Hells Angels MC criminal allegations and incidents

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Hells Angels MC
Founded March 17, 1948[1]
Founded by Otto Friedli[1]
Founding location Fontana, California,
United States[2]
Years active 1948–present
Territory 444 chapters, 56 countries, 5 continents[3]
Membership (est.) 2,000–2,500[3]
Criminal activities Racketeering, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, assault, extortion, money laundering, murder, prostitution, contract killing, trafficking in stolen goods[4]
Allies AK81,[5] Cali Cartel,[6] Coffin Cheaters,[7] Indian Posse,[8] Iron Horsemen,[9] Penose,[10] Rizzuto crime family,[11] Sinaloa Cartel,[12] West End Gang[13]
Rivals Bandidos, Comancheros,[14] Finks,[14] Miri-Clan,[15] Mongols, Notorious,[14] Outlaws, Pagans, Philadelphia crime family,[16] Rock Machine, Satudarah,[17] Vagos[18]
Notable members Sonny Barger
Maurice Boucher
Yves Buteau
[Jay Dobyns]]
Mark Guardado
Thomas Möller
Jørn Nielsen
Yves Trudeau

Numerous police and international intelligence agencies classify the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club as a motorcycle gang and contend that members carry out widespread violent crimes, including drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods, and extortion, and are involved in prostitution.[19][20] Members of the organization have continuously asserted that they are only a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who have joined to ride motorcycles together, to organize social events such as group road trips, fundraisers, parties, and motorcycle rallies, and that any crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who carried them out and not the club as a whole.[21][22] Members of the club have been accused of crimes and/or convicted in many host nations.

Australia[edit]

The Hells Angels expanded to Australia in 1975, initially establishing chapters in Melbourne and Sydney, and now have around 250 members and 14 chapters in the country. They are one of around 35 outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia, which have an estimated 3,500 members in total.[23][24] The Hells Angels' activities in Australia have traditionally included drug trafficking, prostitution, armed robbery, arms trafficking, fencing and murder-for-hire,[25] but have more recently moved into legitimate businesses such as gyms, tattoo parlours, haulage companies, and the security industry. Police allege they use mainstream industries to launder existing funds and to exploit new income streams, using the strategies they developed during a series of gang wars to intimidate business competitors.[26] The Australian Hells Angels have been involved in conflicts with the Bandidos,[27] Comancheros, Finks, Lones Wolves, Nomads and Notorious,[14] while they have allied themselves with the Coffin Cheaters, Immortals, Red Devils, Satans Soldiers, Vikings[28] and the Prisoners of War, a prison gang operating inside HMP Barwon.[29][30]

New South Wales[edit]

Members of the rival motorcycle gang, the Comancheros, and members of the Hells Angels were believed to be involved in a clash at Sydney Airport on Sunday, March 22, 2009. The clash resulted in one man, Hells Angels associate Anthony Zervas, being beaten to death. Police estimated as many as 15 men were involved in the violence. Documents released by NSW Police detail the brawl as a result of a Comanchero gang member and a Hells Angel being on the same flight from Melbourne. Four suspects were arrested as a result of the altercation. As a result of heightening violence, New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees announced the state police anti-gang squad would be boosted to 125 members from 50.[31]

On the night of March 29, 2009, Hells Angels member Peter Zervas, the brother of the man killed during the Sydney Airport Brawl a week earlier, was shot and injured in retaliation as he left his car outside his home.[32]

On July 20, 2011, a NSW judge dismissed a bid by the state's police commissioner to have the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club declared a criminal organization, under laws introduced to NSW parliament in 2009 allowing the court to declare criminal organizations as declared organizations.[33]

Queensland[edit]

Bruno and Nuno Da Silva, two Portuguese immigrant twin brothers and former Brisbane Hells Angels members, were arrested following a police surveillance operation and pleaded guilty to trafficking methylamphetamine from June 2012 to October 2013. The brothers operated from an East Brisbane locksmith business and passed a percentage of their drug earnings to the Hells Angels at weekly meetings, although they had left the club at the time of their arrest. In December 2015, Bruno was sentenced to nine years imprisonment, while Nuno was sentenced to seven years.[34][35]

In 2012, Peter Sidirourgos and Zeljko "Steve" Mitrovic, both senior Hells Angels members in Sydney, were granted Nomad status and spearheaded a push into the Gold Coast, founding a chapter in the suburb of Burleigh Heads.[36] Police stated in 2015 that the Hells Angels were now the most active club on the Gold Coast after anti-bikie laws weakened the rival Bandidos and Finks (a club later patched over to the Mongols), who had previously been more prominent in the area.[37]

The Hells Angels were one of 26 motorcycle clubs designated as criminal organizations in the state of Queensland under the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act, which was passed on October 16, 2013 and went into effect immediately.[38][39]

South Australia[edit]

Similar to the case in Queensland, the Hells Angels were also declared a criminal organization in the state of South Australia along with nine other motorcycle clubs under legislation that came into force in August 2015. Under the laws, it is an offence for members of these organizations to gather in groups of three or more in public or wear gang colours and logos.[40][41] Five alleged Hells Angels members and prospects became the first to be charged under the laws after they were arrested in a series of raids across Adelaide on December 31, 2015.[42]

Victoria[edit]

In 1980, Melbourne chapter founding members Peter Hill and Raymond Hamment flew to California to visit Oakland chapter president Kenny Walton in prison. Walton taught them how to manufacture amphetamines, paving the way for the drug's introduction into Australia, and in return, the Australians supplied the Oakland chapter with 300 litres of the chemical phenylacetone, enough to produce $50 million worth of amphetamines. Hill posted the phenylacetone in three-litre pineapple juice tins to his closest US contact, James Patton "Sleepy Jim" Brandes. The Hells Angels rented a farmhouse in Melbourne's northeast, near Hurstbridge, where they produced amphetamines in 50 pound (22.7 kilogram) batches worth $600,000. The drug lab was raided by the Special Operations Group on March 10, 1982, and Hill and three other Hells Angels were arrested. Eventually, investigators arrested 19 people and seized three kilograms of amphetamines, as well as cash, explosives, handguns and a machine-gun. This sparked an internal feud over the gang's operations that led to around 40 violent incidents. Hill and another member, Roger Biddlestone, cut their ties with the Hells Angels and cooperated with police, prompting the club to put a contract on their lives. Nine Hells Angels were charged with conspiring to murder Hill and Biddlestone, but Biddlestone refused to testify and the charges against his former club mates were dropped; he was subsequently convicted of contempt of court. Hill was convicted on drugs charges in 1987 and jailed alongside a number of others. During the investigation, codenamed Omega Two, the police tracked club members' movements ferociously, prompting Jim Brandes, the Melbourne Hells Angels' American contact, to try to assassinate Bob Armstrong, a detective on the case. Brandes, who had previously been acquitted of the 1978 attempted murder two police officers in the US, flew to Melbourne but was immediately deported.[43][44]

Anton Kenny, a former president of the Hells Angels' Australian Nomads chapter who was kicked out of the club in 1983 for cooperating with police, was killed after being shot five times with a .32 caliber pistol following an afternoon of drinking at the home of Melbourne drug dealer Dennis Allen on November 7, 1985. His body was disposed of by having its legs cut off with a chainsaw and stuffed inside a 44-gallon drum with concrete and lime, and was discovered in the Yarra River nearly four months later. According to a witness, Kenny was murdered by Allen because he called him a "rat". Allen died of heart failure less than two years later, having never been charged with the murder.[45]

Terrence Raymond "Terry" Tognolini, the president and enforcer in the Hells Angels Nomads, was involved in an apparent road rage incident with motorist Mustafa Yildirim in Campbellfield, Melbourne on December 22, 1995. Tognolini followed Yildirim to his workplace and the men traded blows until they were separated before Tognolini retrieved a gun from his car and fired several shots at Yildirim, missing him on each occasion. Police raided Tognolini's home and found five cannabis plants in the backyard. He was charged with unlawful assault, assault with a weapon, making threats to kill, possessing cannabis and cultivating a narcotic plant. The case against him collapsed, however, when Yildirim refused to testify after being repeatedly harassed.[46]

Terrence Tognolini was later implicated in the murder of Vicki Joy Jacobs, a 37-year-old woman who was shot six times as she slept next to her six-year-old son in her apartment in Long Gully, Bendigo on June 12, 1999. The previous year, Jacobs had given evidence that helped convict her ex-husband Gerald David Preston for the August 1996 murders of drug dealer and mechanic Les Knowles and his employee Tim Richards in Adelaide, and her testimony implicated the Hells Angels in hiring Preston for the killings. The prosecution heard that Tognolini had contracted Preston to murder Knowles who was trying to expand into the Hells Angels' drug territory, and also sold him the Luger pistol that was used in the murders. Victoria Police bulldozed their way into the fortified Thomastown headquarters of the Nomads chapter in July 1999 as part of the investigation, seizing a sawn-off shotgun, bulletproof vest, bags of documents and three motorcycles.[47][48] Tognolini was overseas and Preston imprisoned at the time of Jacobs' murder and no one has been charged with the crime; however, a coronial inquest in 2004 declared that police believe she was killed on the orders of the Hells Angels as a payment for Preston remaining silent over the club's involvement in the Adelaide murders.[49][50]

