Local Hells Angels expands into Brantford

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WATERLOO REGION — Kitchener's outlaw biker gang the Hells Angels — one of the largest in the province — has consolidated its presence and expanded into nearby Brantford.

In the last year, members of the Kitchener chapter of the Hells Angels have created a new standalone club in Brantford, said Det. Staff Sgt. Anthony Renton, head of the OPP biker enforcement unit.

"By doing that, the Hells Angels are able to further their reach and take more territory," he said.

The move shows that the Kitchener chapter is a well-established biker stronghold in Ontario with a "substantial" membership, allowing it to split its members and create new chapters.

It's also significant because Brantford has never had a standalone chapter, he said. It has a friend club — Iron Hawgs — that supports both the Stolen Souls and the Hells Angels.

The local Hells Angels has deep roots in Kitchener. Outlaw bikers have been here since 1965, starting with Satan's Choice. During a massive Hell Angels "patch over" in 2000, the local Satan's Choice became the Hells Angels and garnered influence with their former president, Andre Watteel of Cambridge.

Police would not say how big the current chapter is, but it has significant numbers.

"It's a senior club, but it is an evolving club," Renton said. "They are always bringing in new people."

Waterloo Region has two main clubs — the Hells Angels in Kitchener and its support club, the Stolen Souls of Cambridge. The support club also set up a chapter in Brantford.

"It's more about protecting territory and securing that foothold in the Brantford area," Renton said.

The members of the new chapters have primarily come from the Kitchener and Cambridge chapters.

"They can afford to split their membership and create this new chapter," he said. "It (Kitchener) is one of the biggest chapters of the Hells Angels in the province."

But Renton said the numbers within the chapter are not its strength. It's the territory the club owns and keeps control of when it comes to criminal activity, such as drug trafficking.

"The more territory they have under their control, their power and their influence, then the more money that criminal organization will make," he said.

Renton said the Kitchener chapter's reach extends into Stratford and Guelph, where a support club — the Royal City Riders — exists.

"We believe they support the Kitchener's Hells Angels in their criminal activity," he said.

A support club "creates a layer" between the criminal organization and the criminal activity, Renton noted. It's responsible for most of the criminal activity and insulates gang members from criminal prosecution, he said.

Those belonging to a support club are full-patch members and have a similar hierarchy to the Hells Angels.

There are various layers, starting with "friend" and "associate," then on to "hang around," "prospect" and full-patch member.

Like many businesses, biker gangs have a clear chain of command, with a president and vice-president leading the group.

Their main purpose is to maintain a criminal business, Renton said, adding they traffic in cocaine, meth and fentanyl, and are involved in money laundering, illegal gaming, human trafficking and the sex trade.

"Anything where they can profit, they are involved in," he said.

In Kitchener, the Hells Angels have a clubhouse on Weber Street West, near Blucher Street. The Stolen Souls have a clubhouse in Cambridge.

Two years ago, the local Hells Angels had 21 full-patch members. Renton would only say it had more than 21 members when it split its membership in Brantford.

Membership can be fluid, he said. "Many of the members can live within your community but belong to a chapter somewhere else. They fly under the radar."

Renton said it's important that the public know that buying biker gang clothing means supporting criminals.

Next week, bikers will gather in Port Dover for the Friday the 13th ride. Outlaw biker gangs wear patches with their club logo, the letters MC (motorcycle club) and a chapter identification.

"When you are supporting them in the simplest way by buying their T-shirts that supports the Hells Angels, you are supporting the criminal element within your region," Renton said.

"We want to change that mindset."

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