RCMP drug enforcement branch in B.C. announces arrests of senior members of the Hells Angels during a press conference in Vancouver, BC, August 27, 2012.
Credits: CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY
Several Hells Angels were among those charged after raids in Kelowna, Osoyoos and Coquitlam.
“This investigation represents taking out some of the highest levels,’’ RCMP Supt. Brian Cantera told a news conference Monday. “British Columbians can appreciate the scope and efforts in terms of the police.’’
Among those facing charges is David Giles, the vice-president of the Hells Angeles’ Kelowna operations. He is charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to traffic a controlled substance.
Giles, who was acquitted of drug charges in 2008, was taken into custody at the Grand Villa Casino and Hotel in Burnaby over the weekend.
Also facing charges is Brian Oldham, a Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms in Kelowna. He remains at large and a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“This investigation demonstrated how organized criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking have no respect for municipal, provincial or international borders,” Cantera said. “More concerning is the disregarding of public safety these groups show for Canadian families and public safety.”
The full investigation lasted more than 20 months and required numerous officers to go undercover inside the Hells Angels. RCMP found the gang was producing marijuana in the southeast part of the province to fund cocaine importing operations.
Cantera said the case shows a blueprint of how Canadian-based organized crime groups search for profits.
“What you have here is simply the importance of the marijuana trade here in Canada which allows for these types of criminal activities to occur,’’ he said.
Police also seized eight kilograms of cocaine from several locations including a hidden compartment in a vehicle.