Gangs & Guns Training Symposium 2021 – Virtual!

Our 2021 event will be a Two-day Training Symposium on Thurs & Fri, February 11th & 12th, 2021

Gangs & Guns is going virtual!  We hope this will be a unique experience for our attendees as they are able to see our impressive presenters without having to fly in and out of the Lower Mainland, BC.

Our plan is to have our presenters assemble in Vancouver, Canada and present from a studio here.  We hope this compromise will make the event more inviting to you, our online guests, as you will be able to share the excitement between the presenters on subjects we all hold dear.

Of course, if their presence in BC proves to be undoable due to government restrictions on either, or both, sides of the border then individual presentations will be made online.

Date and times:

Thursday and Friday, February 11th and 12th, 2021

Click here for our Draft Agenda.  Some posted times may change so please check back closer to the event date for the final agenda.

Please note: All times shown are Pacific Time (PT) and you will need to adjust your login and viewing to your local time zone.

Registration for the 2-day Training Symposium:

Individual rate for 1-9 registrations – $199 USD each registration

More than 9?  You will move into our discounted group rate of up to 20 attendees – $1800 USD

More than 20? Please email

Gangs and Guns 2021 – our Presenters

Keynote presentation from Father Gregory Boyle and Joseph Lucero

Not to be missed!

This is a unique opportunity to see one of the world’s most successful gang intervention programs when the founder of Homeboy Industries, Father Boyle, speaks alongside Joseph Lucero, a Homeboy alumni who has moved on from a spiraling downward trend of gangbanging  to a positive life with his young family and a film career.

Father Gregory Boyle, Founder, Homeboy Industries

Father Boyle will share what he has learned in three decades working with marginalized populations at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, – that love is the answer, community is the context, and tenderness is the connective tissue.  Tenderness reflects the foundational notion that there are no us and them, only us.

Bio: A native Angeleno and Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Father Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights, then the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.

Father Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992.  In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.

In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.

Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His new book, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, was published in 2017.

He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  In 2014, President Obama named Father Boyle a Champion of Change.   He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics. Currently, he serves as a committee member of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Economic and Job Recovery Task Force as a response to COVID-19.

Joseph Raymond Lucero, Outreach Ambassador, Homeboy Industries

Bio: Joseph Raymond Lucero was born in 1977 in San Diego, Calif. A third-generation gang member whose parents, brothers, and uncles also struggled with heroin addiction, Joey Ray’s troubles with the law began at the age of nine. He was in youth detention and later California state prison for twelve of his first 26 years.  

When his son was born while he was in state prison, Joey made the decision to stop gangbanging. He became active with the 12-step program CGA, which became foundational in healing from the pain and resentments that fueled him in his dedicated gang life. 

 In 2003 Joseph was released on parole and had the opportunity to prove that he could make it as a father and contributing member of the community. Father Greg Boyle, whom Joseph had first met at a California Youth Authority facility just outside of Los Angeles, offered him a job at Homeboy Industries. He utilized his CGA experience to do outreach and speaking for Homeboy that change is possible. Through telling his story, Joseph has been able to help bring awareness to the issues facing the formerly incarcerated.  

Joseph has said, “You can be whoever you put your mind to be and believe you can be. No matter a gang member in-and-out of juvenile halls and prisons, if you’re still breathing, you have the choice to change and live a better life.” Which is the slogan for his inc. – “CHANGE IS POSSIBLE”.  

Joseph Ray made his acting debut in the 2006 film Gridiron Gang! He was featured in the 2007 documentary Fr. G and the Homeboys and has appeared in many TV shows.  Joseph is presently cast as “Creeper” in the Sons of Anarchy spin-off series Mayans MC, on FX, which will begin filming their 3rd season in late 2020.

Keynote Presentation: ‘The Anatomy of Mass Homicide Prosecution: The Aurora Theatre Massacre’

George Brauchler, District Attorney, 18th Judicial District, Colorado

Bio: George H. Brauchler was elected District Attorney in 2012 for the 18th Judicial District (JD), which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties.  Each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts elects a district attorney who serves as the chief law enforcement officer for that district. The 18th JD is the most populous in Colorado, with a population of more than 1 million people.

George’s experience includes working as a deputy district attorney, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, military prosecutor, and just prior to his election, the Chief of Military Justice — the chief prosecutor for Fort Carson, the 4th Infantry Division, and the U.S. Division North in Iraq.

