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Gangster shot at Burnaby's Cactus Club faces deportation to Croatia

A gang associate wounded in a January restaurant shooting was ordered deported from Canada Wednesday because of his criminal history.

A gang associate wounded in a January restaurant shooting was ordered deported from Canada Wednesday because of his criminal history.

Nebojsa (Nick) Kljajic, 37, admitted through his lawyer Dennis McCrea that he was ineligible to remain in Canada because of his previous convictions for conspiracy and trafficking marijuana.

Immigration and Refugee Board member Laura Ko ruled that Kljajic, who came to Canada from Croatia, is “inadmissible on grounds of organized criminality.”

“I am issuing a deportation order against you. A deportation order means you would lose your permanent residence status when it comes into force,” Ko said. “It means that if it is enforceable, you would be required to leave Canada and you would not be allowed to return at any time unless you first receive written authorization to do so.”

She told Kljajic that because he has refugee status, the government would be in touch about whether it intends to kick him out of Canada.

Kljajic, who has links to the Wolf Pack gang alliance, was shot while sitting with others inside the Cactus Club restaurant on Kingsway in Burnaby on Jan. 7. No one has been charged in the attack.

His immigration hearing had to be rescheduled several times as he recovered from his injuries.

The gangster appeared under tight security at the IRB’s offices on West Georgia Wednesday. No observers were allowed in the hearing room, which was guarded by members of the Vancouver Police gang squad. A Sun reporter was only able to watch the proceedings via a video link from another floor in the building.

Before the hearing began, Kljajic and the Canada Border Services Agency signed an agreed statement of facts, meaning he didn’t contest the allegations against him.

As a result, much less evidence was called at the hearing and Kljajic was not required to testify.

The agreed statement said Kljajic admitted being involved in arranging 10 cross-border marijuana shipments between July 2001 and June 2002.

Ko accepted that Kljajic’s conviction in itself was enough to make him inadmissible to Canada. But she also concluded that he had been the member of an organized crime group and that the group was involved in “trans-national” offences.

Both Kljajic and his cousin Zoran Mikulic pleaded guilty in Saskatchewan in 2010 to being part of a massive conspiracy to smuggle truckloads of B.C. bud into the United States through the Prairie province.

The cousins were sentenced to two years less a day in jail, a considerably lighter sentence than their underling in the gang — Daren Wayne Smith — who got six years in jail.

Smith testified at his trial that he only got involved in the smuggling ring because he had been threatened by the cousins and a third man who had links to the Hells Angels.

That man was not identified at the trial, but a Mountie testified that when Smith’s Abbotsford home was being searched, Hells Angel Larry Amero and two others showed up looking for Smith.

Amero, a leader of the Wolf Pack alliance, is awaiting trial in Montreal for conspiracy to traffic cocaine and working for the benefit of a criminal organization. He was injured in the 2011 Kelowna shooting that left Red Scorpion Jon Bacon dead.

Ko said Wednesday that Kljajic admitted he “supplied marijuana to Mr. Smith, provided instructions regarding the timing and location of the marijuana to be picked up, and provided access codes to storage lockers containing the marijuana.”

“The length of time that you were involved in this activity indicates to me a significant commitment to the purposes of the organization,” Ko said.

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