Edmonton police looking to identify person of interest in connection to extortions

Edmonton police confirm recent shootings and arson are tied to gang-related extortion across Canada

Edmonton police are turning to the public in an effort to identify a person of interest in connection to a series of arsons and extortions.

EPS says officers are currently investigating 18 incidents of extortion since October.

It is believed that suspects targeted the South Asian business community using Whatsapp, where they’d text or call the victims and demand money.

Police say in some cases, the suspects had knowledge of the victim’s personal information, such as family members, vehicles, and lifestyle patterns.

Police found that when the victims failed to pay the extorted sum, it would result in property damage or arson.

EPS added that the suspects would then take things further and make follow-up demands for money, which would lead to an escalation of violence and drive-by shootings.

RELATED: ‘Atmosphere of terror’: Fires in southeast Edmonton may be gang-linked extortion, displays of power, expert says

Police say no injuries were reported from any of the shootings.

Six men have already been charged in connection to the shootings and arsons connected to the extortion.

A 20-year-old man was arrested on Oct. 19, and is facing 12 firearm-related charges.

Two 18-year-olds, and a 19-year-old were charged on Dec. 19, with arson-related charges.

A 19-year-old was also charged on Dec. 30, with five firearm-related charges.

Person of interest in Dec. 29 arson. (Photo Credit: Edmonton Police Service)

Police say one suspect is still considered to be a person of interest and are asking if anyone has any information regarding the individual, to contact investigators at 780-423-4567 and reference file #23-802638. Information can also be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477.

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