George received an Army ROTC Scholarship to pay for college at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he also earned his Juris Doctorate. He has been mobilized twice since 9/11. In 2015, George transferred from the U.S. Army Reserve to the Colorado Army National Guard, where he serves as a Colonel.

He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, University of Denver, and the U.S. Army JAG School, and he has trained state and military prosecutors across the United States and worldwide.

John W. Callery, Special Agent in Charge, San Diego Field Division

Bio:  John W. Callery has a total of 35 years of law enforcement experience and began his law enforcement career in 1984 as a Police Officer in the United States Air Force (USAF) for six years. For four of those years, he was detailed to the prestigious USAF Presidential Honor Guard at Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C., serving then-President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Callery continued his law enforcement career as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in 1992, initially assigned to the DEA Los Angeles Field Division (LAFD).  Mr. Callery received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Maryland and a Master’s of Science in Counterterrorism-WMD from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2007. He also holds a Master Certificate in Conflict Management from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business.

While assigned to the LAFD (1992-2000), Mr. Callery was a member of the OPERATION LEYENDA group and worked arduously on bringing to justice the conspirators in the murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Mexico. In 1995, Mr. Callery was assigned to the LAFD’s Mobile Enforcement Team (MET), where he conducted numerous deployments to cities suffering from drug-related violence. These deployments were extremely successful, resulting in the arrests of hundreds of drug traffickers and violent criminal offenders.  In 1999, Mr. Callery was chosen for an overseas assignment in Bangkok, Thailand. During his tenure in Bangkok, Mr. Callery controlled high-level heroin investigations with US nexus’ to include the first Judicial Wire Tap investigation in the history of The Kingdom of Thailand.

In 2011, Mr. Callery assumed the position of Country Attaché of DEA’s Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Country Office, where he managed DEA’s efforts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations operating in Malaysia and Singapore.  In 2014, Mr. Callery returned to the LAFD as a Group Supervisor, where he led the division’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement Group. There he focused his group’s attention on PCP manufacturing, criminal street gangs and violent drug trafficking.

In August, 2016, Mr. Callery was promoted to Section Chief at DEA/HQS Regional and Local Impact Section (OGR) where he oversaw DEA’s domestic operations and managed DEA’s Domestic Cartel Initiative (DCI), Domestic Priority Targeting Operations, DEA’s assistance to the Violent Reduction Network and Bureau of Indian Country Affairs.  In September 2017, Mr. Callery transferred from DEA/HQS to Honolulu, Hawaii to assume the duties of Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the DEA Honolulu District Office. There he led and managed all DEA operations in the Hawaiian Islands, Guam and Saipan.

As the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the San Diego Field Division (SDFD) he is currently leading the men and woman of the SDFD in concentrating on the opioid overdose death investigations, fentanyl-laced drugs, Mexican Cartel operations, US/Mexico interdiction efforts and the enduring scourge of methamphetamine trafficking in the region.

Mr. Callery is a professional public speaker and has conducted hundreds of lectures around the world on a myriad law enforcement and counter-terrorism topics. From 2005-2011 Mr. Callery conducted over 70 DEA International Training seminars on professional law enforcement best practices in over 50 nations around the globe.

Mr. Callery is married, he enjoys golf, snorkeling, tennis and he is an avid sports fan.

See John Callery’s LinkedIn Profile

Byron Boston, Former Dallas PD, Owner – PLET Training
Presentation: “Psychological Impact of Undercover Gang Investigations”

Successful Undercover Gang Investigations rely heavily on law enforcement officers posing as large-scale narcotic traffickers to covertly obtain evidence of criminal activity.  Oftentimes, gang members challenge the officer’s identity, encourage the officer a crime, divulge information of an intended violent crime, or seek an opportunity to assault/and or steal from the officer.  To overcome these challenges, officer’s utilize daring techniques to gain the trust and confidence of the gang members.  These techniques can lead to dangerous psychological implications for the involved officers as they often over identity with the gang members and their families.

This presentation will culminate with a debrief on a two year undercover operation into a violent gang that was responsible for killing a police officer.  The instructor will share his unique experiences and the intense psychological challenges that developed during and after the investigation concluded.

Bio:  Byron Boston served twenty years with Dallas Police Department before retiring in May 2017. He spent over fourteen years in the Narcotics Division as an undercover officer. For five years, Byron was assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a Task Force Officer (TFO) to investigate Mexican Drug Cartels impacting the Southwest Border of the United States. These investigations involved drug trafficking, extortions, kidnappings, and homicides.

