Police in and around Montreal say they dealt a major blow to organized crime, seizing a half kilo of cocaine, 17,000 pills and $460,000 in cash during a series of raids Wednesday.
The raids, which yielded no arrests, are part of a continuing investigation into a narcotics ring linked to the Hells Angels.
“The goal wasn’t to get arrests,” said Sgt. Claude Denis, of the Sûreté du Québec. “This was about hitting their operations.”
Ninety officers from the SQ, Montreal police, RCMP and regional police executed raids on 13 homes and nine vehicles.
The task force, Escouade nationale de répression du crime organisé, was created last year to combat with the Hells Angels biker gang.
High-profile B.C. Hells Angels associate charged with murder
Devils Army president Ricky Alexander has been charged with killing John “Dillon” Brown (pictured), an MMA fighter, in 2016.
A prominent Hells Angels associate who leads the Devils Army support club in Campbell River has been charged with the 2016 murder of a promising MMA fighter and young father.
Richard Ernest “Ricky” Alexander, 63, was arrested Friday afternoon in a parking lot in Campbell River and charged with killing John “Dillon” Brown, 30.
Brown was found dead inside the trunk of his grey Honda Accord on March 12, 2016, near Sayward, northwest of Campbell River. He was last seen leaving a Campbell River residence about 1 p.m. the day before.
Officers from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant in connection with Brown’s death at the Devils Army clubhouse last year.
At the time, Alexander told Postmedia he didn’t know why police were there and wouldn’t comment until he found out.
CFSEU Sgt. Brenda Winpenny said Friday that the anti-gang agency worked with police from the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit on the “very active” murder investigation, which involved over 200 officers.
She said Alexander is being held in custody on Vancouver Island pending his next court appearance.
CFSEU Chief Officer Trent Rolfe said the charge is “particularly significant as it involves a long-time, high-ranking member of an outlaw motorcycle club.”
Alexander owns the building housing the clubhouse at 70 Petersen Rd., which was assessed last year as being worth $311,000, property records show.
He also owns a 13-acre property in Mission, assessed at just over $1 million, where he lives. And he owns condos in Burnaby and Pitt Meadows worth a total of $714,000, according to land titles obtained by Postmedia.
The Devils Army opened in Campbell River in 2009. Police say the 1% biker gang, which has five full-patch members and two strikers, or prospects, is affiliated with the Haney chapter of the more notorious Hells Angels.
Alexander and three others applied to trademark the helmeted skull logo that is the centre of the Devils Army’s three-piece patch on May 22, 2009. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office finally approved the trademark in 2012, records show.
Alexander describes himself on land title records as a businessman and a forestry consultant. Back in 2001, at a sentencing hearing for a firearms charge, his lawyer said Alexander was an experienced arborist, owned a trucking company, and was partners in a granite quarry in Suriname.
The 2001 conviction stemmed from his arrest near an east Vancouver house associated with friends of suspects in the murder a month earlier of prominent Hells Angel Donald Roming.
At the time, Alexander had a loaded pink handgun in his waistband and a list of names and descriptions in the glove compartment of his rental car. The first name on the list was the person police identified as the main suspect in Roming’s murder. Police also found a black toque and dark clothing in the car, as well as a second loaded handgun in the trunk.
Alexander pleaded guilty to a single count of possessing a loaded prohibited weapon and was sentenced to 22 months.
At his sentencing hearing, the Crown said there was a clear connection to the murder of Roming, who was gunned down March 9, 2001, outside a downtown nightclub.
Before he was shot, Roming had argued with two men in the club. The dispute spilled outside, ending with the fatal shooting. The suspects fled before police arrived, but others at the crime scene shouted their names to police. Friends of Roming’s also heard the names.
Police were watching the east Vancouver house linked to the suspects on April 4, 2001, when they saw Alexander in black clothing lurking near the rear of the residence and then circling the block. He later got into a leased Budget rental car and circled the block again, before leaving and going to a Burnaby address and then to a place in Mission.
When Alexander returned the following night, police stopped him and found a .22-calibre semi-automatic subcompact handgun in his waistband and another .22-calibre handgun in the trunk.
In the glove compartment, they found two handwritten pages listing the name of the prime suspect in the Roming shooting and three of his friends. The list included addresses for the men and, in some cases, their families, vehicle descriptions and licence plate numbers, and physical descriptions of the men — including, in some cases, height, weight and whether they had any tattoos.
Alexander denied acting on behalf of the Hells Angels.
His lawyer told the judge in 2001 that his client had a “troubled youth” and had an extensive criminal record that included armed robbery, break and enter, and drug trafficking.
RCMP Asst. Commissioner Kevin Hacket said Friday that police across the country “are committed to ensuring that outlaw motorcycle gangs and their associates remain a priority due to the level of violence and harm they inflict on our communities.”
“This investigation showcases that a collaborative, co-ordinated and focused approach can gather the evidence necessary to ensure that those responsible are brought before the courts,” Hackett said.