Pubdate: Wed, 04 Oct 2006
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Mike Zettel
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public figures or officials


WELLAND -- As part of one of the largest police operations in 
Ontario's history, six Hells Angels members and associates in Niagara 
were arrested last Thursday. The 500-officer operation, dubbed 
Project Tandem, involved the Ontario Provincial Police, the 
coordinated efforts of the Niagara Regional Police and eight other 
police departments across the province, as well as the RCMP.

The arrests capped an 18-month investigation led by the provincial 
biker enforcement unit. In all, 27 people across the province, 
including 15 full members the Hells Angels and one member of the 
Vagabond's motorcycle club, were taken into custody.

In Niagara, police arrested three associates and three full members, 
including 58-year-old  [Name redacted] , alleged to be the leader of 
the biker gang's Niagara chapter.

His charges include instructing the committing of offences for a 
criminal organization, commission of an offence for a criminal 
organization, two counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable 
offence, four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, four 
counts of possession of proceeds of crime and possession of a 
restricted firearm with ammunition.

Also arrested were alleged members  [Name redacted] , 41,  [Name 
redacted] , 52; as wells as alleged associates  [Name redacted] , 
46,  [Name redacted] , 59, and  [Name redacted] , 51. They face a 
total of 44 charges.

NRP Staff Sgt. George Ravenek said there were 85 NRP officers 
involved in the Niagara-end of the operation and a further 45 OPP officers.

The operation took officers to the local Hells Angels chapter 
clubhouse on Darby Road in rural Welland. Arrests also occurred at a 
further half dozen other locations in the Welland and Port Colborne 
area, including the Cedar Bay Inn.

Across the province, police seized about $1-million worth of cash and 
property, along with $467,100 in Canadian currency. Police also 
seized 10 vehicles worth $303,000, five Harley Davidson motorcycles 
worth $137,000, $60,000 worth of jewelry and $7,000 worth of electronics.

Police also seized 13 kg of cocaine, 50,000 ecstasy tablets, 50 
pounds of marijuana and two kg of crystal meth Ravenek said the same 
drugs were found here.

"It's going to be a significant blow to their (Hells Angels) drug 
trafficking network," he said. "But that's not to say, there aren't 
others who are going to step up."

Ravenek explained the drug trade works like any other commodity: on 
the basis of supply and demand.

"As long as there's a demand, somebody will find a way to meet the 
supply needs."

Ravenek said it'll be interesting to see if the local chapter, which 
officially formed in 2001, can survive and recover with three less 
members, including its captain. Typically a chapter requires six 
members to achieve club status, he said.

The biker enforcement unit is led by the OPP but contains officers 
from local departments. The NRP has two officers permanently assigned 
to the unit.
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MAP posted-by: Elaine