Hells Angels

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) is a world-wide "one-percenter" motorcycle gang whose members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In the United States and Canada, the Hells Angels are incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation. Some members of the Hells Angels and other motorcycle clubs nickname themselves "one-percenters" in response to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) claim, made after the infamous Hollister affair, that ninety-nine percent of motorcyclists were law abiding citizens, and the other 1% were outlaws giving everyone else a bad name.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada classify the Angels as one of the "big four" outlaw motorcycle gangs, contending that members carry out widespread violence, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods, and extortion. [ [http://www.fbi.gov/publications/safestreets/ssgu00.pdf FBI Safe Street Violent Crime Initiative Report Fiscal Year 2000] ] [ [http://www.cisc.gc.ca/annual_reports/annual_report2003/outlaw_2003_e.htm Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) Annual Report] ] Many Hells Angels members, associates, and supporters assert that this is a mischaracterization, and claim that they are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who organize social events such as group road trips, fundraisers, parties, and motorcycle rallies.

While membership in the Hells Angels is kept confidential, Chuck Zito, from the HBO series "Oz", is a former member. [ [http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/4122/gatti-angels-chuck-zito Gatti, Angels, OZ and Chuck Zito TheSweetScience.com Boxing ] ]

History

The Hells Angels club was formed in 1948 in Fontana, California. The name "Hells Angels" was believed to have been inspired by the common historical use, in both World War I and II, to name squadrons or other fighting groups by fierce, death-defying names such as Hell's Angels or Flying Tigers. The Howard Hughes film "Hell's Angels" was a displaying extraordinary and dangerous feats of aviation. Several military units used the name Hells Angels prior to the founding of the motorcycle club of the same name, including the U.S. Air Force 303rd USAAF Heavy Bombardment Group (H), a military unit formed in the early years of World War II, and the 11th Airborne Division. Some Hells Angels have attempted to dispel the belief that there is any connection, other than the name, between the HAMC and the historic military Hell's AngelsFact|date=August 2008. The group's official website clarifies that the name was suggested to the founders of the club by a friend of theirs, Arvid "Oley" Olsen, who was a member of the Flying Tigers. No actual members of that squadron became members of the HAMC."Hells Angels Official Web Site: History", http://www.hells-angels.com/HISTORY.html]

Some of the early history of the HAMC is not clear, and accounts differ. According to Ralph 'Sonny' Barger, founder of the Oakland chapter, early chapters of the club were founded in San Francisco, Gardena, Fontana, and other places independently of one another, with the members usually being unaware that there were other Hells Angels clubs.

Other sources Who|date=May 2008 claim that the Hells Angels in San Francisco were originally organized in 1953 by Rocky Graves, a Hells Angel member from San Bernardino ("Berdoo"). This implies that the "Frisco" Hells Angels were very much aware of their forebears. According to another account,"History Channel episode", [http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=178195 Hell's Angels] ] the Hells Angels club was a successor to "The Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington" Motorcycle club, which was largely responsible, along with the Boozefighters for the Hollister riot of 1947. [History Documentary "Hell's Angels" Time Index approximately 00.05 minutes into the program] The "Frisco" Hells Angels were reorganized in 1955 with thirteen charter members; Frank Sadliek, who designed the original death's head logo, served as President. The Oakland chapter, at that time headed by Barger, used a larger version of the patch nicknamed the "Barger Larger" which later became the club standard.

The Hells Angels are shrouded in a cloud of mystery and controversy, thanks to a very strict code of secrecy and what can be construed as a practice of deliberate mythologizing by some members of the club. Members don't use last names, even with one another. They just use a first name, and, more often than not, a nickname. Due to its colorful history and the confirmed links of some of its members to organized crime, speculation and rumour about the club's activities is rife.

The Hells Angels are variously depicted in a similar mythical fashion as the James-Younger Gang, as modern day legends, free spirited and iconic of an era of brotherhood and loyalty, or by others as a violent criminal gang and a scourge on society. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/this_world/3311057.stm "BBC"]

Insignia

The Hells Angels official web site attributes the official "death's head" insignia design to Frank Sadilek, past president of the San Francisco Chapter. The colors and shape of the early-style jacket emblem (prior to 1953) were copied from the insignias of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron.

