*** Two top executives of Ontario chapters of the Hells Angels, Gerald "Skinny" Ward and Terry Pink, were found guilty Friday on drug trafficking charges:
The two men were arrested along with 22 others after raids in September of 2006 on homes and clubhouses in Toronto, Oshawa, Windsor and Niagara Region. The arrests were the culmination of an 18-month undercover operation called Project Tandem. * * * Project Tandem was executed with the help of a police agent named Steven Gault, a member of the Oshawa chapter who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his work and who is now in the witness-protection program.
Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon further ruled that the motorcycle club was "a criminal organization which is dedicated to the facilitation and commission of serious criminal offences that materially benefit the members of the HAMC":
The decision is seen as a victory for police and prosecutors in their war on the HAMC, members of which have long flaunted their death's-head logo, maintaining that they are nothing more nefarious than a group of old men who like to ride motorcycles.
Gault testified at the trial that Hells Angels "have complete control of the coke dealing in the whole Niagara Region." In ruling that the Hells Angels was a criminal enterprise, the judge further relied upon the following:
[A]s of July, 2008, 75 per cent of Canada's HAMC members have been convicted of criminal offences, that a defence fund is maintained by members' monthly dues, and that members in prison are referred to as the Big House Crew.
McMahon's finding that the Canadian Hells Angels are a criminal organization supports a landmark ruling in Barrie, by Madam Justice Michelle Fuerst during a 2005 extortion trial. In another Project Tandem case in September, McMahon called the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club a highly structured criminal organization that's better run than many multinational corporations.
Gault also is a witness in the ongoing trial against Mark Stephenson, president of the Oshawa Hells Angels chapter, and Remond Akleh, a member of the Nomads branch, who allegedly conspired to commit the murder of Frank Lenti from the rival Bandidos motorcycle club.
Law enforcement seized the clubhouse of the Oshawa chapter, and Durhamregion.com provides a history of the premises with a gallery of interior and exterior photographs.
*** On Friday the assault case against Brandon Thomas Mundell, an alleged member of the Hells Angels' San Fernando Valley chapter in California, went to the jury. Earlier in the week at the trial Ventura County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Jeremy Paris testified that the motorcycle club "is a violent criminal organization whose primary crimes include assaults with deadly weapons, drug dealing and the theft of motorcycles."
*** Last Monday four local and state police agencies executed a search warrant on a Hells Angels clubhouse in Myrtle Beach, SC but provided no details.