*** Prosecutors in London, Ontario have dropped their case against two members of the Outlaws, including its national president Mario Parente, after the principal witness decided that he no longer was prepared to testify. The discontinuance is an anti-climatic ending to Project Retire which has resulted in the conviction of 48 members and associates of the motorcycle club -- with 15 pleading guilty of organized crime charges -- since their arrests in 2002. The fate of the clubhouse "remains an open question."
*** Following his conviction on drug trafficking charges, prosecutors are seeking 11 years in prison for Gerald "Skinny" Ward who is a founding member of the Niagara chapter of Hells Angels in Ontario:
"Mr. Ward had led an uninterrupted life of crime," Crown Attorney Bradley Reitz told Mr. Justice John McMahon of Ontario Superior Court court this morning. Reitz noted that Ward's criminal record began in 1965, and that his 21 convictions include drug and weapons offenses, and six conspiracy convictions. He is now awaiting sentencing on convictions of trafficking cocaine and possession of proceeds of a crime for the benefit of the Hells Angels. "It's just an utterly appalling criminal record," Reitz told court this morning.
Ward was arrested with two dozen others in late 2006 following an 18-month undercover investigation into Hells Angels motorcycle clubs throughout Ontario dubbed Project Tandem, and the court will annouce its sentence on March 26.
*** Prosecutors in Quebec City are seeking 13 years in prison for cocaine smuggler Yvan Cech who supplied the Hells Angels:
Crown prosecutor Charles Levasseur asked Friday that Yvan Cech, 65, receive a 13-year sentence for his role in smuggling 700 kilos of cocaine, packed into aluminum ingots, into the country where much of it was sold to the Hells Angels. * * * At the time of his arrest in 2006, the Slovakian-born businessman, who is a Canadian citizen, owned and operated a hotel-casino in the Dominican Republic while splitting much of his time in Quebec City.
The court will annouce its sentence on April 17. Cech was arrested in 2006 pursuant to Project Fusion which targeted his cocaine smuggling network, and others snared were a dirty cop who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Cech's son-in-law who was sentenced to 9 years in prison.
*** In Quebec City the RCMP have charged 22 people, including two members of Hells Angels, for allegedly participating in "a crime ring that sold contraband tobacco to fund a drug operation":
The RCMP said it is the first time charges of gangsterism have been laid against members of a biker gang in connection with the trafficking of contraband tobacco. "We knew that the organized crime was involved in illicit tobacco sales, and now we hope to be able to prove in court that the profits of those sales were used to produce drugs that were sold in the Quebec City region,'' RCMP Sgt. Luc Bessette told a news conference in Quebec City. One of the people targeted was Gilles (Le Vieux) Dumas, 58, a longtime member of the Quebec City chapter of the Hells Angels. The other Hells Angel named in the investigation is Marc Roberge, 45, also a member of the gang's Quebec City chapter.
Dumas "recently completed an eight-year prison term for the attempted murder of a rival gang member shot in 1996," and Roberge "has served a lengthy prison term, for taking part in an arson fire that killed a person in Quebec City in 1996."
*** Robert Shannon, "who distributed cocaine and marijuana for the Hells Angels in British Columbia," was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction in a federal court in Seattle, WA last December on drug trafficking and money laundering charges:
Prosecutors say they will oppose any effort by Robert Shannon to serve his prison time in his native Canada. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan said cross-border criminals such as Shannon "should not be able to further exploit their citizenship to avoid paying for their crimes." Shannon had close ties to the Hells Angels in British Columbia and, according to prosecutors, used violence and intimidation routinely. * * * The government alleged in sentencing documents that Shannon, a Langley, B.C., trucker who's boasted that he made millions from the drug trade, once paid to have a co-conspirator killed and threatened an Abbotsford, B.C., co-defendant who testified against him. Dozens of others have been charged in the case, which has resulted in 39 prosecutions and the seizure of more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine, 7,000 pounds of "B.C. Bud" marijuana and $3.5 million in cash, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Shannon used his trucking firm to smuggle marijuana into the United States and cocaine into Canada.
Of the four Bandidos they attacked, two are dead. Prosecutor Tony Rogers said one died in a motorcycle wreck in Beaumont, Texas. The other was murdered in Odessa, Texas, and police have "no good leads," he said. Rogers told Circuit Judge Kent Crow that the case had been difficult from the beginning because the victims had refused to help the prosecution in any way.
The case against a fifth Hells Angels member allegedly involved in the attack was continued to October 12 because he currently is in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and the case against a sixth member was dismissed after his deportation to Portugal.
*** Bryan Perun, one of the four Pagans arrested last week in connection with the murder of a man during a bar altercation in a suburb outside of Pittsburgh, PA, was a former city cop who had been fired for neglect of duty, lack of truthfulness and other violations.
*** A member of the Mongols has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of an injunction ordered by a federal judge prohibiting members of the motorcycle club from wearing or distributing its logo.