The Hells Angels utilize a system of patches, similar to military medals. Although the specific meaning of each patch is not publicly known the patches identify specific or significant actions or beliefs of each biker. [Gangs; A Journey into the heart of the British Underworld, Tony Thompson (journalist) (2004) ISBN 0-340-83053-0] The official colors of the Hells Angels are red lettering displayed on a white background -- hence the club's nickname "The Red and White". These patches are worn on leather or denim jackets and vests, called 'cuts', so called due to the removal or 'cutting' of the collars and cuffs.

Red and white are also used to display the number 81 on many patches, as in "Support 81, Route 81". The 8 and 1 stand for the respective positions in the alphabet of "H" and "A". These are used by friends and supporters of the club, as only full members can wear any Hells Angels imagery.

The rhombus-shaped 'One-percenter' patch is also used, displaying '1%', in red on a white background with a red merrowed border "(refer to image at right, top)". The term "one-percenter" is a response to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) comment on the Hollister incident, in which the AMA stated that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens and the last 1% were outlaws. Fact|source for this quite heavy statement is nowhere to be found|date=September 2008

Most members wear a rectangular patch (again, white background with red letters and a red merrowed border) identifying their respective chapter locations. Another similarly designed patch reads "Hells Angels" "(refer to image at right, lower)".

When applicable, members of the club wear a patch denoting their position or rank within the organization. The patch is rectangular, and, similarly to the patches described above, displays a white background with red letters and a red merrowed border. Some examples of the titles used are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms. This patch is usually worn above the 'club location' patch.

Some members also wear a patch with the initials "AFFA", which stands for "Angels Forever; Forever Angels", referring to their lifelong membership in the biker club (i.e., "once a member, always a member").

The book "Gangs", written by Tony Thompson (a crime correspondent for The Observer newspaper), states that Stephen Cunningham, a member of the Angels, sported a new patch after he recovered from attempting to set a bomb: two Nazi-style SS lightning bolts below the words 'Filthy Few'. Some law enforcement officials claim that the patch is only awarded to those who have committed, or are prepared to commit, murder on behalf of the club. According to a report from the "R. v. Bonner and Lindsay" case in 2005 "(see related section below)", another patch, similar to the 'Filthy Few' patch, is the 'Dequiallo' patch. This patch "signifies that the wearer has fought law enforcement on arrest".HAMC Overview Document, [http://www.chbc.com/files/angels.pdf Overview of the Hell's Angel's Motorcycle Club (HAMC) In Canada] ] There is no common convention as to where the patches are located on the members' jacket/vest.

In March 2007 the Hells Angels filed suit against Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group alleging that the film entitled "Wild Hogs" used both the name and distinctive logo of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation without permission.'Litigation against movie release' "(March 8, 2006)", [http://news.findlaw.com/wsj/docs/disney/hamcdisney30806cmp2.html HAMC vs Walt Disney] ]

Membership

According to the US Department of Justice, HAMC members must be men over 21 years of age and are required to own a Harley Davidson motorcycle.Fact|date=September 2008

The full requirements to become a Hells Angel are the following: candidates must have a valid driver's license, have a working Harley Davidson motorcycle and cannot be a child molester or have applied to become a police officer or prison guard. [ [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2e614f75-9caf-4865-a76b-7b54fbb46590 Vancouver Sun June 10, 2005 Behind the Patch: Angels ABCs: by Neal Hall:] ]

After a lengthy, phased process, a prospective member is first deemed to be a 'Hang-around', indicating that the individual is invited to some club events or to meet club members at known gathering places.

If the Hang-around is interested, he may be asked to become an 'Associate', a status that usually lasts a year or two. At the end of that stage, he is reclassified as 'Prospect', participating in some club activities, but not having voting privileges, while he is evaluated for suitability as a full member. The last phase, and highest membership status, is 'Full Membership' or 'Full-Patch'.NDIC Document, [http://cryptome.org/gangs/hells.pdf US Department of Justice Report on OMG HA] ] The term "Full-Patch" refers to the complete four-piece crest, including the 'Death's Head' logo, two rockers "(top rocker: 'Hells Angels'; bottom rocker: State or Territory claimed)" and the rectangular MC patch below the wing of the Death's Head. Prospects are only allowed to wear a bottom rocker with the word 'Prospect'.

