Head of notorious United Nations gang sentenced to 30 years in prison

SEATTLE — A Vancouver-area gangster who parlayed a group of rough friends, a disdain for the Hells Angels and what prosecutors describe as “laudable organizational skills” into one of Canada’s most notorious gangs has been sentenced to 30 years in a U.S. prison.

SEATTLE — A Vancouver-area gangster who parlayed a group of rough friends, a disdain for the Hells Angels and what prosecutors describe as “laudable organizational skills” into one of Canada’s most notorious gangs has been sentenced to 30 years in a U.S. prison.

Coquitlam, B.C., resident Clay Roueche, founder of the United Nations gang, appeared Wednesday for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik.

Prosecutors had requested 30 years for Roueche, who pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering conspiracy charges last spring.

“I am absolutely certain that Mr. Roueche feared no one, took orders from no one and was the person making the decisions,” Lasnik said.

The UN gang has been blamed for a number of targeted killings, though Roueche was not charged with any acts of violence.

In a brief address to the court, Roueche thanked his friends and family for their support.

“I promise I will not make the same mistakes and do better if I get a second chance,” he said.

Roueche, who long avoided the U.S. because he suspected he was wanted here, was arrested last year after he tried to attend a wedding in Mexico.

Mexican authorities wouldn’t let him enter the country, and at the request of the Americans, they put him on a flight home that landed first in Dallas. U.S. authorities were only too happy to take him into custody.

Prosecutors say Roueche used a network of helicopters, planes, semi-trucks and other methods to move many tonnes of marijuana and cocaine and millions of dollars through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and expanded the gang’s influence through threats and violence.

“What an accomplished man this court has before it today,” assistant U.S. attorney Susan Roe told the judge, citing his “truly fine business mind.”

Unfortunately, Roe argued, Roueche used that mind to cobble a collection of thugs from disparate cultures into a vast illicit empire.

He avidly read the crime blotters in local newspapers, which Roe described as “his own personal business page,” and took to travelling around in armored cars. He once broke an associate’s drug addiction by chaining him in a house and keeping him under guard for three months, Roe said.

Roueche, 34, founded the gang in British Columbia’s Fraser River Valley in the late 1990s, and the moniker was in part a jab at the exclusion of minorities by the Hells Angels, with whom the group sometimes sparred.

His lawyer, Todd Maybrown, argued that there was no evidence he engaged in violence. He had suggested a sentence of 15 to 20 years.

Furthermore, the UN gang didn’t own much of the cocaine it shipped, he said.

“They were brokering, helping move loads for other people,” he said. “This is not the head of the Cali cartel or the Medellin cartel.”

Lasnik was unmoved, noting the havoc that drugs cause — not only for users, but for the families of those involved in gangs.

Canadian investigators played no significant role in assembling the U.S. case against the man, but evidence of his organized-crime activities in Canada was collected by B.C. investigators.

Spokesman Sgt. Bill Whelan, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit in B.C., declined comment on the sentencing because it was a U.S. case.

But police say the gang has figured in much of the deadly gun play on Vancouver-area streets earlier this year.

Last April and May police charged eight men — who they allege to be members — with conspiracy to murder three brothers who investigators believe are at the top of a rival gang.

The group was charged with plotting to kill the alleged leaders of the Red Scorpions, Jonathan, James and Jarrod Bacon.

Police have charged one of the brothers and other alleged members of the Red Scorpions in the murders of six men in a Surrey apartment in the fall of 2007.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read