Gangster Killing Points to Canada-Mexico Criminal Ties

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The murder of a Canadian crime boss in Mexico illustrates the troubling links between criminal organizations in the two countries.

On April 27, British Columbia-based gangster Thomas Gisby was gunned down in a Starbucks in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. According to police, Gisby ran the Gisby Crime Group, a Canadian drug trafficking gang with connections to cartels in both Mexico and Colombia. The Calgary Herald reports that Gisby was likely targeted for his connections to a group known as the United Nations Gang, which has seen a number of its members assassinated in recent months in retaliation for the August 2011 killing of rival gang member Jonathan Bacon.

Gisby apparently felt safe in Mexico despite the drug conflict raging in the country. “Gisby has been dealing with Mexicans and Colombians directly for over 20 years,” a police source told the paper. “It is very unlikely he didn’t know how to stay on their good side in business after that long. He was a good businessman and experienced in the cocaine importation world.”

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that Gisby was killed in Mexico suggests that his Canadian rivals also had connections in the country. This supports recent claims made by Canadian law enforcement that British Columbia-based gangs are deepening their connections with Mexican cartels. According to authorities, these gangs are putting themselves at risk by naively entering a criminal environment that they are not familiar with. This explains a recent spate of murders of Canadian criminals in Mexico, many linked to the UN Gang.

If Canadians gangs adapt to the rougher tactics used by their Mexican counterparts, and export this back to Canada, it could add a new dimension to concerns about violence spilling over the US’s borders.

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