To become a full member, the "Prospect" must be voted on by the rest of the full club members. Prior to votes being cast, a Prospect usually travels to every chapter in the sponsoring chapter's geographic jurisdiction (state/province/territory) and introduces himself to every Full-Patch. This process allows each voting member to become familiar with the subject and to ask any questions of concern prior to the vote. Successful admission usually requires more than a simple majority, and some clubs may reject a Prospect for a single dissenting vote. Some form of formal induction follows, wherein the Prospect affirms his loyalty to the club and its members. The final logo patch (top "Hells Angels" rocker) is then awarded at this initiation ceremony. The step of attaining full membership can be referred to as "being patched".

Official charters

The HAMC acknowledges more than a hundred charters spread over 29 countries. The first official charter outside of the U.S. was formed in New Zealand in 1961. Europe did not become home to the Hells Angels until 1969, when two London charters were formed after the Beatles invited some members of the HAMC San Francisco to London. Two people from London visited California, "prospected", and ultimately joined. Two charters were issued on July 30, 1969; one for "South London", the other for "East London" but by 1973 the two charters came together as one, simply called "London". The London Angels provided security at a number of UK Underground festivals including Phun City in 1970 organised by anarchist International Times writer and lead singer with the The Deviants Mick Farren. They even awarded Farren an "approval patch" in 1970 for use on his first solo album "Mona", which also featured Steve Peregrin Took (who was credited as "Shagrat the Vagrant"). [http://www.hellsangelslondon.com/history.php HAMC London Web Site] The 1980s and 1990s saw a major expansion of the club into Canada.

A list of acknowledged charters can be found on the HAMC club's official web site. [ [http://www.hells-angels.com/CHARTERS.html Hells Angels MC World ] ]

Activities

The Hells Angels motorcycle club is often viewed as the epitome of the biker counterculture of the 1960s. The club is centered around a culture of motorcycling enthusiasts and its web site states that a member's principal mode of transport has to be a motorcycle. The website adds that members travel on average 20,000 miles a year. [http://www.hells-angels.com/faq.htm Hells Angels FAQ page] Dead link|date=May 2008 The club culture revolves around social events such as undertaking trips as a group, parties and rallies. Most chapters have information on upcoming and past events on their web sites.

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club also undertakes a number of charitable activities, such as collecting toys for needy children.Hells Angels also have periodic World Runs, where members from all over the world gather in one location.

Although the club denies any organized criminal activity on a club level, public perception of the club as a lawless, violent organization is often supported by widespread media coverage of club members' criminal activity. Canadian authors William Marsden and Julian Sher further accentuated this view in their book: "Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers' Global Crime Empire".

Criminal activities

United States

California

Altamont

Perhaps one of the most notoriousFact|date=May 2008 events in Hells Angels' history involved the December 6, 1969, Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway — partially documented in the 1970 film "Gimme Shelter"IMDB, [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065780 Gimmer Shelter (1970)] , accessed February 28, 2007] — featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and The Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform but canceled 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.{Sol Stern, Ramparts Magazine March, 1970} The Angels parked their motorcycles in front of the stage in order to create a buffer between the stage and the tens of thousands of concert goers.

Crowd management proved to be difficult: many spectators were injured and four died.One was Meredith Hunter, two others were killed by a hit-and-run driver and the fourth died while drowning in a puddle of water {Capital Times, April 20, 1970 Page 3} Over the course of the day, the Hells Angels became increasingly agitated as the crowd turned more aggressive. Denise Jewkes of the Ace of Cups, six months pregnant and on stage observing, was hit in the head by an empty beer bottle thrown from the crowd and wound up in the hospital with a fractured skull{Sol Stern Ramparts Magazine March 1970}

Much speculation has ensued as to the intended role of the Hells Angels. At the 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 or not the Hells Angels were to manage security for the entire concert or just for The Rolling Stones. Sam Cutler, the Stone's 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.{The Capital, April 20 1970}

By the time The Rolling Stones took stage, numerous incidents of violence had occured both between the Hells Angels and within the crowd internally. A huge circus performer weighing over 350 pounds stripped naked and plunged through the crowd. Concert goers attempted to detain him. Several Hells Angels leaped from the stage and subdued the man with fists and pool cues. A crowd of between 4,000 and 5,000 had jammed to the very edge of the stage, and many attempted to climb onto it. (The Capital, April 20 1970}

