HALIFAX – The Hells Angels are busy working for the past two years to reinvest in atlantic Canada, but they seem to be struggling to recruit “members in good standing”, according to experts.
The royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP) and specialists of organized crime can be explained unclear why the group of motorcycle gangs, the most powerful the country has not yet found candidates worthy of becoming members in good standing. But they confirm that the Hells are organized well, after the painful dismantling by the police of their chapter, Halifax, 2001.
Stephen Schneider, professor of criminology at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, believes that the creation of a new club-school in the last year – the Red Devils – demonstrates that the Hells have sought always to redeploy in the Atlantic provinces.
“The Red Devils are, so to say, their affiliate club AAA at the international level,” said professor Schneider, who has written extensively on organized crime. “It is therefore a sign that the Hells Angels have not let go of the piece, and they are really to be present in atlantic Canada.”
The Red Devils have created chapters in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The members of the Halifax chapter, established in July, were recruited from two other clubs, bikers, the Gatekeepers, and the Darksiders, according to the sergente of staff of the RCMP Guylaine Cottreau, criminal intelligence Service Nova Scotia.
“They were known to the Hells Angels and came from clubs friends already existing,” said Cottreau. “But it is not reported from new “prospects” (…) even if the Hells always have a good footprint in the province with their clubs, friends.”
According to the officer Cottreau, the Hells had a chapter of “prospects” in Nova Scotia, but it was less than six members in the fall, and these bikers have become since the “prospect” of the Hells in New Brunswick neighbor, where their club Nomads already included some of the members in good standing transplanted in this province. The Nomads were led once in Quebec by Maurice Boucher, who is serving a sentence of life in prison for the murder of two prison guards.
The coast very attractive
In addition to the Red Devils, the Nova Scotia account of other “small” criminal gangs, including clubs Darksiders at Dartmouth and in the Annapolis valley, clubs Sedition in Fall River and Weymouth, and clubs Highlanders in Antigonish, in the county of Pictou and in Cape Breton.
Experts estimate that the Hells are seeking to expand their territory and to take control of drug trafficking in a region with many thousands of kilometres of coastline, an undeniable attraction for traffickers.
The Bacchus Motorcycle Club would be the only other organization to rival motorcycle gangs in Nova Scotia, and it seems to have reached a truce in the region with the Hells. A judge of the supreme Court of Nova Scotia, said the organization “criminal” in a decision rendered in July – a decision that could rein in its activities, as this label comes with more severe penalties for crimes committed for the benefit of the gang.
During this time, the Outlaws, the traditional rivals of the Hells Angels, have also made a foray into the region with clubs friends as the Black Pistons in Fredericton and Sydney, where they were installed earlier this year. The Outlaws and Bacchus are also present in Newfoundland, as elsewhere, several clubs friends of the Hells Angels. In l’île-du-Prince-Édouard, there are two chapters of Bacchus and a chapter of a club affiliated with the Hells Angels.
“For the moment, it is quiet, but the Outlaws are the main group rival of the Hells Angels and therefore there is a potential (of violence),” said Ms. Cottreau.
Of the Outlaws “underwear affair”
Professor Schneider found it surprising that the Outlaws are trying to settle in atlantic Canada having failed in their attempt to become a significant threat to the Hells in Ontario. “They are underwear affair, you need to give them this”, drops Mr. Schneider. “They continue to fight and try to establish their territory.”
Although the port of Halifax should be attractive to the Hells Angels, the police said it had reported no suspicious activity on this side. Professor Schneider, who has just completed a study for the federal government on organized crime in the maritime ports, did not find any direct evidence of the presence of the Hells on the docks of Halifax. “But that doesn’t mean they are not there, or that there is no partner.”
The criminologist believes that the influence of the Hells has taken a beating following a police major, as the arrest in July of the important member of the New Brunswick Emery Martin. But this would be especially the success of the repression of the previous years against the group of bikers in Quebec, which would have had the most impact, according to him.
In April 2009, operation SharQc was conducted to the arrest of 156 individuals and the closure of a number of clubs in the criminal gang. Many trials have, however, made the cabbage white, and the Hells were able to rise in Quebec, which will eventually have implications for the Atlantic region, believes Mr. Schneider.
“They are better placed to create chapters and club-schools in atlantic Canada, he believes. The presence of the Red Devils in Moncton is significant, because it is a club-school of the first order, long associated with the montreal chapter of the Hells Angels.”
The officer Cottreau says that the police is aware of this growing threat – it has been noted in the region this summer the presence of the Hells Angels of Quebec. “We are trying to undermine and dismantle them, but the task is daunting: it is an organization well-enough established.”