RCMP believe they have dealt a significant blow to the Hells Angels' recent attempt to grow their numbers in the Maritimes.
On Thursday evening, RCMP arrested nine men affiliated with the HA on Prince Edward Island. The CBC reported that, in a press conference, Det. Staff Sgt. Len Isnor hailed the arrests as a big move in the fight against organized crime in Canada's smallest province.
"That's the whole chapter there. I think that will have a big impact," said Isnor.
The infamous biker gang is trying to re-establish its numbers through hang-around and affiliated groups in the Maritime provinces after their Halifax chapter was disbanded in 2001 following an RCMP raid.
In late 2016, starting in Nova Scotia, the RCMP began warning of the group's reformation in the Maritimes after Halifax police arrested an alleged member of the Hells Angels in a drug raid. Police called the arrest a "significant blow" to the club.
The PEI chapter was in hangaround status which means that they were in the preliminary stages of forming an official chapter. This particular group was affiliated with a Ontario chapter out of Woodbridge. After a year of having their loyalty tested the group would have had the chance to become prospects and after that, gain official status.
Hang-arounds, also referred to as puppet-clubs, have been started in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The CBC reports that Isnor said this was an opportune time to tackle the group forming in PEI.
"It makes the most sense. Get them before they get established. You don't want them established in your community. It's time to nip it in the bud now. It's very good tactics," said Isnor.
"Once they get established it's very difficult to get them out."
The men, aged 19 to 63 and hail from across the Island, have been charged with a myriad of crimes relating to gaming and participating in any activity of a criminal organization.
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