By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A months-long investigation by police stemming from two murders linked to a dispute between gangs has ended with 11 people being arrested.
“It’s deeply concerning for us and for Winnipeg as a whole,” Insp. Shawn Pike said Monday.
Police zeroed in on the gangs after 23-year-old Jamshaid Wahabi was killed inside a Winnipeg nightclub last November. After the shooting, police said, one of Wahabi’s associates began to shoot at rival gang members outside the club.
Pike said police believe a gang began to conspire to murder the person who shot Wahabi in retaliation.
Two days later, Rig Moulebou, 20, was shot and killed. Police have said they believe Moulebou killed Wahabi.
Police are not naming the gangs, said Pike, who would not give information on what led to the initial shooting.
“We believe that involvement in the drug subculture and in gangs have caused this ultimately to occur.”
Pike said gang fights don’t often spill out into the community, but there were many bystanders present when the shooting occurred at the nightclub. That, along with concerns over more gang retaliation, made police react quickly to look at known gang associates.
Rami Hagos, 25, was stopped by police after Wahabi’s funeral and officers found a handgun. Hagos was charged with attempted murder for the shooting outside the nightclub. He also faces a slew of firearm charges.
The investigation found the gun was trafficked from a straw purchaser in Winnipeg. Straw purchasers are people who can legally buy guns, but are getting them for those who cannot buy them or don’t want their name associated with the guns.
Investigators later seized 22 firearms, including handguns, from a home.
Between February and March of this year, Javaid Wahabi, 23; Manuchehr Haroon, 23; and Abdullahi Abdulrehman Mohamed, 24, were charged with first-degree murder for Moulebou’s killing.
Police also searched three homes in April, Pike said. Officers found five kilograms of cocaine, cutting agents, a money counter and $190,000 in cash.
Six men and a woman — all between the ages of 21 and 29 — face charges including possession for the purpose of trafficking and participation in a criminal organization.
Pike said he believes the investigation and charges will make a difference on the city’s gang problems.
“These are substantive charges that carry potentially large sentences with them. Tie in the drug end of it as well … there is definitely some impact there for sure.”