SURREY, B.C. — Police say recent shootings in Metro Vancouver that injured four innocent bystanders appear to be connected to street-level drug trafficking.

Chief Supt. Ghalib Bhayani, the operations officer for the RCMP in the Lower Mainland, says since last April, anti-gang enforcement teams have been expanded and gun violence decreased late last year.

In a statement, Supt. Duncan Pound of B.C.’s anti-gang squad says its investigations into the shootings in Langley, Surrey and Coquitlam — in which one person was killed and the bystanders were hurt — indicate they appear to be connected to the drug trade.

Pound says police don’t believe there are any direct links to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.

He says street-level violence can escalate, drawing in groups that are connected to the gang conflict.

But he says police agencies are working together to ensure the violence doesn’t escalate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press