Elliott "Taco" Castaneda of Abbotsford and Ahmet Kaawach, who used to live in Metro Vancouver, died in the hail of bullets, the source said.
Two members of the Fraser Valley-based United Nations Gang were gunned down in a restaurant in Mexico during an ongoing wave of "drug-cartel-related violence," a police source told The Province yesterday."The two of them were in Mexico at a restaurant when a man came in with a machine gun and opened fire," said the police source. At least 21 people, including a 12-year-old girl, have been killed by warring drug gangs and police since last Thursday in the western state of Sinaloa, which includes the popular tourist resort of Mazatlan, in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in memory.Elliott Castaneda of Abbotsford was one of two members of the Fraser Valley-based United Nations gang killed in drug-related violence in the Mazatlan area.Castaneda worked as a real-estate agent for about two years with Homelife Glenayre Realty in Abbotsford but resigned last month, said company manager Walter Brown."It's very sad," said Brown of Castaneda's death. "I would describe him as a very quiet guy."I really don't know much about his personal life," said Brown."He actually quit our company last month. He gave notice last month and I think his licence got hung up in the first week of July. He quit the business."
Brown said his former employee "had very little to do with the office. He worked out of his house and he came in and resigned last month. And that's about it."
Castaneda, who was about 28 years old, attended Abbotsford junior and senior secondary schools, graduating in 1997.Kaawach was convicted and later deported from Canada to Lebanon after an arrest for weapons in Vancouver, said the police source. He was "very close friends" with Clayton Roueche, the alleged leader of the UN gang, the source also said.Roueche is currently being held in a Washington State jail on drug charges after being recently arrested in Texas when his plane landed from Cancun, Mexico. Roueche, who was travelling to Cancun for a friend's wedding, was denied entry to Mexico and despite his protests was put on a plane that made a stopover in Texas -- where he was arrested by U.S. authorities -- en route to Vancouver."Roueche travelled to Lebanon and met with Kaawach as the gang's Mexican drug connection, someone who could procure cocaine and other drugs, presumably to be smuggled to B.C," said the police source.Sgt. Shinder Kirk of the Integrated Gang Task Force said he is not aware of any UN gang involvement in the drug trade in Mexico."We certainly have heard that members of that group do travel to Mexico," said Kirk. "We do know of individuals involved in particular crime groups that do go down to Mexico. Now whether that's for vacation or business, there's no way to tell."
Meanwhile, the Mexican government said yesterday it was nearly tripling the police presence in Sinaloa state after the close to two dozen deaths and hostage-taking incidents by criminal gangs over the last week.More than 300 people have died in drug-related violence so far this year in Sinaloa -- about a fifth of the 1,700 people killed in cartel battles across Mexico -- as rival gangs fight each other amid an army-led government crackdown.
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