver gang violenceEdit
In late 2008 and early 2009, a violent gang war was brewing in the Lower Mainland area of B.C., with the UN gang believed to be playing a major role in it. Police have issued warnings to the public in regard to associating with Jonathan (Jon), Jarrod, and James (Jamie) Bacon, as well as Dennis Karbovanec. Known as the "Bacon Brothers," they have been targeted by other gangs and criminal organizations. Eldest brother Jonathan Bacon survived an attempt on his life in front of his parents' home. There have also been numerous attempts on the lives of youngest brother James. The United Nations gang is believed by police and media to be the group responsible for these attacks. The Bacons are linked up with Michael Le's Red Scorpion gang from the Lower Mainland. On Sunday August 14, 2011 Jonathan Bacon was shot dead in Kelowna. Three offenders are currently serving lengthy sentences in regards to this murder.
After expanding to other parts of Canada, the criminal organization became more structured. It adopted a hierarchy system using military ranks. Each province in the country is attributed a Commander who chooses different Generals for each city. This method of work enabled the high-ranked members of the organization to stay more discreet and safe from police arrests as their identities stay unknown.
According to a 2016 presentation by Sgt. Doug Spencer of the RCMP & The Odd Squad Productions, The gang currently has no hierarchy. A large percentage of the original members are all either in prison, dead, deported or have disappeared. Some members still continue to exist, however only living off the name U.N.
Books and articlesEdit
- "B.C. gang leader sentenced to 30 years". CBC News. December 16, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- "United Nations Gang". stopgangsters.com. 2010. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Carrigg, David (May 23, 2008). "United Nations gang leader from Abbotsford arrested in the U.S." Canwest News Service. canada.comThe Province. Archived from the original on April 17, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- "U.S. police have eye on powerful B.C. gang". CTVglobemedia. May 23, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Hyde, Jesse (9 May 2013). "Boss Weed: How Clay Roueche Changed the Marijuana Game Forever".
- hmm (20 December 2016). "The 'Nammer fad' EXPLAINED" – via YouTube.
- Hyde, Jesse (9 May 2013). "Boss Weed: How Clay Roueche Changed the Marijuana Game Forever". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
- Langton 2013, p. 55.
- Bolan, Kim (December 15, 2009). "Cracks in UN gang appeared long before leader Clay Roueche's arrest". Canwest News Service. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Langton 2013, p. 61.
- Mercer, Katier (1 March 2009). "Men behind the mayhem; History and the membership of Red Scorpions, United Nations". Vancouver Province. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Langton 2013, p. 62-63.
- Bolan, Kim (October 1, 2005). "Stepping up the ranks". nriinternet.com. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Langton 2013, p. 90.
- Bolan, Kim (April 25, 2007). "Chain of appeals keeps gangster in Canada". Canwest News Service. The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Langton 2013, p. 187.
- "Gallery: Who's who at the UN gang". Canwest News Service. The Vancouver Sun. February 28, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Bolan, Kim (December 15, 2009). "U.S. seeks 30-year term for 'drug lord' UN gang leader". Canwest News Service. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- "Gangsters accused of plotting to kill Bacon brothers". CTVglobemedia. April 21, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- OddSquadVideos (18 September 2016). "The Truth About Gangs Speaker Series" – via YouTube.
- Kim Bolan (February 28, 2009). "Reformed United Nations gangster recalls vice and virtues of lifestyle". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on March 29, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2010.