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Kamloops trio arrested in alleged kidnapping
Three Kamloops residents — including Thomas Crawford, the former second-in-command of the local Independent Soldiers gang — are among seven people facing kidnapping charges in the Lower Mainland after what police are calling a "terrifying" gang-related incident.
Crawford, David Tarrant and Veronica Moncur, all of Kamloops, are each charged with one count of kidnapping and unlawful confinement.
Vancouver Police Insp. Brad Desmarais said investigators became aware on Oct. 20 of the kidnapping of a 29-year-old man in downtown Vancouver.
He said they launched an "intense and complex" investigation involving more than 40 officers.
"The investigators were able to determine that a meeting had been arranged, which resulted in the alleged abduction, which we believe was financially motivated," Desmarais said.
Police say they identified a location in Richmond believed to have been associated with the kidnapping and began surveillance on Oct. 21.
"Not long after, officers watched as a blindfolded male was led into a car, which soon departed in the company of a second suspect SUV," Desmarais said.
Investigators tailing the vehicles saw the car pull over on a Richmond street and the victim thrown from the vehicle.
Five people were arrested immediately, while another two have since turned themselves in to police.
Desmarais said investigators believe the alleged kidnappers were working with a larger, eastern organized-crime group.
Crawford, 30, was formerly believed by police to have been the second-in-command of the Kamloops chapter of the Independent Soldiers.
In June 2009, Crawford was handed a sentence of two years less a day for his part in a deal to sell drugs and guns to undercover police officers posing as gangsters.
Prior to sentencing, Crawford said he had quit the gang lifestyle and was in the process of having his "Independent Soldiers" tattoos covered up.
Tarrant, 28, is on the Kamloops RCMP's prolific-offender list.
Moncur, 20, does not appear to be known to police.
The four others facing charges are 28-year-old Nazfar Mirhadi of North Vancouver, 42-year-old Demple Brar of Richmond, 28-year-old Robert Carr of Abbotsford and 24-year-old Edmond Gammel of Surrey.
All of the accused are slated to appear in court on Nov. 3.
Desmarais said the investigation is ongoing.