Alan S. Hale
Cornwall police’s street crime unit told the police services board on Thursday the Loners Motorcycle Club has departed Cornwall after its alleged drug trafficking operation collapsed following an aggressive street crime investigation this past summer.
Several people are facing charges, and some of the cases are still before the courts.
The Loners are a “one-percenter” motorcycle club, which means its members self-identify as being outlaws. Other clubs that claim to be one-percenters include the Hells Angles, Satan’s Choice, the Lobos, among many others.
The club had been operating an unmarked clubhouse in the Le Village just off of Montreal Road since early 2018, a fact that the Standard-Freeholder made public last January.
During a presentation to the police board about the work the Cornwall police’s street crime unit has been doing with regards to biker gangs in the city, Sgt. Marc Fortin mentioned they had “taken care” of the Loners.
When asked what he meant by Mayor Bernadette Clement, Fortin revealed the Cornwall police had partnered with the OPP to begin an investigation into the Loners beginning last January.
“Our resources in Cornwall are small, so we came up with the idea of taking care of these guys by death by a thousand paper cuts,” Fortin told the board.
After months of using various tactics that included sting operations, the investigation culminated in a raid on a drug house located on Prince Arthur Street in Cornwall. A large amount of drugs were seized from the property, including purple fentanyl.
According to Fortin, the Loners attempted to resume their trafficking operation after the raid, but their resupply was intercepted by police. After that, the club quickly ran out of money.
“They had no money to pay for their clubhouse, so now they have set up in the Brockville area,” he said.
There are other motorcycle clubs in the city the police are keeping their eyes on, but deputy chief Shawna Spowart said Cornwall doesn’t really have more biker gangs than other cities of its size.
“I don’t think what we have seen is outside the norm of what we see across the province,” said Spowart.
Another anti-gang initiative created by the Cornwall police is attracting attention at other forces in Canada. Last year, the police began offering local business signs forbidding the wearing of gang colours in their establishments.
Several businesses have posted the signs, which allow police to come in and arrest people breaking the rule under Ontario’s Trespass to Property Act. Fortin said he was recently contacted by a police force in Prince Edward Island, which is looking to imitate the idea in their city.