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Police raid two Charlottetown biker clubs and seize liquor and items
The provincial government has said it wants to make laws banning gang colours in bars
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Police seized a large amount of liquor from two Charlottetown motorcycle clubs on Saturday.
Members of the Organized Crime Task Force, which included Charlottetown, Summerside and Kensington police officers as well as the RCMP federal investigation unit, executed search warrants executed the warrants at the Harley Club at 352 University Ave. and a Hells Angels hangaround club at 205 Fitzroy St. throughout the late morning and early afternoon on Saturday.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a good day to do this because there are a lot of Hells Angels in town here and we want to send a message
RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook
RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook, who is also provincial outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG) co-ordinator, said the warrants were served under the liquor control act.
A member of the Charlotettown Harley Club shows his displeasure at the news photographer as police executed search warrants on the clubhouse Saturday morning. A woman, whose property borders the club, said she has no issue with the club or its members. She said the previous owners of the building were more of a problem for her.
It resulted in police using a U-Haul van to remove large quantities of beer, hard liquor, liquor tickets, cash, refrigerators and other related materials.
“(The club) is zoned commercial residential but unless you have a licensed establishment you’re not allowed to sell liquor, or gift liquor,” said Cook. “The Charlottetown Harley Club has been doing this for a long time, the Hells Angels Club has not since they’re fairly new…. So it’s the oldest club on Prince Edward Island and the newest club.”
Cook said a small “user amount” of marijuana was also seized from the new club.
Although no one was arrested at either site, police said they will be issuing summonses at a later date.
The seizure occurred while a number of motorcyclists were in Charlottetown for the annual cycle swap meet at EastLink Centre.
Cook said information received by police indicated members of various motorcycle clubs and outlaw gangs would be gathering at both locations afterwards
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a good day to do this because there are a lot of Hells Angels in town here and we want to send a message,” said Cook, noting that officers would be keeping on eye on the clubhouses over the weekend.
The issue has been prevalent in P.E.I. over the past several months since the hangaround club was established.
The provincial government has said it wants to make laws banning gang colours in bars, make the construction of fortified building illegal and regulate body armour.
However, critics say banning the colours could be unconstitutional with similar legislation in Alberta currently being challenged in courts.
One of those critics is the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs (ACC), which hosted a meeting in Charlottetown in January. The motorcycle advocacy group has a membership that includes independent riders to patched members of the Hells and Angels and other clubs.
Cook said he wanted to be clear that police are not “focusing on motorcyclists” but rather on the “criminality within the clubs.”
“If the Hells Angels weren’t in the ACC, would things be what they are right now? They talk about biker respect, biker rights and motorcycle safety but when the Hells Angels are in your group, it automatically taints you,” said Cook. “There are rules for a reason and I heard someone from the Hells Angels say “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” I don’t make the rules but we certainly follow the rules. If you don’t like it, you can go to your politicians and try to get it changed. But I will enforce the law and I’ve said from the outset, we’re going to use every available legal avenue we have to deal with this issue.”
Cook said police will continue to greet members of clubs visiting from out of province
“We want to be the exact opposite of a welcoming committee. Our message is clear, outlaw motorcycle gangs and illegal activities associated to them are not welcome on our Island,” said Cook. “Likewise, members of the clubs who live in P.E.I. should know that we will continue our mandate to investigate and disrupt crime associated to any motorcycle club in the province.“
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