Hells Angels members Raymond Joseph "Ray" Hamment, Jr. and Paul Peterson, and club associate Andrew Hinton, each pleaded guilty to charges of conduct endangering life, intentionally causing serious injury, false imprisonment and rioting after abducting Brendan Schievella from outside a bar and holding him captive for five hours in Ivanhoe, Melbourne on June 25, 2005. Schievella was found with a toe amputated but told police he could not recall how it happened and no motive has been established for the incident.[51][52]

In January 2007, Terrence Tognolini was expelled from the Hells Angels, had his tattoos removed, was savagely beaten and dumped on the street outside the Thomastown clubhouse after his fellow members learned that he was the subject of child sex allegations.[53] Police arrested him on blackmail and arson charges and for a series of sex offences six months later. He was found guilty of 18 counts of supplying a drug of dependence to a child, one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice and imprisoned for six-and-a-half years in 2009, and was further convicted of nine counts of blackmail, three of arson, two of intentionally causing injury and stalking and had 18 months added to his sentence in 2010. Many of Toglioni's crimes were part of an extortion racket he ran, using his former Hells Angels connections as well as threats and assaults to intimidate his victims.[54][55]

On June 18, 2007, Hells Angels member Christopher Wayne Hudson opened fire on two men and a woman during an argument in the Central Business District of Melbourne; after assaulting his girlfriend Kara Douglas, two male bystanders, Brendan Keilar and Paul de Waard attempted to assist Douglas. Hudson pulled a gun and shot all three, killing Keilar, on the corner of William Street and Flinders Lane.[56] Hudson fled from the scene and went into hiding for two days, before turning himself in to police on June 20, 2007 in Wallan, north of Melbourne.[57] In May 2008, Hudson pleaded guilty to the murder of Brendan Keilar[58] and was sentenced that September to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years before becoming eligible for parole.[59]

Hells Angels member Glyn David Dickman was found guilty of intentionally causing serious injury and threatening to kill, and acquitted of theft, while club hang-around Ali Chaouk was found guilty of recklessly causing serious injury, threat to kill and false imprisonment in October 2014 after the pair beat 18-year-old German tourist Faisal Aakbari with a baseball bat at the Hells Angels clubhouse in Thomastown in September 2009 when he falsely claimed to be a club member. Aakbari's injuries included bleeding between the skull and lining of the brain, a broken leg and lacerations to his scalp and face.[60]

Peter John "Skitzo" Hewat, sergeant-at-arms of the Hells Angels' East County chapter in Campbellfield, Melbourne, was arrested in March 2013 after striking a 64-year-old woman during a dispute over his dog, and was again arrested that October as part of a statewide raid targeting the Hells Angels in which thirteen people were arrested and weapons and drugs were seized.[61][62] Hewat was sentenced to 10 months in jail in January 2014 after he pleaded guilty to assault, weapons offences, handling stolen goods and operating a tow truck without the proper licence.[63]

The Bandidos reportedly declared war on the Hells Angels after an ambush on several Bandidos members outside the affiliated Diablos' clubhouse in Melton, Melbourne on March 1, 2013 in which over 30 shots were fired and two men, including Bandidos national sergeant-at-arms Toby Mitchell, were wounded.[64] The Hells Angels Nomads chapter were blamed for the attack and brothers Daniel and Ben Pegoraro, both members of Hells Angels puppet club the Red Devils, were questioned by police.[65] Within a week of the shooting, a clubhouse in Bendigo linked to the Hells Angels was burned down and the Pegoraro brothers' home in Epping, Melbourne was attacked in a drive-by shooting.[66] Although prolonged violence was expected, the feud seemingly ended after senior members of the two clubs held peace talks.[67][68]

Ray Hamment, Jr., the president of the Hells Angels Nomads, pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly causing serious injury and was jailed three months after attacking a man who approached him in a McDonald's restaurant in Thomastown on June 7, 2013.[69]

The Hells Angels carried out drive-by shootings (using either AK-47s or M1 carbines) and attempted bombings on two properties, a tattoo parlour in Dandenong and a gym in Hallam, owned by Comancheros state president Michael "Mick" Murray in the early hours of September 30, 2013 after several Hells Angels were assaulted while trying to recover stolen motorcycles from the rival club. Within hours of the attacks, the clubhouse of the Hells Angels' Darkside chapter in Seaford, Melbourne was shot at in an apparent retaliation.[70] On October 13, 2013, Victoria police raided every Hells Angels property in the state in an attempt to curb bikie-related violence, seizing guns, ammunition, drugs and cash, and arresting 13 people, but failed to retrieve the assault rifles used in the shootings.[71] Dennis Basic, a prospective member of the Darkside chapter, was arrested for the attempted bombings of the properties and pleaded guilty to thirteen charges which also included firearm and drug possession; having been held in custody since his arrest until the time of his sentencing in December 2015, the judge ruled that the time he had served in jail was sufficient penalty but ordered he serve a 12-month community corrections order.[72]

The president of the Hells Angels' Darkside chapter, Mohammed "Sam" Khodr, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for selling more than $220,000 worth of amphetamines to undercover police officers in January 2015. He had been targeted during an investigation code-named Operation Statin, part of a major crackdown on motorcycle gangs by Victoria Police, and sold 910 grams of the drug to officers in 11 separate transactions between October 2013 and February 2014. He also sold a Browning semi-automatic pistol with ammunition to the officers for $10,500.[73]

Belgium[edit]

Belgium became home to its first Hells Angels chapter in the summer of 1997, at which time a major Belgian police inquiry into the club immediately began. In May 1999, Belgium became the first country in the world to declare the Hells Angels an illegal organization. A court in Ghent ruled that the motorcycle club amounts to a private militia – membership of which is banned under Belgian law.[74]

On October 4, 2009 several Hells Angels and allied Red Devils performed a raid on an Outlaws clubhouse in Kortrijk. Shots were fired and three Outlaws were wounded before the Hells Angels and their Red Devils comrades fled the scene. The incident occurred after members of the Outlaws supposedly pushed over a motorcycle belonging to Red Devils president Johan F. in Moeskroen. The raid is also thought to be a part of a territorial dispute between the Hells Angels and the Red Devils on one side and the Outlaws on the other. Several months before the raid, on July 24, 2009, members of the Red Devils and Hells Angels already retaliated by setting fire to motorcycles outside an Outlaws clubhouse. Eventually six Hells Angels and two Red Devils were convicted for attempted murder and given sentences from five to twenty years in prison.[75]

Hells Angels member Ali Ipekci shot dead Outlaws member Freddy Put, hangaround Jef Banken and supporter Michael Gerekens in an industrial zone in Maasmechelen where the Outlaws were holding an opening reception for a new tire centre on May 20, 2011. He was convicted of triple murder and sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment on February 6, 2015.[76][77]

In October 2014, 47-year-old British man Conrad Toland was arrested by Spanish police in Madrid and brought before the National Court in Madrid to face extradition proceedings to Belgium where he was wanted to complete a 10-year sentence for smuggling 155 kilograms of cocaine into the country from Ecuador in July 2011 inside a tuna shipment. He then supplied the drugs to the Hells Angels chapter in Bruges. He also faced charges in Belgium of membership in an armed gang and money laundering.[78][79]

Canada[edit]

An April 2009 CBC News article stated that the Angels have 34 chapters operating in Canada with 460 full-fledged (patched) members.[80] According to this article, the Hells Angels had at that time 15 chapters in Ontario, 8 in British Columbia, 5 in Quebec, 3 in Alberta, 2 in Saskatchewan and 1 in Manitoba.[80] In a speech to the House of Commons, Bloc Québécois MP Réal Ménard (Hochelaga) stated that there were 38 HAMC chapters across Canada in the mid-1990s.[81] The Vancouver Sun newspaper reports that Canada has more Hells Angels members per capita than any other country, including the U.S., where there are chapters in about 20 states.[82]

The Hells Angels established their first Canadian chapters in the province of Quebec during the seventies. In 1977 the first Canadian chapters were established near Laval and Sherbrooke when former members of a club called the Popeyes were patched over. In Western Canada, in 1983 a club known as Satan's Angels were patched over to form the first BC chapters. The Outlaws and several affiliated independent clubs such as Satan's Choice and Para-Dice Riders were able to keep the Angels from assuming a dominant position in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, until the nineties, while the Grim Reapers of Alberta, Los Bravos in Manitoba, and several other independent clubs across the prairies formed a loose alliance that kept the Hells Angels from assuming dominance in the prairie provinces until the late nineties. In 1997 the Grim Reapers (Alberta) were patched over, in 1998, the Rebels (Saskatchewan) joined, and by the end of 2000, under the leadership of Walter "Nurget" Stadnick, and after the largest patchover in Canadian history occurred in Ontario, the Hells Angels had become the dominant club not just in BC and Quebec, but all across Canada, with chapters in at least seven of ten provinces and affiliates in at least two of the three territories.[83]

Lindsay and Bonner trial

In 2002 Crown Prosecutor Graeme Williams sought to have the Hells Angels formally declared a "criminal organization" by applying the anti-gang legislation (Bill C-24)[84] to a criminal prosecution involving the Hells Angels and two of its members, Stephen (Tiger) Lindsay and Raymond (Razor) Bonner.

