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News (Media Awareness Project) - Mexico: UN Gang's Key Cartel Contact Gunned Down In Mexico
Title:Mexico: UN Gang's Key Cartel Contact Gunned Down In Mexico
Published On:2012-01-18
Source:Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Fetched On:2012-01-20 06:00:32

Man who often returned to Surrey believed to have owed money after
losing shipment of cocaine

CULIACAN, Mexico -- A B.C. man executed in the Mexican state of
Sinaloa this week was a high-ranking member of the United Nations gang
who had direct contact with Mexican cartels, The Vancouver Sun has

Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz, 37, spent much of the last three years in
Mexico and was the key cartel contact for the notorious B.C. gang,
police sources confirmed.

But he also returned regularly to Surrey, where he had family ties.

Sahbaz was found early Monday at an intersection in Culiac=E1n, the
capital of cartel-plagued Sinaloa state. He had been shot in the head
with a .45-calibre gun.

Sahbaz had taken over the Mexican end of the business after two other
UN gang members, Ahmet (Lou) Kaawach and Elliott (Taco) Castenada,
were gunned down in front of a taco stand in Guadalajara in July 2008.

He is believed to have owed money to at least one cartel after losing
a shipment of cocaine and was working off his debt when he was slain.

Sahbaz had been active in the UN gang since at least 2004, when he and
several other Iraqi refugees were brought into the fold by former
leader Clay Roueche.

Sahbaz is in an infamous photo of UN members dressed in black taken at
the March 2005 funeral of gangster Evan Appell, who died of an

Sahbaz had been charged twice with trafficking drugs in Vancouver. At
one point, he was boss of the UN gang's "Kurdish Crew" that controlled
the Downtown Eastside drug trade.

But he also had a falling out with associate Barzan Tilli-Choli after
a Vancouver home invasion directed by Tilli-Choli targeted a friend of

They are believed to have later patched up their differences.

A police affidavit filed in court and earlier obtained by The Sun
described a 2006 New Year's Eve party in Vancouver attended by Sahbaz
and other UN gang members.

When gang squad members checked out the event at the Plush nightclub
on Pacific Boulevard, they "recognized many of the males in the
private gathering or party as being members or associates of the UN
gang," the affidavit said.

Roueche was at the party with Sahbaz, who was kicked out of the club,
according to the document.

Officers noticed that Sahbaz was wearing "a diamond-encrusted ring
with traditional Chinese characters on it."

He allowed the Vancouver police to photograph the ring.

The characters "translate into the English language as United
Nations," the affidavit said.

The UN gang was founded in the Fraser Valley by Roueche and others in
1997. It consisted of B.C.-born men and newer immigrants - mostly from
Asia - and once boasted more than 100 members and another 100

But the UN has been decimated in recent years by murders, shootings
and arrests of key members in both Canada and the U.S.

Sahbaz, Castenada and Kaawach all died in Mexico. Adam Kataoka was
killed in Argentina in late 2009. Diane Meyer and Michael Gordon were
gunned down in the Fraser Valley in 2008. Last November, Axel Curtis
was shot to death in Vancouver.

Roueche was arrested in the U.S. in May 2008 and is now serving a 30-
year sentence for smuggling cocaine and marijuana and laundering
millions in drug profits.

At least a dozen of his B.C. mules and associates have also been
convicted in the U.S.

Tilli-Choli and five others are awaiting trial in B.C. Supreme Court
for murder and conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly plotting to
kill the Bacon brothers and their Red Scorpion associates.

Several more UN members or associates are before the courts on drug
trafficking, attempted murder and murder charges.

Two others - Conor D'Monte and Cory Vallee - were also charged with
murder a year ago, but have not been located. There is an
international warrant for their arrest.

Gang expert Doug Spencer said Tuesday he is not surprised to learn of
Sahbaz's demise.

"It is more than expected," said Spencer, a former VPD detective now
with Transit police. "I knew it was coming because he was living the
life and when they are living the life, they all get it."

Spencer incorporates new gang murders into the anti-gang presentations
he does in Metro Vancouver schools.

"It is an important message to get out that for these guys, there is
nowhere to hide," Spencer said.
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