Two rival motorcycle gangs have had at least five violent clashes in New Brunswick over the last year and a half, according to new information from a Nova Scotia police unit that investigates outlaw motorcycle gangs.
But police won’t comment on the nature of the alleged violence between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws, bitter rivals competing for territory in an eastern expansion.
Both clubs have spent the last few years establishing roots in Atlantic Canada, starting with the Angels, the largest and most powerful motorcycle gang in Canada.
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Aside from being untapped territory, the Angels are likely interested in the region because of its port access, said Julian Sher, an author who has written several books on the Angels.
“If you’re in the trafficking business, why wouldn’t you want to be next to a port?” Sher said.
The Angels have a chapter of Nomads in New Brunswick made up of several high-ranking, full-patch members transplanted to the province without creating a formal clubhouse.
On Canada Day, the organization also opened up new Moncton and Halifax chapters of a club called the Red Devils, according to a presentation created by Nova Scotia’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Made up of officers from police agencies across Nova Scotia, the unit is focused on investigating biker gangs.
Members of the unit gave the presentation at a regular meeting of the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners earlier this month.
In the presentation, RCMP Const. Scott Morrison characterized the Red Devils as the top “friend club” internationally for the Angels.
While members of support clubs will often attend Angels events and wear official clothing, friend clubs actually do bidding for the parent club, Morrison said, which could range from collecting debts to drug trafficking and violence.
The Red Devils could be considered a minor league or farm team for the Angels. Those clubs are typically made up of “younger, meaner” and sometimes less disciplined members than the big club, Sher said.
“If they’ve set up shop in Halifax and Moncton, it’s a sign of growing Hells Angels influence in the east,” he said.
The Outlaws operate in New Brunswick through the Black Pistons, a support club with a chapter in Fredericton, police say.
The Outlaws have long been a “thorn” in the Angels’ side.
“That’s just never good news when the Hells Angels and the Outlaws are in the same geographic territory,” Sher said.
Violence erupted between Angels Quebec members and the Black Pistons somewhere in the Fredericton area in October 2016, according to a map of “violence” presented to Halifax’s police commissioners.
The most recent incident happened in May, also in the Fredericton area, with Angels clashing directly with Outlaws members.
The map shows a total of four violent incidents in the Fredericton area, along with one clash in the eastern region of the province and one in Nova Scotia.
“A lot of it has been in New Brunswick because New Brunswick also has a Black Pistons chapter that has been established longer than [the Nova Scotia chapter],” Morrison told Halifax police commissioners.
The Fredericton Police Force declined an interview about the new information, saying the content wasn’t provided by Fredericton police “nor approved by the force,” referring questions to police in Nova Scotia.
“We are aware of the presence of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in our jurisdiction and the criminal element associated to organized crime,” spokesperson Alycia Bartlett wrote in an email.
CBC News contacted Nova Scotia RCMP, but that force referred questions to New Brunswick RCMP.
New Brunswick RCMP also declined an interview, saying it didn’t endorse the Halifax presentation and couldn’t comment on it.
“The New Brunswick RCMP has not been called to any violent clashes between outlaw motorcycle gangs,” spokesperson Paul Greene wrote in an emailed statement.
Greene said New Brunswick RCMP have “ongoing criminal investigations” related to outlaw motorcycle gang activity but can’t discuss them.
He pointed to the arrests of Robin Moulton and Emery (Pit) Martin as results the force has gotten so far in investigating outlaw motorcycle gang activity in New Brunswick.
Police allege Moulton is a full-patch member of Angels’ Nomads New Brunswick chapter and Martin, arrested in June, is a long-standing member of Angels Quebec.
Neither Moulton nor Martin have been convicted of the charges against them.
Greene also declined to comment on the investigation into the death of 50-year-old Ronald Gerald Richard, other than to say the investigation is continuing.
Richard, described by Moulton has the fallen president of a Angels support club called the Gatekeepers, was killed last July 24. In Nova Scotia, the Red Devils replaced the Gatekeepers club, but it’s not immediately clear if the same is true in New Brunswick.
Police have not made any arrests in Richard’s death.
Will try to ‘squeeze each other out’
Both Outlaws and Angels affiliates are competing over turf, but Sher said people shouldn’t panic just yet. Biker wars are rare in Canada and the gangs operate similar to businesses.
First, they’ll try to squeeze or buy each other other out, Sher said. They’ll try lower level intimidation.
But if that doesn’t work, “the violence could escalate.”
“If push comes to shove, they will fight for their territory,” he said.