The prosecution team launched a three-year investigation with the aim of collecting evidence for the trial.

At the conclusion of the trial in June 2005, Ontario Justice Michelle Fuerst ruled that Lindsay and Bonner had committed extortion in association with a criminal organization and had used the Hells Angels' reputation as a weapon.[85][86]

British Columbia[edit]

Investigations

In late 2004 to 2005, the culmination of investigations into the actions of the motorcycle club led to charges against 18 people, including members of the Hells Angels and other associates of the gang.[87]

Background

In July 2003, a man offered to give police information and became the police agent around whom much of the E-Pandora investigation ensued. Charges arose from project E-Pandora, an extensive police investigation, into the alleged criminal activities of the East End Charter of the Hells Angels (the "EEHA"). The evidence in this case included intercepted private communications including telephone and audio recordings, physical surveillance, and expert evidence. The case would eventually be dubbed the trial of R. v. Giles,[88] and would see three charged individuals appear before the Supreme Court of British Columbia (SCBC). 72 appearances would span from May 14, 2007 until February 20, 2008 and, by order of Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie, include a publication ban on related trials.[89]

Ruling

On March 27, 2008, the SCBC Justice MacKenzie ruled against prosecutors who had attempted to convict a Hells Angels member of possession for the benefit of a criminal organization. Although two associates of the Hells Angels, David Roger Revell, 43, and Richard Andrew Rempel, 24, were convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking, Justice MacKenzie concluded that with the acquittal of the only Hells Angel member being tried, David Francis Giles, on a charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, a second charge against him (count two) of possessing it for the benefit of a criminal organization had to fail as well.[90] In summary, Revell and Rempel were found guilty but Giles was found not guilty on either count. Also, Revell and Rempel were found not guilty on the charge of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.

In her acquittal of Giles, Justice MacKenzie said she found the evidence against him was "weak" and intercepted communications were "unreliable" because they were difficult to hear. She further stated that the Crown prosecutors had failed to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt the group was working to the "benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization, to wit: the East End charter of the Hells Angels".

Project Halo, a three-year investigation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Team of the RCMP, into alleged criminal activity with the Nanaimo chapter. The investigation culminated in the search warrant being executed on December 12, 2003. On November 9, 2007 a seizure order was executed, under section 467.12(1) of the Criminal Code, on the clubhouse by dozens of heavily armed RCMP officers.[80]

Manitoba[edit]

The Hells Angels' expansion into Manitoba began with a relationship with Los Bravos, a local motorcycle club. In 2000 Los Bravos were "patched over," becoming a full-fledged Hells Angels chapter.[91] The following investigations over the last two years have been executed with the following charges.

On February 15, 2006 the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, along with over 150 police officers from the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service and Brandon Police Service, made numerous arrests and conducted searches as part of the investigation of Project Defense.[92] Thirteen people were indicted on a variety of charges, including drug trafficking, extortion, proceeds of crime, and organized crime related offenses. Only 3 were members of the Hells Angels.

Project Defense was initiated in November 2004 and focused on high level members of drug trafficking cells in the province of Manitoba, including members of the Manitoba Hells Angels. During the investigation police made numerous seizures that totaled in excess of seven kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of methamphetamine from drug traffickers within the Manitoba Hells Angels organization and other drug trafficking cells. Arrest warrants were issued for thirteen individuals and 12 search warrants were authorized for locations in Winnipeg and area.

This long-term covert investigation was initiated by the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, which was established in the spring of 2004 when an Agreement was signed between the Winnipeg Police Service, the RCMP, the Brandon Police Service and the Province of Manitoba. The mandate of the task force was to disrupt and dismantle organized crime in the province of Manitoba.

On December 12, 2007 Project Drill[93] came to an end, with Winnipeg Police raiding the Hells Angels clubhouse on Scotia Street. Project Drill started the previous evening with arrests in Thompson and continued throughout the night and early morning in Winnipeg and St. Pierre-Jolys. During the course of Project Drill, police seized vehicles, approximately $70,000 cash, firearms, marijuana, Hells Angel related documents/property and other offense related property. As of December 12, 14 people were in custody and four were still being sought.

Police said it was the second time the chapter president was the target in a police sting since the gang set up shop in the city in 2001. Hells Angels prospect member Al LeBras was also arrested at his Barber Street home in Wednesday's raids.

The recently[when?] amended Criminal Property Forfeiture Act gives the province the power to seize the proceeds of crime. Police have exercised similar authority against Hells Angels members in other Canadian cities.[94][95]

On December 2, 2009 Project Divide[96] culminated with 26 arrests, and 8 arrest warrants still outstanding after the year-long investigation. The investigation and arrests targeted alleged drug-trafficking and related activities of the Zig Zag Crew – a puppet club of the Hells Angels Winnipeg chapter.

Other joint investigations include:

  • Project Develop,[97] a joint 18-month investigation with Ontario, New Brunswick, and British Columbia
  • In January 2006, Project Husky,[98] a two-year investigation involving police forces in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, resulted in the arrest of twenty-seven suspects[99] including five full-patch Angels from across Eastern and Central Canada
  • Project Koker,[100] 23-month investigation in Edmonton and Calgary
  • Project Halo,[101] a three-year investigation by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Team of the RCMP, into alleged criminal activity with the Nanaimo chapter. The investigation culminated in the search warrant being executed on December 12, 2003. On November 9, 2007 a seizure order was executed, under section 467.12(1) of the Criminal Code, on the clubhouse by dozens of heavily armed RCMP officers.[102]

Ontario[edit]

In September 2006, after an 18-month investigation conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies and dubbed "Project Tandem," 500 officers and 21 tactical teams raided property connected to the Hells Angels chapters in Ontario. At least 27 members were arrested of which 15 were members of the Hells Angels. Property seized was worth more than 1 million dollars and included $470,000 in cash, $300,000 in vehicles and $140,000 in motorcycles. During the raids, drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy were seized; the total street value of drugs seized was more than 3 million dollars.[103][104][105]

In April 2007, after another 18-month investigation, this one dubbed "Project Develop," 32 Club Houses were raided in Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia. The Hells Angels Clubhouse on 498 Eastern Avenue in Toronto was raided by the Biker Enforcement Unit of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and members of the Toronto Police Service on April 4, 2007, at least 15 members of the Hells Angels were detained and charged with drug and weapons offenses at the Eastern Avenue Clubhouse raid.[106][107][108] According to police, Project Develop seized some 500 litres of GHB worth an estimated $996,000, nine kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of hashish and oxycodone and Viagra pills. Police also seized $21,000 in cash. Project Develop also seized 67 rifles, five handguns, three pairs of brass knuckles and a police baton.[107]

On May 21, 2011, five of the accused arrested as part of Project Develop were convicted by a jury of various drug offenses including trafficking in cocaine and oxycodone, participating in a conspiracy to traffic GHB and possession of GHB for the purpose of trafficking. One of the accused was convicted of possessing a restricted firearm without a license. However, one accused, represented by defence lawyer Lenny Hochberg, was acquitted of two counts of trafficking handguns and possession of brass knuckles and another accused, Larry Pooler the Toronto chapter vice-president who represented himself, was acquitted of two counts of possessing unrestricted firearms without a license, two counts of trafficking oxycodone and one count of participating in a conspiracy to traffic GHB. Furthermore, all accused were acquitted of all charges of acting in association with, or for the benefit of, a criminal organization.[109][110][111]

Quebec[edit]

The Quebec Biker war between the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine began in 1994 and continued until late 2002 and claimed more than 150 lives, including innocent bystanders.

The emergence of biker gangs in Quebec happened contemporaneously with the United States. Quebec's economic crisis of the 1920s saw many of Quebec's urban population heading for the rural communities in order to cultivate lands to provide for themselves and their families. The settlers' children, like many youth of this era, were rebellious and rejected their parents' values. While the American gangs were created by World War II veterans, in Quebec the formation of motorcycle clubs which was seen as an expression of this rebellion. By the 1960s, there were about 150 motorcycle clubs in Quebec that incorporated many of the same characteristics as American biker clubs, although they mainly operated in rural communities instead of in major cities. The expansion of these groups flourished during the 1970s, as a few popular gangs, notably the Hells Angels and the Outlaws, grew almost 45% due to Quebec's biker groups affiliating themselves with their American counterparts. The Quebec chapter of the Hells Angels at its prime included various clubhouses across Quebec which housed many of the gang’s puppet groups, who would often carry out the gang's criminal activity. Every Quebec region had its own puppet club: Rowdy Crew Montreal, Evil Ones Drummondville, Satan’s Guard Saguenay, and Jokers St-Jean, which includes Maurice Boucher's son Francis Boucher as a full-fledged member.

