With a 12-year cocaine-trafficking sentence handed down to Jarrod Bacon, the Bacon brothers linked by police to the Red Scorpion gang are no longer a force in British Columbia's violent gang scene.
There were three brothers: One is dead; two others are now behind bars. But a senior B.C. gang officer said Friday that the police conflict with gangs will go beyond the Bacons to focus on new players who have already filled a void left by the Fraser Valley brothers.
"We have other fish to fry. We continually move on and continually try to get ahead," Superintendent Pat Fogarty, officer in charge of the organized-crime division of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, said in an interview. "It isn't the end of an era for the police. It is the end of an era for the Bacons. The Bacons are one chapter out of a big book. We're still reading more chapters."
The ruling comes amid rising tensions among local gangs after two fatal shootings in the past week – in Mexico and Vancouver – of men linked to B.C. organized crime groups. Police say rival gangs are fighting for ascendancy in B.C.'s lucrative drug trade, fuelling conflicts settled with bullets.
But the Bacons are out of the line of fire. On Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen sentenced 29-year-old Jarrod Bacon to 12 years after Mr. Bacon was convicted of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. With time served, the judge said the sentence was effectively seven years and two months.
Jarrod Bacon and his former father-in-law, Wayne Scott, were convicted in February on charges of agreeing to purchase up to 100 kilograms of cocaine imported from Mexico from a police operative in August, 2009. The drugs would have had a $3-million value. Judge Cullen, addressing the court, said the absence of drugs did not detract from the seriousness of the offence.
Citing Mr. Bacon's lack of remorse among factors in sentencing, the judge noted the court heard Mr. Bacon describe himself as a criminal and enforcer. In other testimony, he said he lived a gangster's life since his teens.
Judge Cullen said Mr. Bacon was a poor prospect for rehabilitation. "He appears committed to a criminal lifestyle," he said.
Mr. Bacon's youngest brother, Jamie, is in jail awaiting trial over an alleged role in the 2007 Surrey Six killings in which six men – two of them innocent bystanders – were shot dead in a Surrey high-rise. Mr. Bacon's eldest brother, Jonathan, was gunned down last summer at the front door of a resort hotel in downtown Kelowna. That killing remains unsolved.
Supt. Fogarty said the fates of the brothers highlight the limited options for most gang figures – reaching a leadership post, jail or death.
He said the Bacons have effectively been off the streets for some time. In their absence, he said he expected their criminal colleagues would have moved on to associations with other gang organizations.
"These people that would follow them would drift away," he said. "As much as the Bacons have somewhat of a notoriety because of all the stuff they have done and the publicity they receive, the change of organizations is going on all the time. Today, you're with this group. Tomorrow, you're kind of with that group."
He suggested economic need would send Bacon associates elsewhere. "If you're an underling for any one of these guys, and your boss gets killed or jailed, you don't have any ability to make money," he said. "You've got to go to somebody else, and somebody else is always looking for a good man."