Two Former Kamloops Residents Were Likely Cocaine 'Brokers' Who Facilitated Shipments to Canada, Police Say
Two B.C. men gunned down in Puerto Vallarta over the weekend were involved in the drug trade, likely as "brokers" facilitating the shipment of cocaine to Canada, a police expert said Monday.
Sgt. Bill Whelan, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said investigators in B.C. were well aware that Gordon Douglas Kendall and Jeffrey Ronald Ivans were living in Mexico and had underworld connections.
The two former Kamloops residents were executed early Sunday in a targeted hit carried out by several well-armed men who fled in two vehicles.
Ivans also brandished a gun after the gunfire started, according to police in the seaside resort town, but did not get a shot off before taking several bullets to the head.
News reports out of Puerto Vallarta said the gunmen pumped a second round of bullets into each of the Canadians as they lay on the ground already fatally wounded to "re-kill them."
Whelan said the names of both Kendall and Ivans had surfaced in an on-going drug investigation in B.C., but not linking them to a particular gang or criminal organization.
But The Vancouver Sun has learned the longtime pals were very close to one Metro Vancouver Hells Angel member.
"Obviously if you are going to be in Mexico and be taken out by Mexican cartels, you are working at a high level and you are probably not doing that by yourself," Whelan said. "We knew what they were up to. We knew they were in Mexico."
As brokers, they would have been the men on the ground in Mexico for B.C. drug traffickers wanting to get Colombian cocaine, Whelan explained.
"Like any legitimate company, if you have got a product overseas that you want and you are importing it a lot you would usually send a company member over there to ensure swift purchase and swift shipment of the product you want," he said. "They have come up during a drug investigation. We can't talk about that right now as it is an on-going investigation."
Gruesome photos of both men's blood-soaked and bullet-ridden bodies were splashed across several Mexican news sites within hours of the shooting.
A Mexican embassy press attache in Ottawa told The Sun Monday that the execution of the two appeared to be the "settling of a score."
"Nevertheless, the appropriate Mexican authorities are conducting an investigation to shed light on the case," Alberto Lozano said.
Ivans had a drug conviction in B.C. -- something that should have been disclosed when he moved to Mexico, Lozano said.
He said Canadians are supposed to disclose their criminal records and whether they plan to work or do business in Mexico.
"Supposedly both were living in Puerto Vallarta, but I don't know since when."
Canadian officials did not seem to know a thing about the double-slaying when contacted by The Sun Sunday.
But by Monday, a government official confirmed simply that two Canadians had been murdered without any of the detail, already a day old, in the Mexican media.
"What I can say at this point is that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade confirms the death of two Canadian citizens in a shooting incident in Puerto Vallarta," Alain Cacchione said. "Consular officers at the Canadian missions in Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta are providing consular assistance and support to the families in Canada, and working closely with local authorities to gather additional information."
Friends, who asked not to be named, told The Sun the pair had been living in Mexico for about a year.
Whelan said police here believe they travelled back and forth regularly between the two countries.
He said it would be impossible for police to track all the movements of B.C. gang members and traffickers outside the country, but that Mexico has surfaced as a popular destination in certain CFSEU investigations -- like that involving the United Nations gang.
Two UN members from B.C. -- Elliot Castaneda and Lou Ahmet -- were gunned down in Guadalajara in July 2008. Two other B.C. gangsters were wounded at a shooting in Cabo San Lucas last December.
"There is a lot of cocaine coming from Colombia through Mexico and the allure of the big money is there," Whelan said. "So if you can cut middlemen out by having one of your guys down in Mexico, you save a lot of money and increase your profit."
But friends of the dead men were remembering them on Facebook as fun-loving guys who will be missed by all those who knew them.
Kendall's relative Rick Kendall said late Monday on the website that the family had made arrangements to bring home his body.
"Thank you for all your thoughts. We have made arrangements to have Gordie brought home as soon as possible," Rick Kendall said. "Once he is home, we will set a time for service."
By Kim Bolan
September 29, 2009