Maurice (aka Mom) Boucher was the leader of the Quebec chapters and second-in-command of the Canadian Nomad chapter, a chapter with no fixed geographic base. In May 2002, Boucher received a life sentence, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years, after being convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the killings of two Canadian prison guards, ambushed on their way home.[112]

On April 15, 2009, operation SharQc was conducted by the provincial police force Sûreté du Québec.[113] The first specialized organized crime law enforcement task force in the province was composed of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), the Sûreté du Québec and the Montréal Police. Their goal was to investigate the Nomad chapter of the Hells Angels in the Montreal and Quebec City regions until it was dismantled two years later to make way for a bigger, province-wide Task force.

The Hells Angels threat in Quebec and Canada resulted in the first anti-gang law in Canadian legislation, as the Canadian government wished to build on the success of the American anti-gang legislation known as RICO. Furthermore, during the period the Canadian anti-gang legislation was created, many Montrealers were experiencing a high volume of violent acts which threatened civilians.

The tough shell of secrecy that protected the Hells Angels for years finally cracked during an investigation that has resulted in the arrests of almost every member of the gang in Quebec.[citation needed] On April 15, 2009, operation SharQc was conducted by the provincial police force Sûreté du Québec. According to police, at the time it was the biggest strike at the HAMC in Canada's history and probably in all of HAMC's history.[citation needed] In all, 177 strikes were conducted by the police, 123 members were arrested, charged with for first-degree murder, attempted murder, gangsterism or drug trafficking. The police seized $5 million in cash, dozens of kilograms of cocaine, marijuana and hashish, and thousands of pills. The operation was expected to lead to the closing of 22 unsolved murders. Operation SharQc involved a full-patch member of the gang turning informant, a very rare occurrence in Quebec.[113][114]

Denmark[edit]

Hells Angels in Sundbyøster, Copenhagen (2011).

Conflicts between youth gangs from the Copenhagen districts of Amager Vest, Amager Øst and Nørrebro started to occur in the early 1970s and by the late 1970s, the Galloping Goose, Nomads, Iron Sculls and Dirty Angels motorcycle clubs united as Unionen MC before applying for membership of the Hells Angels.[115] The former Unionen officially became the first Scandinavian Hells Angels chapter on December 30, 1980, setting up chapters in Copenhagen's Titangade and Nørrebro districts. Shortly thereafter, the Filthy Few, an Amager-based club, merged with the Nøragersmindebanden to form Bullshit MC, settling in Freetown Christiania where they benefited from the trade in cannabis products and challenged the Hells Angels for control of Copenhagen's biker scene.[116] The two clubs would wage war against each other between September 1983 and December 1985. The Copenhagen biker war began on September 24, 1983 when three Bullshit members and a woman entered the Søpromenaden restaurant, a known Hells Angels hangout, at Dag Hammerskjolds Alle 37. Two of the three Bullshit members, Søren Grabow Grander (November 25, 1962 – September 24, 1983) and Flemming Hald Jensen (April 4, 1962 – September 24, 1983) were killed in a bottle and knife attack. Hells Angels member Bent "Blondie" Svane Nielsen was convicted for the murders.[117] In November 1983, Bullshit president Henning Norbert "Makrellen" Knudsen (January 15, 1960 – May 25, 1984) was interviewed on the live television show Mellem Mennesker ("Between Humans"), which aired on DR TV, and stated that he would not allow an American motorcycle club such as the Hells Angels to gain control in Denmark.[118][119] Knudsen was shot and killed with a machine gun in front of his wife Pia outside their home on May 25, 1984. At the time of his death, Knudsen and other Bullshit members were the prime suspects for the double murder of two young men (aged 16 and 20) in Amager six days before. A Yugoslavian immigrant would later be convicted of those murders, however.[120] Three Hells Angels were convicted for their part in Knudsen's killing; Jens-Peter Kristensen was sentenced to twelve years in prison, and Christian Middelboe was sentenced to seven years, both for aiding Jørn "Jønke" Nielsen who carried out the shooting. Nielsen fled to Canada but was apprehended and extradited back to Denmark in 1989 where he served sixteen years in prison for the murder.

The following two Bullshit presidents after Knudsen were also assassinated. Palle "Lillebror" Blåbjerg (July 26, 1959 – April 26, 1985) was shot dead at work; while delivering beers to an off-licence store in Valby Langgade on April 26, 1985, Carsten Bresløv (born June 9, 1958), a member of the Morticians who were a club affiliated with the Hells Angels at the time, entered the store wearing a mask and shot Blåbjerg. In court, Bresløv claimed to have no regrets whatsoever, apart from not having killed Blåbjerg's working colleague as well.[121] Anker Walther "Høvding" Marcus (January 17, 1947 – December 21, 1985) was then murdered by Ole Bonnesen Nielsen and Rene Nøddeskov Ludvigsen, two members of the Black Sheep (another Hells Angels prospect club), following a Christmas party at Nemoland Café in Christiania on December 21, 1985. Lars Michael Larsen (October 16, 1965 – December 21, 1985), an innocent bystander, was also killed in this attack after being shot in the mouth. Nielsen and Ludvigsen claimed that they had shot in self-defence after Marcus had drawn a handgun first.[121]

Bullshit MC left Christiania following Marcus' death and formally disbanded in 1988. By the end of the Copenhagen biker war, eight Bullshit members had been killed compared to one Hells Angel, in addition to one "civilian" which brought the total death toll to ten during the 2-year-four-month-long conflict. The Black Sheep later "patched-over" to (were absorbed by) the Hells Angels, while the Morticians were declined membership.[116]

The Morticians, who were founded in 1984, became a rival club of the Hells Angels by 1992 before changing their name to Undertakers MC and later aligning themselves with the Bandidos, whose only European chapter was based in Marseille, France at that point. In 1993, the Undertakers merged with the Bandidos to become Bandidos MC Denmark. In 1994, the Hells Angels tried to prevent another club, Morbids MC, from growing into an established biker gang and potential rival in Sweden. The Morbids then also joined an alliance with the Bandidos, who backed-up their prospect club. Outlaws MC also joined with the Bandidos in Norway. This eventually led to the Nordic biker war, a conflict over control of the drug trade between the two most powerful outlaw biker gangs in Scandinavia, the Hells Angels and the Bandidos.[122] After gang violence had already erupted in Finland, Norway and Sweden, the war reached Denmark on December 25, 1995 when two Hells Angels members were beaten up by Bandidos at a nightclub in Copenhagen, signaling the beginning of a number of violent incidents between the clubs in the country.

Bandidos members who were returning from a weekend in Helsinki were shot, three wounded and one, Uffe Larsen, was killed at Copenhagen Airport on March 10, 1996.[123] Six Hells Angels members and associates were convicted and sentenced to a total of 53 years in prison, and one was given a life sentence, for the attack.[124] In April and May 1996, the clubhouse of a Hells Angels prospect club, Avengers MC, was attacked in Aalborg. On October 6, 1996, an anti-tank rocket was fired at a Hells Angels clubhouse in Copenhagen during a party. Hells Angels member Louis Linde Nielsen and guest Janne Krohn were both killed. Bandidos prospect Niels Poulsen was convicted of carrying out the attacks and sentenced to life in prison.[125] Towards the end of 1996, there were shootings of Bandidos members in Horsens and Aalborg.

At the beginning of 1997, Hells Angels member Kim Thrysöe Svendsen was murdered in Aalborg. Outlaws president Thore "Henki" Holm and a French Outlaws member were subsequently shot and wounded by a member of the Untouchables MC, a Hells Angels ally. Bandidos foot-soldiers were also shot in Amager and Køge. The Bandidos responded by ordering shootings on Hells Angels members and allies in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. Björn Gudmandsen was then killed and three other Bandidos were wounded after a shooting in Liseleje on June 7, 1997. Hells Angels member Vagn Smith was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The last incident happened on August 11, 1997 when the Bandidos clubhouse in Dalby was bombed.

