Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jan 2005
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Daily Press (CN ON)
Author: Teviah Moro
Bookmark: (Outlaw Bikers)


As many as 12 chapters of the Hells Angels biker gang could be linked to 
the city's drug trade, which sucks millions of dollars a year out of the 
local economy, said one homegrown biker expert.

Residents spend about $2.5 million a month -- or $30 million a year -- on 
drugs in Timmins, said Yves Lavigne, the author of various books on the 
Hells Angels.

"That's $30 million that does not stay in the local economy, that does not 
get taxed, that leaves Timmins and goes into the bank accounts of Hells 
Angels and everyone involved in the network," he said.

Lavigne, a former Globe and Mail reporter, recently told The Daily Press 
about the infamous biker gang's stranglehold on the Timmins drug trade.

"Timmins is the only city in the world that has so many Hells Angels 
chapters with a vested interest in it," he said.

"There are at least 12 Hells Angels chapters in southern Ontario and Quebec 
involved in Timmins."

Lavigne, a Timmins native, said full-fledged Hells Angels members don't 
reside in the city, but a network of closely-linked associates ply their 
trade here with a virtual monopoly on the city's illicit drug market.

"They've got associates who they trust to do business, and each associate 
has a whole bunch of associates until you get down to the street-level 
dealer in Timmins," he said.

Mayor Vic Power said he's well aware of the city's drug problem.

Power said Lavigne's figures for dollars spent on the city's drug trade are 
roughly the same numbers provided to him by police.

"That's a ballpark figure but we're aware that there's a problem, sure," he 

Power said denying Timmins has a drug problem would be naive.

Though Police Chief Richard Laperriere said police have identified a Hells 
Angels link in Timmins, he disputes the claim that 12 Hells Angels chapters 
have connections here.

"That's news to me," Laperriere said. "I take exception to it and I don't 
believe it."

Lavigne, however, describes a Hells Angels network that sees drugs siphoned 
down from major suppliers to associates, who in turn, sell products to 
their own associates, eventually reaching street-level dealers.

That well-oiled machine ensures maximum profits for bikers, who control the 
product from top to bottom, he said.

Biker associates set up networks, keep dealers happy, intimidate people 
into working for them, force bar owners to let them deal to clientele, 
collect debts, expand the market into smaller communities, and eliminate 
the competition any way they see fit, Lavigne said.

Despite his skepticism, Laperriere said one Hells Angels connection was 
uncovered in Timmins as a result of Project Calvette -- a sting operation 
involving 57 law enforcement officials across the country.

"One small component was identified and it was in fact the Hells Angels," 
he said.

In September, Police arrested six people in Timmins for various offences, 
including drugs and weapons charges.

Taken into custody that day was Maurice Servant Jr., the younger brother of 
Randall Servant, who was found shot to death in his pickup truck, parked in 
front of the Vipond Road pumping station in February.

Lavigne said the death was a hit -- and a warning.

"Someone was delivering a message and this will happen more and more in 
Timmins," he said.

The murder probably won't be solved if it's an organized crime killing, 
Lavigne added.

Police are still investigating the case.
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