The Angels used sawed-off pool cues in order to control the crowd. After one of the Angels' motor bikes was knocked over, the Angels became even more aggressive, even toward the performers onstage. Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was knocked unconscious following an altercation with an Angel on stage as seen in the documentary film "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" (not, as is commonly thought, "Sympathy for the Devil"). A concert patron by the name of Meredith Hunter produced a handgun. 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." [Barger, Sonny; Zimmerman, Keith; and Zimmerman, Kent "Hell's Angels: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club." HarperCollins, pp 159 - 169]

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 that 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."

In addition, enhanced and slowed-down footage from the film shows Hunter brandishing the handgun just before Passaro leaps from the stage and stabs him. {Orange County Register, May 27, 2005}

Nevada

River Run Riot

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 Angel 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 group claim they were defending themselves from an attack initiated by the Mongols.

Charges were dismissed against 36 other Hells Angels originally named in the indictment. [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Feb-24-Sat-2007/news/12790293.html Hells Angels get prison terms] , accessed March 29, 2007]

New York

Roberta Shalaby assault

On January 28, 2007 a woman named Roberta Shalaby was found badly beaten on the sidewalk outside the Hells Angels' clubhouse in New York City. The resulting investigation by the NYPD has been criticized by the group for its intensity. The police were refused access to the Hells Angels club-house and responded by closing off the area, setting up sniper positions, and sending in armored personnel carriers. [ [http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-hell013107,0,7706581.story Hells Angels slam NYPD over clubhouse raid - Crime, Law and Justice, Manhattan, New York City Police Department - amNY.com ] ] After obtaining a warrant, the police searched the club-house and arrested one Hells Angel who was later released. The group claims to have no connection with the beating of Roberta 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. The members were later exonerated and the club is now suing the city of New York for damages to their clubhouse. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/nyregion/01angels.html?ref=nyregion After Police Search, Hells Angels Brace for Fight - New York Times ] ]

Alleged Mick Jagger murder plot

In March 2008 it was revealed in a BBC documentary interview of an FBI agent that Hells Angels members attempted to carry out a planto murder Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones in 1969 in response to a dispute with him over concert security they had provided. The gang members planned to kill Jagger by reaching him by sea at his vacation home on Long Island, NY. The plan failed, however, when a storm hit their boat, throwing the men overboard. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/03/03/britain.jaggerplot.ap/index.html Report: Jagger target of Hells Angels murder plot - CNN.com ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7274829.stm BBC NEWS Entertainment | Jagger 'escaped gang murder plot' ] ]

Washington

Michael Walsh murder, racketeering

In 2001 Hells Angels Rodney Lee Rollness and Joshua Binder murdered Michael "Santa" Walsh, who had allegedly falsely claimed to be a member of the Hells Angels. [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004083772_hellsangel19m.html Local News "Enforcer" for Hells Angels sent to prison for 15 years | Seattle Times Newspaper ] ] 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. [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004113965_webhellsangel08m.html Local News Arlington man gets 7 years for involvement in Hells Angels murder | Seattle Times Newspaper ] ] West Coast leader Richard "Smilin' Rick" Fable, along with Rollness and Binder, were also convicted of various racketeering offenses. [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003889711_hellsangel18m.html Local News Hells Angels figure gets 7-1/89 years | Seattle Times Newspaper ] ]

Canada

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. [The Vancouver Sun "(June 10, 2005)", [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/specials/websterawards/story.html?id=a42e5b7a-f7a9-42f2-b5fc-b48eb22a2983 B.C.'s Hells Angels: Rich and Powerful] ] Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, PQ) testified in Parliament that the Hells Angels had 38 chapters in Canada in 1995-1997. [cite web|url=http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1691380&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=38&Ses=1|title=Edited Hansard No. 69, 38th Parliament, 1st session|date=2005-03-10]

The Hells Angels established their first Canadian chapters in the province of Quebec during the seventies. The Outlaws and several affiliated independent clubs 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. By 1997, under the leadership of Walter "Nurget" Stadnick, 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 two of the three territories. [ [http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470837101.html "Fallen Angel: The Unlikely Rise of Walter Stadnick in the Canadian Hells Angels", by Jerry Langton, John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd, 2006] ]