The war ended on September 25, 1997 as "Big" Jim Tinndahn, the president of the Bandidos' European chapters, and Hells Angels Europe president Bent "Blondie" Svane Nielsen announced that they had signed a peace agreement and shook hands in front of Danish TV news cameras.[126] By the end of the war, 11 murders and 74 attempted murders had been committed and 96 people were wounded across Scandinavia. A law was passed in Denmark that banned motorcycle clubs from owning or renting property for their club activities. The law has subsequently been repealed on constitutional grounds.[127]

Bandidos associate Flemming Jensen was beaten and stabbed to death by Hells Angels members in a tavern in Aalborg on August 12, 2001. Hells Angels prospect Jesper Østenkær Kristoffersen confessed to stabbing Jensen eight times and was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter on February 7, 2002,[128] while Jørn "Jønke" Nielsen was sentenced to four years on September 18, 2002 for aggravated assault resulting in death as witnesses claimed that he had kicked and stomped on Jensen.[129]

In 2007, a Hells Angels-associated gang named Altid Klar-81 ("Altid Klar" is Danish for "Always Ready" and 81 is synonymous with the letters HA) was formed in Denmark to combat immigrant street gangs in a feud over the lucrative illegal hash market. AK81 has been recruiting much quicker than the mainstream Hells Angels as members are not required to own a motorcycle or wear a patch, and racial tensions are running high in parts of Denmark.[130] On August 14, 2008, Osman Nuri Dogan, a 19-year-old Turk, was shot and killed by an AK81 member in Tingbjerg.[131] Later that year, on October 8, there was a shoot-out between AK81 members and a group of immigrants in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, during which one man was injured.[132]

Germany[edit]

The first German charter of the Hells Angels was founded in the 1970 in Hamburg and was active in the red-light districts of St. Pauli and Sternschanze.

In 1980, Hells Angels members murdered a nightclub manager on the island of Sylt. On August 11, 1983, 500 police officers stormed the clubhouse "Angels Place" in the red-light district Sternschanze and arrested the leaders of the Hells Angels of Hamburg. In 1986, thirteen members were sentenced between 6 months to 7 years in prison and the Hamburg charter and its symbols were banned.[133] Despite the ban, today there is again a Hells Angels charter in Hamburg under the name of "Harbor City", because the association is not prohibited as such, but only wearing its symbols.

The other Hells Angels members and 250 of 497 members of the motorcycle club "Bones" in Hannover under its President Frank Hanebuth, who is a colorful character in the red-light scene of Hannover, took over the power in the Hamburg Kiez and controlled numerous brothels, including the "Laufhaus" and the "Pascha", on the Reeperbahn. Some women were forced into prostitution with brutal violence. At the height of its power in the middle of 2000, the monthly brothel sales amounted to €150,000 (DM300,000). After a leading member of the Hells Angels, Norbert "Butcher" S., 34,[134] had beaten up a 42-year-old woman, waitress, prostitute, cocaine addict and drug courier, who tried to burn herself to death, she pointed him out to the police and disappeared. Meanwhile, Butcher fled to Brazil because the Hells Angels had set a bounty on him. German investigators tracked him to South America and persuaded him to give evidence. On November 1, 2000, 400 police officers moved to a major raid and arrested the new leadership of the association. In Germany, Sweden and Poland 17 suspects were arrested and more than 50 kilograms of narcotics were seized. The witnesses are now living under police protection because they fear for their lives.[135][136]

Karlsruhe club house in Waghäusel

Helmut "Miko" M., a leading figure of the Karlsruhe Hells Angels, a 42-year-old brothel owner and notorious red-light figure in Karlsruhe, was shot dead in January 2004 in a coffee shop downtown in broad daylight. Previously, in December 2003, a bomb attack perpetrated on him failed due to an intermittent contact in the explosive device. The background to the crime was disputes over open money claims in the red-light district.[137]

In March 2006, a group of Hells Angels raided a Bandidos clubhouse in Stuhr where they assaulted and robbed five Bandidos members. Three were given jail sentences and another eleven were handed down suspended sentences at the trial which took place in Hannover on December 16, 2008.[138]

On May 27, 2007, five Hells Angels members attacked, robbed and injured one Bandidos member in Hohenschönhausen, Berlin. Nineteen police vehicles were in use and shots were fired. A witness filmed the scene. All people involved including the Hells Angels, Bandidos and the witness were silent in court. Sources say there are two high ranking Hells Angels members involved in the conflict. One is the former President of the "Hells Angels of Berlin" and the other was a high ranking "Road Captain" who is now the "Treasurer" of the "Hells Angels of Berlin."[139]

On June 11, 2008, Heino B., 48 and Thomas K., 36, two Bandidos members were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the Hells Angels member Robert K. in Ibbenbüren. Reports say they drove to his Harley-Davidson shop and shot him there on May 23, 2007. After the first day of a related lawsuit on December 17, 2007, riots between the two gangs and the police were reported.[140] Robert K. was 47-years old and "Road Captain" of the Bremen Hells Angels but lived in the area of Osnabrück, where their rivals Bandidos claim supremacy.[141]

Also in June 2008, eight Hells Angels members of the "Hells Angels West Side" and one unidentified biker, who is not a Hells Angels member, were arrested on the A27 near Walsrode. Five private apartments and the clubhouse "Angels Place" in Bremen were searched. Police reports say the LKA-Bremen seized firearms, baseball bats, knives and illegal drugs. Later on the day the BKA (Bundeskriminalamt) arrested another Hells Angels member. Police reports also say five Hells Angels members are on the run.[142]

On July 17, 2008,[143] 34 persons of a group of 50 were arrested in Oranienburg street in Berlin Mitte. Sources say the persons are supporters of the Hells Angels and bouncers and hooligans in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern scene. Other sources say the persons are members of the "Brigade 81", a murderous group of the Hells Angels. One of the hooligans (now ex-hooligan and vice-president of the Potsdam Hells Angels[144]) was a famous and dangerous fighter, who had beaten the French police officer Daniel Nivel into a coma in 1998. The police seized white masks, knuckle dusters, telescopic batons, quartz-sand-gloves and illegal drugs. The background of the incident was that a group of Bandidos appeared in the "Gold Club" and wanted to play power games. "It's about the staking of areas and the protection of illegal sources of income", a police statement said.[145]

Later in 2008, Bandidos members attacked a Hells Angels member in Berlin[146] and shots were fired at a Hells Angels member in Cottbus.[147] In Kiel, a mass brawl occurred between members of the Hells Angels and alleged right-wing extremists. During the brutal conflict a Hells Angels member and tattooist from Neumünster was seriously injured with a knife.[148]

On December 6, 2008, the front man of the Hells Angels "Nomads", was brutally beaten in the nightclub "Omega" in Eberswalde. The perpetrators were members of the Chicanos, a support group of the Bandidos motorcycle gang.[149]

In February 2009, the Hells Angels published a statement about the mass brawl in Kiel, distancing itself from contacts to the right-wing scene. "The Hells Angels MC was, is and remains a non-politically motivated club" and "new members have to leave the right-wing scene", Frank Hanebuth, president of the Hannover Hells Angels, said in the statement. The attempt to draw the club into the right-wing haze is a personal insult for every member, the Hells Angels indicate. "We have eight different nations in our club. One comes from Israel, one from Palestine, one even from Surinam. And we are xenophobic?", he asked.[150]

On June 5, 2009, the clubhouse of the Chicanos was completely destroyed from inside. Several members of the Chicanos suffered skull fractures and elbow fractures. The attackers belong to the notorious "Brigade 81".[151]

On July 17, 2009, a passer-by discovered a glittering silver object under a black BMW in Eberswalde. Reports say the object was a homemade bomb and the car belonged to the president of the local Chicanos.[152]

In August 2009, a leading member of the Berlin Bandidos was stabbed and shot to death in Hohenschönhausen, Berlin. A news channel claimed, the 33-year-old Michael B.,[153] was a well known outlaw motorcyclist in the district of Lichtenberg, Berlin, the President of the Berlin chapter of the Bandidos MC, and former member of the Hells Angels. Police reports say there is a continuing war over territorial claims between the Bandidos and the Hells Angels.[154]

In October 2009, at the opening ceremony of a new Hells Angels pub in Potsdam, 70 police officers controlled 159 persons, 39 vehicles and arrested one member, who was a fugitive belonging to the Hells Angels group "Nomads." The man was wanted for violation of the Arms Act. Two baseball bats and a banned one-handed knife were also found.[155]

Since December 22, 2009, two members of the Hells Angels stood trial in Kaiserslautern. They were accused, along with another Hells Angels member, who was previously a fugitive, of having allegedly murdered the 45-year-old[156] President of the Donnersberg Outlaws MC in June 2009.[157]

Also in December 2009, a 38-year-old member of the Hells Angels was stabbed and critically injured in Erfurt. Shortly after the attack, the police arrested four suspects in Weimar, including two members of the Jena Bandidos.[158]

In January 2010, the President of the Flensburg Hells Angels was arrested, accused of attempted homicide and hit-and-run driving, by having hit a Bandidos member with his car on the A7, reports say.[159] On the same day, police raided the homes of two other Hells Angels members. Investigators searched for additional evidence in connection with the discovery of a weapons depot in a car repair shop in Flensburg. In November 2009, police had discovered explosives, five machine guns, ten shotguns and pump guns, revolvers and pistols and lots of ammunition.[160][161]