Byron spent seven years assigned to a Mid-level Undercover Enforcement Unit and was tasked with infiltrating violent drug trafficking organizations, posing as a large-scale drug trafficker. During those assignments, he rented undercover apartments and spent months gaining the trust and confidence of the targeted criminals. As a result of those investigations, over 200 gang members were arrested and convicted of various narcotic and firearm-related crimes. Byron’s last mid-level undercover assignment involved investigating several drug-related overdose deaths involving North Texas teens. Byron and his partner were tasked with conducting an undercover operation to target the sources of those narcotics. Using unconventional undercover techniques, they were able to solve several overdose death cases and were ultimate nominated for the Dallas Police Officers of the year.

During his fourteen years in the Narcotic Division, Byron was also assigned to Tactical Narcotic Teams which were responsible for executing dynamic entry search warrants, vehicle assaults, and undercover officer extractions. Byron is currently a Reserve Dallas Police assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit and actively assisted Detectives with cell phone analysis, open source intelligence, digital search warrant preparation, and other investigative needs. He also continues to serve as a training officer within the Narcotic Division.

Byron has been a national training instructor for over eleven years. During that time period he has trained thousands of military, federal, state, local, and tribunal law enforcement officers from across the United States and Canada with exceptional reviews. Byron possesses a Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arizona State University.

Theresa Gartland, Executive Director, Operation Progress
Presentation: Operation Progress: Watts

Operation Progress is a non-profit located in the heart of Watts, CA, that provides youth with academic support, after school programs and mentorship by Los Angeles Police Department Officers.

Cpl. Tyler Zrymiak 
Presentation: Street Gangs in Saskatchewan by the Provincial Crime Reduction Team, and an update on BC Indigenous Street Gangs by Cst. Troy Derrick, Surrey RCMP, First Nations Policing

Gang violence continues to be an increasing concern in Saskatchewan with a significant number of homicides (nearly half in RCMP jurisdictions) in 2020 being directly attributed to street gang activity. Several other homicides included individuals who were either gang members or gang associates but their deaths were not the result of a direct gang motivation. Saskatchewan now has more than 1700 individuals who are identified as either gang members or associates with this number likely being only a fraction of actual gang membership within the province.

The Terror Squad and the Westside Outlaws maintain roughly 55% of all gang membership within the province. These two gangs also are behind much of the violence experienced within the province but the Westside Outlaws appear to be at the front of the pack when looking at homicides that have either been committed by, or victims of this violence. Many of the homicides that have occurred appear to be a result of internal violence and not the typical gang rivalry that is expected with large numbers of gang membership.

Combatting this increasing problem involves a multifaceted approach which includes utilizing new tools and technology to proactively disrupt and displace gang networks. We also need to ensure all law enforcement personnel have the tools, education, and understanding so they can play an active role in this endeavour. Last, but not least, we need to provide our communities with the tools and education to ensure they also have ability and knowledge to play a role in preventing future generations from becoming involved in street gangs, and support community members who are trying to exit gang life.

Bio:  Tyler graduated from the RCMP Training Academy in October 2007 and was posted to the Northwest Territories where he completed two postings before returning to Saskatchewan. In 2014, he transferred to the Saskatoon Integrated Intelligence Unit where he began focusing on organized crime investigations, and ultimately, street gang investigations.  Over the last 6 years, Tyler has been involved in strategy and policy development, public and police awareness/education, investigations, and targeted source development. Tyler was a part of a Proof of Concept Team which ultimately led to the creation of two Crime Reduction Teams in Saskatchewan. In 2018, Tyler was presented with the “Excellence in Performance” award by the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police for his part in developing a gang suppression strategy.

Sgt. Sandy Avelar and Detective Anisha Parhar “Her Time”
Presentation: Women in Organized Crime


Raj Jaswal, Detective, Vancouver Police Department (VPD)
Presentation: BC Gangs – Evolution of the South Asian Gangster

Detective Raj Jaswal will present the emergence and evolution of South Asian gangs in British Columbia, speaking about the uniqueness of these gangs while highlighting key crime figures, major incidents, and past and present conflicts.