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) [ [http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?pub=bill&doc=C-24&parl=37&ses=1&language=E Bill C-24 ] ] 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. [http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/onsc/2005/2005onsc14135.html R. v. Lindsay, 2005] [RCMP Gazette, [http://gazette.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/print.php?&article_id=212&page_id=51&lang_id=1 Behind the anti-gang law] ]

Quebec

Maurice (aka Mom) Boucher was the alleged leader of the Quebec chapters and second-in-command of the Canadian Nomad chapter, a chapter with no fixed geographic base. He is currently in prison, having been convicted on two counts of first-degree murder. In May 2002 Maurice received an automatic life sentence, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years. [CBC News, [http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2002/05/05/boucher_verdict020505.html Mom guilty of murder] ]

Ontario

Project Tandem Raids

In September of 2006, after an 18 month Investigation conducted by numerous Law Enforcement Agencies, 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 were worth more than $1 Million Dollars to include $470,000 in cash, $300,000 in vehicles and $140,000 in motorcycles. During the raids, drugs such as cocaine and ecstacy were seized; total street value of drugs seized was worth more than $3 Million Dollars [CTV News, [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060929/hells_angels_060929/20060929?hub=TorontoHome.html Mole Helps Ont. Police net suspected gang members] ] [Canada.com, [http://www.canada.com/cityguides/hamilton/story.html?id=d52a9000-057d-45f4-9886-cb52ae16d108&k=1505.html Alleged gang members rounded up in Ont] ] [CBC News, [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2006/09/29/ont-raids.html 15 Hells Angels arrested in Ontario raids: police] ]

Project Develop

In April of 2007, after another 18 month investigation, 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 OPP and members of the Toronto Police Service on April 4th, 2007, at least 15 members of the Hells Angels were detained and charged with drug and weapons offenses at the Eastern Avenue Clubhouse raid. [CTV News, [http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20070404/opp_hells_angels_070404?hub=TopStories.html Hells Angels clubhouses raided in three provinces] ] [ National Post, [http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=791fcde1-b377-4a7d-a93a-cc9b37511065&k=89014.html Ontario police officials praise informant's help in Hells' raids] ] [CBC News, [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2007/04/05/hells-angels-police.html Insider key to Hells Angels raids: police] ] . 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 worth of cash. Project Develop also seized 67 rifles, five handguns, three pairs of brass knuckles and a police baton. [ National Post, [http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=791fcde1-b377-4a7d-a93a-cc9b37511065&k=89014.html Ontario police officials praise informant's help in Hells' raids] ]

British Columbia

Project E-Pandora

In late 2004 to 2005 the culmination of investigations into the actions of the Motorcycle club led to charges against 45 people including members of the Hells Angels and other associates of the gang, including 17 full-patch Hells Angels members, and a chapter president.'45 Charged', [http://www.primetimecrime.com/Articles/Media%20Articles/20050930VS.htm Vancouver Sun: 45 Charged] ] The investigation that brought the majority of the arrests, with a significant media impact, was Project E-Pandora,'E-Pandora', The project concluded with 12 search warrants, 17 arrests, and charges against 18 individuals.]

In total, investigators seized:
*more than 20 kilograms of methamphetamine
*more than 20 kilograms of cocaine
*more than 70 kilograms of marijuana
*Restricted and Prohibited Weapons which include 5 Handguns, fully automatic weapons including silencers, 11 sticks of dynamite with detonation cord and blasting caps, 4 grenades and an assortment of ammunition
*more than $200,000 Canadian currency
*250 kilograms of Methylamine (a precursor for the production of ecstasy)
*2 methamphetamine laboratories

Due to the success of Project E-Pandora, based in large part on the tone and focus of news media stories, the province's general public now make a direct connection between the motorbike club and organized crime.

BC Angel acquitted

In the most recent ruling, March 27, 2008, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled against prosecutors who had attempted to convict a Hells Angels member of possession for the benefit of a criminal organization. [Fraser, Keith. "The Province", March 28, 2008] 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 of possessing it for the benefit of a criminal organization had to fail as well.