In February 2010 in Potsdam, about 70 supporters of the Berlin chapter of the Bandidos MC, who usually are hostile to the Hells Angels, moved to the Berlin chapter of the Hells Angels. Police reports say the background of this step is unknown. Specialists say it could have something to do with a fight on June 21, 2009 in Finowfurt where one motorcyclist's leg was badly injured with an axe and the President of the "Brigade 81", André S.,[162] was stabbed in the back.[163] Other sources say it could have something to do with the immigrant background of the Berlin chapter of the Bandidos. German Bandidos probably have a problem with members of foreign origin. In general, it was claimed that the outlaw motorcyclists were nationalistic and felt they were "real German men", therefore members with Turkish roots were not welcome. A leading Hells Angels member confirmed the defection and said the new members will be part of "Hells Angels Turkey." [164]

On March 15, 2010, a 21-year-old supporter of the Bandidos was stabbed and badly injured in Kiel. In the same night, police raided meeting points of the Hells Angels. A few days earlier, shots were fired at the house of the local Hells Angels leader.[165]

On March 17, 2010, a Bonn Hells Angels member shot dead a 42-year-old[166] police officer of the SEK (Spezialeinsatzkommando) during a house search.[167] He was subsequently acquitted of murder charges by the German Supreme court, stating that he acted in self-defense after murder threats by Bandido members.[168]

Since March 2010, a Hells Angels member has been standing trial in Duisburg for having murdered an Oberhausen Bandidos member in Hochfeld, Duisburg on October 8, 2009 who was executed with a headshot in its red-light district.[169]

In April 2010, a member of the Flensburg Hells Angels, who is a witness in a double murder case and a businessman are accused having extorted €380,000 from another businessman who, after a dispute with his wife, stabbed her and his 7-year-old daughter to death then set his house on fire in February 2009. The background to the crimes were caused by economic difficulties.[170]

In May 2010, the warring gangs declared an armistice, but investigators doubt whether hostilities will cease.[171]

On May 3, 2012, the Cologne chapter of the Hells Angels MC was forcefully disbanded and all property of the chapter was confiscated by the North Rhine-Westphalia Home Office. On the same morning the North Rhine-Westphalian Police raided and searched 32 homes of its members. No arrests were made, however the public display of chapter symbols and the wearing of its regalia were banned.[172] the support club Red Devils MC Cologne was also banned. The North Rhine-Westphalian home secretary justified these actions by saying "The Hells Angels intentionally ignore the basic values of our society. They close themselves off from society, set up their own rules and practice vigilante justice".[173] The previous week similar action was taken against the nearby Aachen chapter of the Bandidos M.C..[174]

On May 29, 2012, the Berlin City Chapter of Hells Angels MC was disbanded and a raid was started. Allegations of an information leak inside the Berlin Home Office about the upcoming measures were made.[175]

In early October, 2016, Giessen Chapter boss Aygun Mucuk was shot dead at the chapter clubhouse, reportedly the result of a rivalry between the Giessen Hells Angels, whose membership is largely of Turkish origin, and the long-established Hells Angels chapter in nearby Frankfurt. Hundreds of Hells Angels members gathered to ride in honor at his funeral. [176]

Netherlands[edit]

The Hells Angels control much of the drug trade in the Netherlands, and are also involved in prostitution.[6] The Dutch police have stated that the Hells Angels smuggle cocaine into the country through terrorist organizations and drug cartels in Curaçao and Colombia, and also deal in ecstasy and illegal firearms.[177]

In October 2005, the Dutch police raided Hells Angels' clubhouses in Amsterdam, Haarlem, IJmuiden, Harlingen, Kampen and Rotterdam as well as a number of houses. Belgian police also raided two locations over the border. Police seized a grenade launcher, a flame thrower, hand grenades, 20 hand guns, a machine pistol and €70,000 (US$103,285) in cash. A number of Hells Angels members were later imprisoned on charges of international trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy, the production and distribution of marijuana, money laundering and murder, after an investigation that lasted over a year.[178]

In 2006 two Dutch newspapers reported that the Amsterdam brothel Yab Yum had long been controlled by the Dutch Hells Angels, who had taken over after a campaign of threats and blackmailing.[179] The city council of Amsterdam revoked the license of Yab Yum in December 2007. During a subsequent trial the city's attorney repeated these allegations and the brothel's attorney denied them.[180] The brothel was closed in January 2008.[181]

Twenty-three bikers were arrested following a fight between Hells Angels and Mongols, in which several gunshots were fired and one person wounded, at the Van der Valk hotel in Rotterdam on April 7, 2016.[182][183]

Norway[edit]

Due to the extent of the criminal activities of HAMC in Norway, Kripos, the criminal investigation unit of the Norwegian police, considers the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club to be a criminal organisation.[184]

In 2011 the presumed leader of HAMC Norway Leif Ivar Kristiansen was convicted of threats, robbery and severe drug crimes, and sentenced to four years and nine months in prison. In another case he was found guilty of fencing and tax evasion, and a number of smaller charges.[185] According to numbers from Kripos in 2012, 120 Hells Angels-members have been convicted 400 times for about 1000 violations of the Norwegian penal code. The convictions include violence, rape, severe drug criminality and threats.[186]

In 2010, 2011 and 2013 the police conducted raids on the HAMC headquarters in Oslo and confiscated a number of illegal weapons in all the raids. The police demanded in October 2013 that the headquarters be seized as they believe the house is being used as a staging ground for organized criminal activities.[187]

South Africa[edit]

The first Hells Angels chapter in South Africa was founded in 1993.

Hells Angels member Alexander Bely, a former Soviet citizen who moved to South Africa in the late 1980s, was arrested in 2006 before being extradited to Russia in February 2013, alleged to have organized the delivery of 224 kilograms of ephedrine to the country between 2003 and 2005 and laundering over 34.5 million (around $1.2 million). Bely, along with Andrei Bykov and Bykov's spouse, cousin, adopted daughter and her husband allegedly obtained the drug from the Hells Angels and delivered it to St. Petersburg, passing it off as bath salts. In May 2005, Bykov's wife fled to South Africa, seeking to avoid criminal prosecution. The group then began delivering ephedrine under the guise of detergent. In 2008, three accomplices of Bykov and Bely were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms. Andrei Bykov and his wife Yevgenia were extradited in 2009 and received 14- and 18-year sentences, respectively.[188][189]

Spain[edit]

Spanish police carried out a number of raids against the club on April 21, 2009, arresting 22 members in Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga, Madrid and Las Palmas. Two of them were members of the club's Italian chapters. The Hells Angels arrested were charged with drugs and weapons trafficking, and extortion. Law enforcement seized military-style weapons and ammunition, bulletproof vests, a kilo of cocaine, neo-Nazi literature and €200,000 in cash during the searches of 30 properties. One suspect also attempted to use a firearm against police officers as he was being arrested.[190] It was part of an investigation into the club, known as Valkiria, which began in October 2007 and also led to eight arrests in December 2007.[191] Prior to this, the only operation against the club in Spain took place in March 1996.[192]

On October 12, 2011, a club owned by the Hells Angels in Barcelona, The other place, was attacked by anti-fascists while a Nazi concert organized by the far-right party Democracia Nacional was held there.

Sweden[edit]

Sweden is home to twelve Hells Angels chapters with 170 members and 230 official supporters.[193] In 2012, the Swedish television network TV4 compiled a report which alleged that the Hells Angels had been convicted of 2,800 crimes in the country, including 420 violent crimes.[194]

The Hells Angels also featured in the ITV documentary Police Camera Action! on the 1996 episode International Patrol where footage from the Rigspolitiet was shown of an individual carrying a knife, who was later arrested.

