Amir Javid, Program Facilitator at Touchstone Family Association, says that while the drugs come from gangs, there's nothing sophisticated about how these people operate.
"It's all motivated by money. Money is the lifeblood behind their motivations," said Javid, who now works with at-risk youth in Richmond.
Javid says in recent years there's been an explosive epidemic of dial-a-dope operations across the Lower Mainland run by males between the ages of 18 and 25.
"Primarily most conflicts arise because turf is no longer determined by area, but by cell phone. If someone is taking customers from somebody else's line, then there is reason to engage in conflict."
Despite 20 shootings over the past two months, Javid doesn't think the escalating danger will be a deterrent.
"When you are making three, 500, $1200 a day, that money tends to be intoxicating to a kid ... they are motivated to keep their lifestyle going."
This week Surrey RCMP publicized the names and faces of the men they believe are involved.
Javid thinks the maneuver is reactionary and a last resort measure.
"These young men from what I discovered have been popping up on radars ever since they've been in high school. It is only now they are being acknowledged and the only form of acknowledgement they are getting is being plastered on the news."
"The problem is that this solidifies what they are involved in ... it is solidifying and in some way we are increasing their profile in the community and getting them to think 'Hey this is what I'm about and I'm going to get notoriety and be famous,'" said Javid.
Many of the alleged criminals are new immigrants or are of South Asian descent. Javid says these groups traditionally haven't had an open dialogue with law enforcement, creating distrust and misunderstanding between the two.
To combat this trend, Javid is advocating more education and awareness for at-risk youth at an early age.
"Youth don't have a sense of a connection to either their culture or religion and therefore are looking for something we call, to fill the void."
To listen to the full interview with Amir Javid, listen to the audio labelled Former Gangster Speaks OutSuggest a correction