So some of you watch a TV show called Sons of Anarchy, and you believe members of the Hells Angels when they claim to be nothing more than a motorcycle club who donate toys to kids and simply like to hang out and brag about their H.D’s.
And, of course, get targeted by the police for absolutely no reason at all.
The truth is quite different. The Hells Angels are the preeminent outlaw motorcycle gang in North America (the “one per centers,” meaning the one per cent of motorcycle enthusiasts who engage in criminal activities), well known to have had violent feuds in eastern Canada with another bike gang, and to have had similar feuds south of the border with another gang called the Bandidos, specifically in California.
According to the RCMP, “Hells Angels have a long record of violence in Canada including the murder of two justice officials in Quebec in 1997 (and) a gang war with the Rock Machine in Quebec that resulted in an estimated 150 murders over the course of a decade.”
“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,” according to a 2000 FBI report, plus many, many other sources which for lack of space can’t be listed here.
There have been recent instances, including the raiding of a Hells Angels-linked drug house in St. Albert in 2014, that show the gang continues to attempt to establish itself in Alberta. The St. Albert house was located behind the community hospital and beside a kid’s soccer park. Observant neighbours were concerned about the activities they saw going on at the house and called police.
And why are the Hells Angels so violent? Like all organized crime, violence is a tool the gang uses to enforce the rules and keep profit flowing. Where does the profit come from? Illegal drugs. The Hells Angels, like organized crime, sell drugs like meth, cocaine and crack and they like nothing more than selling those drugs to your kids. Because those kids develop addictions, so the girls become prostitutes to make money to buy drugs to make gangsters rich, and the boys become criminals to steal other people’s property to make money to buy drugs to make gangsters rich.
The Hells Angels are not a bunch of dumb, greasy bikers. They are smart. They know the enemy of organized crime is attention, specifically media attention. That might explain why Angels to this day deny any criminal activities and portray themselves as poor, downtrodden souls living that free life on a motorbike and being hassled unjustly by The Man. A family of free spirits.
The Hells Angels aren’t lying when they say they are a family. The RCMP have linked the bikers to another gang called the White Boy Posse, a street gang based in Edmonton known for drug-dealing and senseless violence. In 2012 three men police believe to be members of WBP shotgunned a 34 year old woman, Lorry Ann Santos, to death in Saskatoon, Sask. Later investigation suggests the gunmen were looking to murder someone else and accidentally killed Santos.
Nice little addition to the Hells Angels family.
Stu Salkeld is the new editor of the Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.