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The ricochet of gunfire that led to the death of a 23-year-old man in downtown Winnipeg last November rang out for months through tensions between a pair of rival gangs, resulting in 11 arrests and the eventual seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine, among other contraband.
For months after Jamshaid Wahabi was killed at Citizen Nightclub, and after 20-year-old Rig Moulebou was killed apparently in retaliation, Winnipeg Police Service Insp. Shawn Pike said officers were probing the groups, culminating in a trio of search warrants at homes in the Southdale neighbourhood in April.
Pike said some followup work remains, however, the majority of the investigation into the gangs is complete after nine months. He wouldn’t specify the names of the organizations, nor how long they’d been present in the city.
Asked what might have sparked the initial dispute that led to Wahabi’s death, Pike didn’t say much, only saying that it was related to "the drug subculture."
The investigation began Nov. 2, when Wahabi, a former refugee from Afghanistan, was shot inside the downtown nightclub and the groups began shooting at one another outside the establishment. The club was subsequently shut down.
Two days later, Moulebou was shot and killed in an apparent act of retaliation. Months later, three men — Abdullahi Abdulrehman Mohamed, Manuchehr Haroon and Arnold Mbaka Nduta — were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Court documents show charges against Nduta were stayed in June. In April, Wahabi’s brother, Javaid, was arrested and also charged with first-degree murder in connection to Moulebou’s death.
After Wahabi’s funeral on Nov. 7, a 25-year-old named Rami Hagos was stopped by officers and found with a .50-calibre handgun which was later found to have been trafficked; Hagos was charged with over a dozen weapons-related offences as well as attempted murder.
The next day, a search warrant at a home on Marine Drive led to the seizure of 22 firearms, and police say the gun Hagos allegedly carried came from the collection. Shane Kulathungam, 41, was charged with firearm offences following the warrant.
Pike said the investigation next led to the execution of three search warrants in the Southdale area in connection with suspected drug trafficking. Five kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated $450,000 on the street, were seized, along with 2.5 kilograms of a cutting agent and $190,000 in cash and other paraphernalia police say is connected to the drug trade, like cellphones and gold jewelry.
Seven people were taken into custody and charged following that sting, including 26-year-old Haben Nipsey Weldekidan, 22-year-old Mohammad Moradi, 21-year-old Charles Kiniki, 25-year-old Stefany Dayana Castro Alvarez, and Zuhair (25), Zuhur (28) and Zubair (29) Mohammad-Zarif.
Though the most recent arrests occurred in April, Pike said the reason police were only now releasing information to the public is because certain charges needed to be authorized, and police were waiting for "that paperwork to be finalized."
— with files from Dean Pritchard and Ryan Thorpe
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 7:51 AM CDT: Adds photos
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