Turkey[edit]

On July 30, 2010, the European police agency Europol issued a warning on an increase of Hells Angels and Bandidos activities in Southeast Europe and Turkey.[195] The newly founded Hells Angels Turkey denied the warning's content, calling the relevant report "utter nonsense" and alleging Europol officials are after more European Union funds.[196] On July 2, 2011, around 20 Hells Angels Turkey members in Kadıköy, Istanbul attacked people in a bar and injured 7 of them (2 severely) pleading that these people were drinking alcohol on the street and disturbing the neighbourhood.[197] It had been earlier reported that Turkish defectors from Bandidos Germany chapter have joined the ranks of Hells Angels Turkey.[198]

United Kingdom[edit]

Europe did not become widely home to the Hells Angels until 1969 when two London chapters were formed. The Beatles' George Harrison invited some members of the HAMC San Francisco to stay at Apple Records in London in 1968.[199][200] According to Chris O'Dell, only two members showed up at Apple Records, Frisco Pete and Bill "Sweet William" Fritsch.[201] Two people from London visited California, "prospected", and ultimately joined. Two charters were issued on July 30, 1969; one for "South London"—the re-imagined chapter renewing the already existing 1950 South London chapter—and the other for "East London", but by 1973 the two charters came together as one, called "London".[202] Currently, the Hells Angels have around 200 members in the United Kingdom, divided amongst 14 chapters, and are one of four major outlaw motorcycle clubs in the country alongside the Outcasts, the Outlaws and Satan's Slaves.[203] The National Criminal Intelligence Service stated that the Hells Angels in the UK are mainly involved in the cannabis and amphetamine trade, as well as prostitution, theft and extortion,[204] and also accused them of being responsible for more assaults and murders than any other organized group in the country.[205] Investigators have alleged the British Hells Angels have links to drug cartels in South America and Mexico, as well as Northern Ireland paramilitary groups, the IRA and the UDA.[206]

England[edit]

In November 1972, three Hells Angels were sentenced to prison for their part in the rape of a 14-year-old girl who was seized from the street and sexually assaulted in front of laughing teenagers in a local café in Winchester. Ian "Moose" Everest was convicted of raping the girl and sentenced to seven years, while Stephen "Boots" Ripley and Anthony "Chas" Mann were each given four years for aiding and abetting Everest.[207]

A group of up to 30 Hells Angels ambushed 15 members of an unsanctioned Windsor "Hells Angels" chapter who were sleeping in a car park near Brockenhurst in April 1979. Richard Sharman, the leader of the Windsor chapter, survived being shot three times in the head and another man received a shotgun wound to the buttocks.[208] 24 Hells Angels were jailed or given suspended sentences for the attack in 1980.[209] The Windsor chapter officially became Hells Angels in 1985.[210]

Members of the Hells Angels' Lea Valley were involved in a mass brawl with a group from the Luton Town MIGs hooligan firm at the Blockers Arms public house in Luton in May 1990. The MIGs gained the upper hand, forcing the Hells Angels from the pub. With further violence seeming inevitable, undercover police officers were assigned to observe key figures on both sides. However, the MIGs decided to pay the Hells Angels £2,000 in compensation rather than face the continued threat of retaliation.[210]

The Hells Angels became involved in a dispute between a Dutch drug trafficker and a Liverpool crime family in late 1992. The Liverpudlian gang had made a significant down payment on a large shipment of cannabis from Amsterdam which was seized by British customs officials during a routine check of a Dutch-registered ship docking at Manchester. Under the terms of the agreement, the drugs were no longer the responsibility of the Dutchman once they had left Dutch waters but the Liverpool family refused to pay the £140,000 owed and so the trafficker, a former Hells Angel, contracted the club to collect the debt owed to him. Three Hells Angels, Michael "Long Mick" Rowledge (vice-president of the Hells Angels' Wolverhampton chapter), Andrew Trevis (also from Wolverhampton) and Stephen Pollock (from the Windsor chapter) travelled to Aintree on October 7, 1992 and agreed to meet the Liverpudlians outside a supermarket in the Old Roan area. While the Hells Angels waited in their car, a gunman approached and shot Rowledge four times in the chest, killing him, before escaping in a waiting vehicle.[210][211][212] In 1993, Delroy Davies was acquitted after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court and Thomas Dures was jailed for 13 years for conspiracy to murder.[213]

Pierre Rodrigue and David Rouleau, two Canadian Hells Angels from the Sherbrooke chapter, were arrested by British police London at the request of the RCMP in February 1995 before being extradited to Canada and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for conspiring to smuggle 558 kilograms of cocaine into the UK in a scheme also involving the Rizzuto crime family and Colombian cartels.[214][215][216][217][218]

The Hells Angels waged a two-year turf war with the Outcasts, who are centred in London and East Anglia, during the late 1990s. The dispute between the two clubs is believed to have begun when the Outcasts tried to absorb a small Hertfordshire club, The Lost Tribe, in June 1997. Concerned that such a move would make the Outcasts their equal in numbers, the Hells Angels made The Lost Tribe honorary members. That November, two members of the Outcasts were arrested in possession of loaded shotguns, allegedly on their way to confront the Hells Angels.[219] On January 31, 1998, Outcasts members David Armstrong and Malcolm St Clair were killed in a clash with up to twenty Hells Angels at a concert in Battersea, London. Armstrong was dragged from his motorcycle and hacked to death with axes and knives; St Clair raced to his aid but was stabbed eight times. Ronald Wait, president of the Hells Angels' Essex chapter, was convicted of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment in relation to the incident.[220][221] In March 1999, a fertilizer and petrol bomb was found at the clubhouse of the Hells Angels' Lea Valley chapter and there was an attempted arson attack on a motorcycle shop owned by the Angels. Two Outcasts were then shot close to their east London clubhouse. Both survived but refused to co-operate with police.[222]

The Outlaws, who have around 150 British members across 14 chapters mainly based in the West Midlands, have since become the Hells Angels' main rivals in the UK since opening chapters in the country in 2000. Hells Angels member Gerry Tobin was shot dead as he rode his motorcycle home to London, where he worked as a Harley-Davidson service manager, from the Bulldog Bash in Warwickshire on August 12, 2007. Two bullets were fired from a Rover car which drove up alongside him as he sped down the M40 motorway, one hitting him in the head. Seven members of the Outlaws, the entire South Warwickshire chapter, were convicted over his murder and sentenced to a total of 191 years in prison.[223][224][225][226] It is believed that Tobin was killed due to the fact that the Hells Angels-run Bulldog Bash is held in Outlaws territory, and that the killing may have been sanctioned by Outlaws leadership in the United States.[227]

A brawl between up to thirty Hells Angels and Outlaws members took place at Birmingham International Airport on January 20, 2008 after the two groups had found themselves together on a flight from Alicante, Spain, with police recovering various weapons including knuckledusters, hammers, a machete and a meat cleaver.[228] Three Hells Angels and four Outlaws were convicted as a result.[229][230]

Hells Angels member Dennis Taskin was jailed for six years and nine months after admitting illegally possessing ammunition and five guns as well as cocaine, amphetamines and morphine. Police had found an Uzi, three revolvers and an antique pistol as well as dum-dum bullets and drugs when they raided a flat rented by Taskin in Hove on December 26, 2009.[231]

Stuart Manners, a member of the Hells Angels' Cadishead chapter, was jailed for twelve years after being convicted of selling a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun and 21 bullets to Liverpool criminal Darren Alcock and his associate Paul Estridge in Stockport in August 2012. Alcock and Estridge were both sentenced to 14 years.[232][233]

Wales[edit]

The first Welsh Hells Angels chapter was formed in 1999.[234] The Hells Angels' West Wales chapter clubhouse in Haverfordwest was raided by police in September 2007, with the police finding a handgun fitted with a silencer loaded with a full magazine of bullets. Gary Young, a probationary club member, was charged with possessing the weapon; he denied the charge and was found not guilty. He was later granted a conditional discharge for two years after admitting possessing a firearm without a certificate, possessing an offensive weapon and possessing three amounts of cannabis, charges which stemmed from several further police raids on his home during the initial investigation. Young was expelled from the Hells Angels due to the club taking exception to him "naming names" about who was whom within the West Wales chapter.[235]

Neil Lake needed three metal plates inserted in his face after being attacked by a Hells Angel at a petrol station in Cardiff in October 2007. Lake took down the registration of his attacker's Harley-Davidson motorcycle which led police to Sean Timmins, the vice-president of the Wolverhampton chapter. Timmins denied inflicting grievous bodily harm on Lake and claimed that a fellow club member had been riding around with the same number plates as him; he told a judge he knew the identity of the actual attacker but explained that it would be against club rules for him to name him. Timmins was cleared of the charge in September 2008 after providing an alibi who said that he was working in his hometown on the day of the attack.[236][237] He would later be one of the three Hells Angels jailed for six years after the brawl with the Outlaws at Birmingham Airport.[238]

Hells Angels members Stephen Jones and Raymond Scaddan were cleared of violent behavior, while former member Andrew McCann was also found not guilty of violent disorder but convicted of using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behavior at Newport Crown Court on November 1, 2015. Jones and Scaddan maintained that they went to McCann's home in Newport on January 24, 2015 to collect money for a £2,000 gold necklace that had been given to him and that they had acted in self-defence after an alleged attack by McCann and his son. McCann, who left the club in 2014 after a dispute, claimed the two Hells Angels had come to extort £5,000 from him.[239][240]

United States[edit]

California[edit]

One major event in Hells Angels' history involved the December 6, 1969, Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway – partially documented in the 1970 film Gimme Shelter[241] – featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and The Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform but cancelled at the last minute owing to the ensuing circumstances at the venue. The Angels had been hired by The Rolling Stones as crowd security for a fee which was said to include $500 worth of beer.[242] The Angels parked their motorcycles in front of the stage in order to create a buffer between the stage and the hundreds of thousands of concertgoers.