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".

Manitoba

The Hells Angels' expansion into Manitoba began with a relationship with Los Bravos, a local motorcycle gang. In 2000 Los Bravos were "patched over," becoming a full-fledged Hells Angels chapter.cite web | title = Crown argues biker gang is organized crime | work = cbc.com | url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2007/04/20/grant-trial.html | accessdate = 2008-01-25]

The following investigations over the last two years have been executed with the following charges.

Project Defense

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.'Project Defense', [http://winnipeg.ca/police/press/2006/02feb/2006_02_15.stm Project Defense, Winnipeg Media Release] ] Thirteen people were indicted on a variety of charges, including drug trafficking, extortion, proceeds of crime, and organized crime related offences. 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.

Project Drill

On December 12, 2007 Project Drill'Project Drill', [http://winnipeg.ca/police/press/2007/12dec/2007_12_12.stm Project Drill, Winnipeg Media Release] ] 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 offence 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 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. [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/09/19/bc-080919-mercedes-seized.html?ref=rss] ] [ [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=aedd0f80-94e2-4b93-b029-acdb4bdedf6c&k=11170] ]

Joint investigations

Other joint investigations include:
* "Project Develop",'Project Develop', [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Forty_Hells_Angels_locations_in_Canada_raided_by_police 'Project Develop' 40 HA locations raided] ] a joint 18-month investigation with Ontario, New Brunswick, and British Columbia
* In January 2006, "Project Husky",'Project Husky', [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060118/biker_arrests_060118?s_name=&no_ads= 'Project Husky' arrests 27 Hells Angels members] ] a two-year investigation involving police forces in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, resulted in the arrest of twenty-seven suspects, [ [http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/01/19/biker-busts20060119.html Police claim a victory over bikers in Thunder Bay ] ] including five full-patch Angels from across Eastern and Central Canada
* "Project Koker",'Project Koker', [http://www.rcmp.ca/ab/news/2006/Edmonton_KOKER1_Nov28-06.htm Eighteen Charged in 'Project Koker'] ] 23-month investigation in Edmonton and Calgary
* "Project Halo",'Project Halo', [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/specials/websterawards/story.html?id=480e9ad4-3889-45c1-8f85-30ee0b49834a Nanaimo members claim smear campaign -- police unconvinced] ] 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.'Nanaimo Clubhouse Seizure', [http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=45c2fd90-d7d7-48ef-8e82-d251b63f5284 Safety of police considered in Hells Angels clubhouse takeover] ]

The Netherlands

In 2006 two Dutch newspapers reported that the Amsterdam luxury brothel Yab Yum had long been controlled by the Dutch Hells Angels, who had taken over after a campaign of threats and blackmailing. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060505122557/http://www.bndestem.nl/binnenland/article306919.ece Yab Yum: exclusief én crimineel] , BN DeStem, 3 May 2006; [http://www.eindhovensdagblad.nl/edbinnenland/article305011.ece 'Ook sekshuis Yab Yum werd afgeperst'] . Eindhovens Dagblad, 3 May 2006. nl icon] 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. [ [http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2008/01/hells_angels_own_yab_yum_broth.php 'Hells Angels own Yab Yum brothel'] , DutchNews.nl, 3 January 2008] The brothel was closed in January 2008. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0454855620080104 Amsterdam court says Yab Yum brothel must close] , "Reuters", 4 January 2008]

Germany

On June 11 2008, two Bandidos members were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a Hells Angels member in Ibbenbüren, Germany. 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 had been reported. It is also well-known that the Hells Angels and various other biker gangs have a heavy presence in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg, which is a hotbed for prostitution and drug-dealing.

candinavia

A biker war between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos, known as The Great Northern Biker War, raged from 1994 until 1997 and ran across Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even parts of Finland and Estonia. It resulted in 11 murders, 74 attempted murders, and 96 wounded members of the involved biker clubs. [ [http://gangstersinc.tripod.com/Biker.html Gangsters Incorporated — The Great Northern Biker War] , "gangstersinc.tripod.com". Accessed online March 31, 2008.]

