A 43-year-old Victoria man believed to have ties with a notorious California street gang is facing a number of drug and firearm charges following a search of a North Park home last month.
On Dec. 10, police searched a residence in the 1100 block of Empress Avenue. Inside, they found GHB, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. A pump-action shotgun, rifle, a significant amount of cash and other items consistent with drug trafficking were also seized.
Jason Sheena was taken into custody and is now facing numerous charges including possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a weapon or ammunition contrary to a probation order and possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition. Police also seized evidence that links him to the suspected organized crime group, the Norteños.
Affiliated with the Neustra Familiar (Our Family), the Norteños are a street gang in northern California with a presence in the federal prison system. Their emblems and clothing are associated with the colour red and the number 14 is used in tattoos and graffiti because “N” is the 14th letter of the alphabet.
This isn’t the first time police in Victoria have come across associates with the gang.
Last July, an undercover sting targeting aggressive drug dealers around homeless shelters lead to the arrest of 16 people and 19 counts of trafficking. Police said most of those charged were members of the Norteños, which have been growing in Victoria.
During a search of another Victoria home in April 2014, police found many pieces of clothing, graffiti and other items associated with the gang.
The search was sparked following a report of a break and enter at a Broad Street surf shop where $16,000 worth of watches were stolen. The suspect was caught on video surveillance and recognized by officers, who realized the crime was tied to two other people believed to be taking stolen goods in exchange for drugs.
Police tracked down the suspects at a home in the 1100 block of Kings Road. The Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team and Crisis Negotiation Team were called in to make the arrests.
Inside the home, officers found ecstasy, marijuana and property tied to the original break and enter, along with others downtown. A bulletproof vest, bear spray and nunchucks were also found.
Sheena was among the two people arrested. He later plead guilty to possession of stolen property and weapons charges, for which he received a 90-day sentence but was given credit for time served. He was also handed another 30 days for an assault on July 8, 2014. A court date has been set for Jan. 20 on his latest charges.
Const. Jordan McLellan with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. said there are a number of well-known organized crime groups operating in the province, such as the Hells Angels, United Nations, Red Scorpions and Independent Soldiers, that have affiliates on the Island. The Hells Angels, however, still have a stronghold, operating two clubhouses in Nanaimo and Campbell River.
“The gang activity that we see happening on the Island is pretty consistent with what we see in other parts of B.C.,” said McLellan, noting the Island tends to have less violence among rival gangs compared to the Lower Mainland.
“Anywhere people are purchasing drugs, that’s 99 per cent of the time attributed to gangs because they are there to supply their street dealers and provide their customers with those things.”