Crowd management proved to be difficult, resulting in both spectator injury and death. Over the course of the day, the Hells Angels became increasingly agitated as the crowd turned more aggressive. At a later murder trial of Hells Angel Alan Passaro, a security guard testified he heard the Hells Angels being summoned over the loudspeakers when the helicopter bearing The Rolling Stones landed. Debate after the event was over whether the Hells Angels were to manage security for the entire concert or just for The Rolling Stones. Sam Cutler, the Stones' agent who had arranged to pay the Hells Angels said their role was as bodyguards to the Rolling Stones. This was denied by the Hells Angels as well as others connected to the event. During the opening act of Santana, the Hells Angels surged into the crowd numerous times to keep persons off stage.[243]

By the time The Rolling Stones took stage, numerous incidents of violence had occurred both between the Hells Angels and internally within the crowd, not the least of which featured a circus performer weighing over 350 pounds stripping naked and running amok amid the concertgoers. Audience members attempted to detain him. Eventually, the irate man was subdued after Angels intervened with fists and makeshift weapons, while a crowd of 4,000–5,000 looked on from the edge of the stage.

The aggression did not subside there. After an Angel's motorcycle was toppled, club members' tempers continued to escalate, their ire spread wide between the audience and performers alike. At one point, Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious following an altercation with an Angel, an event later depicted in Gimme Shelter. The Grateful Dead refused to play following the Balin incident, and left the venue.

A shoving match erupted near the stage during a rendition of the song "Under My Thumb".[244][245][246] As the song began, a man in the audience, Meredith Hunter, was allegedly harassed, then violently pushed back by the Hells Angels. He returned, producing a handgun.[247][248] Hunter was stabbed to death. A Hells Angel member, Alan Passaro, was later acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defense. After the concert and critical media attention given to the HAMC, Sonny Barger went on a local California radio station to justify the actions of the Hells Angels and to present their side of the story. He claimed that violence only started once the crowd began vandalizing the Hells Angels' motorcycles. Barger would later claim that Meredith fired a shot which struck a Hells Angels member with what he described as "just a flesh wound."[249]

In 2005, after a two-year exhaustive cold-case renewal of the file, the Alameda County District Attorney's office permanently closed the case. An enhanced and slowed down version of the original film footage was produced for the police, and after examining it Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek said Passaro, who died in 1985, was the only person to stab Hunter and he did so only after Hunter pointed a handgun at the stage where the Stones were performing.

Alan Passaro is the only person who stabbed Meredith Hunter, Dudek said, adding that Passaro's lawyer confirmed his client was the sole assailant. "Passaro acted with a knife to stop Meredith Hunter from shooting."[250]

In 2008, Mark "Papa" Guardado, the president of the San Francisco chapter, was shot dead after a bar fight in the Mission District of San Francisco.[251] Christopher Bryan Ablett, a member of the rival Mongols MC club, was later arrested for Guardado's murder.[252]

In 2011, president of the San Jose chapter Jeffrey Pettigrew,[253] was shot four times in the back on September 23, 2011 at a casino in Sparks, Nevada. Two California members of the Vagos motorcycle club at the crime scene were also shot but survived. Pettigrew was in Sparks for 'Street Vibrations', a long-running motorcycle festival in the Reno area. Sparks declared a state of emergency after another motorcyclist wearing Vagos colors was shot shortly afterwards in the stomach from a passing vehicle.[254] Cesar Villagrana, who had been with Pettigrew, was charged with discharging a firearm and other offenses. Ernesto Manuel Gonzales was later arrested in San Francisco in connection with the death of Pettigrew.[255][256] Another Hell's Angel, Steve Tausan, an "enforcer" for the Santa Cruz chapter, was shot at Pettigrew's funeral. According to police, after the shooting, the suspect, Steve Ruiz, disappeared and one or more people tampered with the crime scene, washing away bloodstains and removing evidence of the shooting.[257]

Nevada[edit]

The River Run Riot occurred on April 27, 2002, at the Harrah's Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, Nevada. Members of the Hells Angels and the Mongols motorcycle clubs fought each other on the casino floor. As a result, Mongol Anthony Barrera, 43, was stabbed to death, and two Hells Angels, Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50, were shot to death. On February 23, 2007 Hells Angels members James Hannigan and Rodney Cox were sentenced to two years in prison. Cox and Hannigan were captured on videotape confronting Mongols members inside the casino. A Hells Angel member can be clearly seen on the casino security videotape performing a front kick on a Mongol biker member, causing the ensuing melee.

However, prior to this altercation, several incidents of harassment and provocation were noted in the Clark County, Nevada Grand Jury hearings as having been perpetrated upon The Hells Angels. Members of the Mongols accosted a vendor's table selling Hells Angels trademarked items, had surrounded a Hells Angel and demanded he remove club clothing. In addition, nine witnesses claimed the fight began when a Mongol kicked a member of the Hells Angels. Regardless of which minor physical incident can be said to have "caused the melee", it is clear that The Hells Angels had come to confront the Mongols concerning their actions.

Attorneys for the Hells Angels claimed that the Hells Angels were defending themselves from an attack initiated by the Mongols.

Charges were dismissed against 36 other Hells Angels originally named in the indictment.[258]

New York[edit]

In September 1994, near Buffalo at the Lancaster Speedway drag races, there was a clash between the Hells Angels and a rival biker gang resulting in 2 deaths, and multiple injuries.

On January 28, 2007 a woman named Roberta Shalaby was found badly beaten on the sidewalk outside the Hells Angels' clubhouse at 77 East Third Street in the East Village, Manhattan. The resulting investigation by the NYPD has been criticized by the group for its intensity. The police were refused access to the Hells Angels clubhouse and responded by closing off the area, setting up sniper positions, and sending in an armored personnel carrier.[259] After obtaining a warrant, the police searched the clubhouse and arrested one Hells Angel who was later released. The group claims to have no connection with the beating of Shalaby. Five security cameras cover the entrance to the New York chapter's East 3rd Street club house, but the NY HAMC maintains nobody knows how Shalaby was beaten nearly to death at their front door. A club lawyer said they intended to sue the city of New York for false arrest and possible civil rights violations.[260]

Ohio[edit]

On February 27, 1988 David Hartlaub was murdered in his van at a bank parking lot near the Musicland record store that he managed, as he was dropping off the nightly deposit. The deposit bag contained about $4000 in cash and was not taken. Three members of Hells Angels motorcycle gang; Steven Wayne Yee, Mark Verdi, and John Ray Bonds were carrying out a hit. Cleveland Hells Angels were planning to retaliate against a Sandusky Outlaw gang member for the Joliet, IL. shooting of an Hells Angels member the previous year, at which Bonds had been present. The Outlaw member drove a van almost identical to Hartlaub's. The trio mistook Hartalub's van for their enemies and shot and killed him by mistake. Both the gun and the van's carpet were spattered with blood, allowing police to use DNA evidence, and discovered that John Ray Bonds was the shooter who had hid inside Hartlaub's van and was waiting to kill him. He shot him with a MAC-11 9-mm semi-automatic pistol fitted with a homemade silencer. Bond's DNA profile analyzed by the FBI matched the bloodstains found in Yee's car and based on this they were able to use it as key evidence. This was one of the first cases of DNA being used for criminal conviction. The trial and legal wrangling lasted nearly two years and ended in long prison terms for all three Hells Angels members, who may remain in prison on sentences up to life.[261]

South Carolina[edit]

Sixteen members and associates of the Hells Angels' South Carolina Nomads chapter, which operated from clubhouses in Lexington and Rock Hill, were convicted of crimes related to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act following a two-year cooperative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and four local police departments. The investigation revealed that the group engaged in drug dealing, money laundering, firearms trafficking, violent crimes, attempted armed robbery, arson, and other offenses. In excess of one hundred guns (including fully automatic machine guns, silencers, assault rifles with high-capacity magazines, pistols, and sawed-off shotguns) were trafficked by the group and recovered during the execution of search warrants, and members of the organization also supplied methamphetamine, cocaine, bath salts and prescription pain pills. The Hells Angels' leadership coordinated the criminal activity and received kickbacks from proceeds generated by members and associates of the chapter.[262][263] During the investigation, the chapter's leadership transitioned from long-time Hells Angels member "Diamond" Dan Bifield to recent inductee Mark "Lightning" Baker after Bifield was voted out as president. Law enforcement began the operation when Bifield made a drug deal with an informant in 2011 and arrested twenty people — sixteen men and four women — in a series of raids in June 2012. The last of the sixteen convicted were sentenced in June 2013; the group was sentenced to more than 100 years imprisonment collectively.[264][265]

Washington[edit]

In 2001 Hells Angels Rodney Lee Rollness, a former Hells Angel, and Joshua Binder murdered Michael "Santa" Walsh, who had allegedly falsely claimed to be a member of the Hells Angels.[266] Paul Foster, hoping to join the Hells Angels, aided in the murder by luring Walsh to a party at his house and helping cover up the crime.[267] West Coast leader Richard "Smilin' Rick" Fabel, along with Rollness and Binder, were also convicted of various racketeering offenses.[268]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]