Australia

The Flinders Lane Shooting

On 18 June 2007, a man who was a Hells Angels member fired 6 shots, killing one man, and critically wounding a woman and another male. The man was seen dragging a woman out of a taxi by her hair on a busy Melbourne street when two male bystanders attempted to help her. The offender pulled out a hand gun and shot the two men and woman at point blank range. This incident occurred at approximately 8:20am Monday, during one of Central Melbourne's busiest times. Victims were rushed to the Alfred and Royal Melbourne Hospitals for emergency surgery. The gunman fled the scene almost immediately, later dumping his jacket and gun at a nearby building site.

On May 12, 2008, Christopher Wayne Hudson pleaded guilty to the murder of lawyer, Brendan Keilar, and other offences committed during the shooting. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/12/2241666.htm Hudson pleads guilty over Melbourne shootings] ]

References

Books and newspaper articles

Perhaps the most notorious and colorful account of the Hells Angels was written by Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Published in 1966, , was expanded from an original 1965 article for The Nation after he spent a year in close quarters with group.
* Thompson, Hunter S. "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs". New York: Random House, 1966; Ballantine Books, 1996 (ISBN 0-345-41008-4)
* Barger, Sonny; Zimmerman, Keith; and Zimmerman, Kent "Hell's Angels: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club". HarperCollins (ISBN 0060937548)
* Langton, Jerry "Fallen Angel: The Unlikely Rise of Walter Stadnick in the Canadian Hells Angels". John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd. (ISBN 0-470-83710-1)
* [http://www.amazon.com/dp/1550228242 The Assimilation: Bikers United Against The Hells Angels by Edward Winterhalder and Wil De Clercq - ECW Press 2008] (ISBN 1-5502-2824-2)
*Winterhalder, Edward, "Out In Bad Standings: Inside The Bandidos Motorcycle Club - The Making of a Worldwide Dynasty",Blockhead City Press, 2005/Seven Locks Press, 2007 (ISBN 0-9771-7470-0)
* Sher, Julian and Marsden, William "The Road to Hell : How the Biker Gangs are Conquering Canada", Random House, 2004 (ISBN 0676975992)
* Sher, Julian and Marsden, William "Angels of Death; Inside the Bikers' Global Crime Empire", Knopf Canada, 2006 (ISBN 0676977308)
* Cherry, Paul "The Biker Trials: Bringing Down the Hells Angels", ECW Press, 2005 (ISBN 155022638X)
* Lavigne, Yves "Hell's Angels: Taking Care of Business", Ballantine Books, 1994 (ISBN 9994961950)
* Lavigne, Yves "Hell's Angels: Into the Abyss", HarperTorch, 1997 (ISBN 0061011045)
* Lavigne, Yves "Hell's Angels at War", Harper-Collins, 2000 (ISBN 0006385648)
* " [http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/01/19/biker-busts20060119.html Police claim a victory over bikers in Thunder Bay] " CBC News, Thursday, 19 January 2006
* http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/04/11/biker-war-sher.html?ref=rss
* " [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/02/njagger102.xml Storm thwarted Mick Jagger murder attempt] " Telegraph, UK, Sunday, 2 March 2008

External links

Official sites

* [http://www.hells-angels.com/ Official Hells Angels website] — listing many chartered local chapters, with links
* [http://www.hellsangelslondon.com/history.php Hells Angels MC London History]
* [http://www.hells-angels.com.br Brazilian Hells Angels] — Hells Angels chapters in Brazil
* [http://www.bigredmachine.com/ Hells Angels NYC — main chapter]
* [http://www.hellsangelsmcoakland.com/ Hells Angels Oakland] , referring to HAMC as Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation.
* [http://www.hells-angels.dk/ Hells Angels Denmark official website] Hells Angels Denmark. Website is in Danish.

Other sites

* [http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special42/articles/0123hellsangels23.html "Hells Angels: The federal infiltration"] , "The Arizona Republic", 23 January 2005
* [http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=27946 America's Most Wanted profile on Paul Merle Eischied] , a member of the Hells Angels who is wanted for the murder of a woman in Mesa, Arizona
* [http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-hell013107,0,7706581.story Hells Angels slam NYPD over clubhouse raid]
* [http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/hellsang.htm FBI report on Hell's Angels] from the 1960s and 1970s.
* [http://www.missoulian.com/specials/hellsangels/ha02.html Missoulian] — An article on how the Hells Angels were established.


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