Bio: Detective Raj Jaswal is currently seconded to CFSEU-BC and is working in the field of intelligence gathering.  In his 13-year policing career, Raj has worked in specialty sections including the BC Integrated Gang Task Force, and the VPD Organized Crime Section in areas including investigations, intelligence gathering and major projects.  Raj spent the majority of his time as a dedicated member of the VPD Gang Crime Unit and has spent a number of years focusing on enforcement and intelligence gathering within the South Asian Community across the Lower Mainland of BC. In 2014 he was recognized for his work with a Deputy Chief Constable’s commendation for developing strategies to curb gang violence in South Vancouver.  Raj has also been the recipient of community service awards from various South Asian temples within the City of Vancouver for his commitment to the communities he has worked in.

Corporal David Lane, Human Trafficking Unit, “H” Division RCMP, Nova Scotia
Presentation: Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is one of the most challenging responsibilities of law enforcement in today’s current policing environment. Violent offenders, uncooperative victims and a lack of awareness make it difficult, not to mention the complexities of multiple jurisdictions and major public safety concerns. Cpl. Lane will discuss how Nova Scotia started tackling this problem with one person and built an extensive full time Provincial Human Trafficking Team from the ground up. Their files have spanned across the country and showing that the only way to succeed it by cooperating with multiple partners. Not only will he cover basic Human Trafficking indicators, but he will also explain the ‘lessons learned’ from his perspective from being involved in Human Trafficking since 2016.

Bio: David Lane currently works on the Nova Scotia Human Trafficking Team and also acts as the Provincial Human Trafficking Coordinator.

David has been asked to share his unique Human Trafficking Expertise on an international level by well-known organizations such as International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI), Lawyers without Borders, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and The Canadian Police College (CPC).

Cpl. Lane has been a member of the RCMP for 18 years all while serving the Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding areas. He has over 12 years working in specialized sections such as the Halifax Integrated Drug Unit, Federal Serious and Organized Crime and Guns and Gangs.  His expertise is in providing expert evidence. Cpl. Lane has been qualified as an expert witness over 60 times on a wide range of criminal related topics. He has testified in the capacity of a drug, gang and proceeds of crime expert in various levels of court in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador.

In 2016, Cpl. Lane was assigned as the primary investigator for Operation Hellbender. Originally, this file was supposed to take a maximum 4 months with 10 investigators. However, 2 years, 175 investigators and 6 Provinces later, Cpl. Lane and his team learned the true nature of human trafficking and gang activity in Canada – and it is disturbing.

Norm Miller, Investigator, FGIA co-presenting with Safer Schools Together Threat Analyst Team
Presentation: “Gangs, Drill Rap, Social Media, and Their Relationship”

Music videos have been used as a form of expression for decades. More recently in some cases they have been used as a tool to send threats, promote gang culture, and flaunt illegal substances. Social media and music videos are not the sole reason why there has been a rise in violence amongst young people; however, there has been direct correlation between music and social media as related to gang violence.

Professionals who work with gang members should be aware of the role that music has historically played in the gang culture, as well as the increasing use of music by gangs to gain members and support for their gang. The increasing portrayal of violence in the lyrics of these songs indicates a trend toward the willingness to use violence against police officers.

As the world has gone digital, so have gangs. The Internet has given all sorts of gangs – large and small, old, and new – new ways to recruit, threaten and intimidate. It has also provided law enforcement with another tool to use against them. Police can gather intelligence on the gangs; find out who is a member and who might be bragging about a recent crime. Millennial preferences using the latest social technologies and innovation platforms to communicate are having a profound effect upon our youth that is often overlooked. Understanding the relationship between social media and music are critical areas to understanding the driving forces behind gang membership.


  • First Goal: Understanding the influences of the gangsta culture
  • Second Goal: Understanding Social media and its relationship to youth
  • Third Goal: Removing personal stereotypes as they to relate to gang members and gang membership
Lindsey houghtonStaff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton
Presentation: “Overview of BC Gang Landscape Changes and Profiles of Gang-Exiting Clients”

Staff Sergeant Houghton will provide a brief overview of recent developments in B.C.’s gang landscape before presenting case studies on anonymized gang members, including some who have been working with the CFSEU-BC’s Gang Intervention & Exiting Team the past two years. Risk factors, trauma indicators, pathways through the criminal justice system, and an overview of efforts to intervene and halt and disrupt criminal pathways will be discussed

Bio: A former member of the Vancouver Police Department and the Department’s spokesperson, Staff Sergeant Lindsey Houghton is now an officer with the Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) Advisory NCO working within the provincial integrated gang unit, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia. He oversees the CFSEU-BC’s Community & Public Affairs and Gang Exiting & Intervention teams.

The recipient of several provincial, community and policing awards, Lindsey continues to seek new and innovative ways to create and promote positive gang awareness and prevention strategies. This includes being the creator and architect of the internationally recognized End Gang Life ( gang prevention, education, and awareness initiative.

Dr. Andy Bain and Dr. Keiron McConnell
Presentation: A Product of Difference: Understanding non-traditional gangs and their membership.

From Pyke’s investigation in England during the late 19th century, to the work of Decker et al more recently, gangs have required us to question the role of social, economic, and legal services provided which seek to divert, support change, and police criminality.  Yet, as hard as we work to understand the gang problem, we often overlook, or miss, the individual and their needs.  The traditional sense of gang members in the poorest neighborhoods, isolated from wider society is no longer what we see.  What we need to consider more so than ever before, is the attraction of the gang lifestyle to non-traditional at-risk people.  What drives a stockbroker or university student to willingly join gangs.  In this session Drs. Andy Bain and Keiron McConnell provide a discussion of the findings from research examining our current understanding of both traditional and non-traditional pathways into the gang culture.

Bio: Dr. Bain is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Mount Union, Ohio, USA.  His academic qualifications include a BSc. Sociology & Psychology (Joint Hons); PGDip Psychology; MSc. Criminal Justice; and a Ph.D in Criminal Justice (examining offender behavior and rehabilitation). His professional background includes almost four years with the National Probation Service (England & Wales) and eight years running a successful Criminal Justice Consultancy.  During this time, he has provided guidance and advice to law enforcement agencies, correctional bodies, and most recently the United States Navy. Through his work he has authored numerous reports for local and national policing and corrections agencies. He has written, edited, and contributed to publications concerned with Law Enforcement; Gangs and Gang Membership; and, Risk and Management.  In addition, Andy has published in a number of leading international academic and professional journals, including The Journal of Offender Rehabilitation; The Probation Journal; The International Journal of Law, Crime & Justice; The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles; The International Journal of Police, Science and Management; and, The Journal of Gang Research.    He is research active with interests in offenders and their behavior; gangs and gang membership; policing and public communication; social-psychology of offending and risk-taking behavior.

Panel led by Dr. Keiron McConnell
“Gang Desistance: Getting Out”
Led by Dr. McConnell and consisting of former entrenched gang members, will talk about the specific “off ramps” taken to get out of the gang lifestyle and the pathways they took; together with an update on the GRIP program by Rob Rai.
Det. Cst. Andrew Hammond – Ontario Gang Investigators Association.

Bio: Andrew Hammond has been a police officer for over 14 years working on investigative files, community police work, and multijurisdictional wiretap projects. His work primarily focuses on street gangs which led him to his current position as a court-qualified gang expert.

Over the past three years, he has spoken to over 500 gang members gathering information not only about the complexities of gang violence but also about the current gang trends in Ontario.

In 2018, he has contributed to the National street gang definition, participated in an international panel of experts on responding to gangs, guns, and violence in Ontario as well as an expert panel for the Planning for Community Safety and Well-Being in Ontario. Andrew has consulted with various law enforcement agencies throughout North America on gang reduction strategies and gang intelligence.

He lectures across Canada on current gang trends, gang migration, gang indicia, gangs, and human trafficking, and how social media is fueling gang violence.

Detective Constable Peglar Artinian

Bio: Detective Constable Peglar Artinian has been employed by the Toronto Police Service since 2001, where he began his career as a Court Officer.

In April 2003 he was sworn in as a Police Constable and stationed at 13 Division where he worked in various investigative positions including the Major Crime Unit, Criminal Investigation Bureau as well as the Field Intelligence Officer. In 2015 he transferred to 51 Division and was assigned as a Primary Response Officer working in the Regent Park Area responding to various calls for service.

A few months later he was offered the opportunity to transfer to Gun and Gang Task Force to take on the role of Gang Investigator and have been working in this capacity since January 2016. As a result of various reports prepared and submitted at the Ontario Court of Justice, he has been qualified as a Gang Expert in the following areas: Coded Language, Graffiti, Gang Characteristics, General Gang indicia, Gang Membership, Hand Signs, Tattoo’s, and Turf.