The location where the Hells Angels carried out the murderous ambush that brought them to notoriety across the province is now in the possession of the attorney general of Quebec.
A decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday put an end to a legal battle that began in 2012, when 24 members of the Hells Angels’ Sherbrooke chapter pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to murder rivals in a war over drug trafficking turf. The eight-year conflict began in 1994 and came to be known as Quebec’s biker gang war.
When the gang members entered their guilty pleas, the attorney general filed a motion seeking to confiscate the bunker belonging to the gang’s chapter in Sherbrooke as well as four plots of land around it.
In 1985, the gang had been established in Quebec for eight years when it caught the attention of the entire province after it was revealed they killed five of their own members inside their fortified building on what is now Wellington St. S. in Sherbrooke. On March 24, 1985, several members of the gang’s now-defunct Laval chapter were invited to the Sherbrooke bunker for what they were told would be a party. Instead, the five men were shot in a cold-blooded ambush. The ambush came to be known as the Lennoxville Purge, as several Hells Angels were later tried for the murders. The bunker is in Lennoxville, which is now a borough of Sherbrooke.
The gang challenged the motion filed against them in 2012 and fought the attorney general for years. On September 11, 2017, Quebec Superior Court Justice Carol Cohen ordered that the province could confiscate the five plots of land because the attorney general proved it was property related to the commission of an offence. After depositing 73 pieces of evidence before the court, it established the property was used to facilitate crimes committed by the gang, including drug trafficking, murder and gangsterism.
Among the evidence presented were the criminal records of the 24 men who pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiring to commit murder.
Three men who were part of that group and who also conceded they are founding members of the Sherbrooke chapter — Guy Auclair, Georges Beaulieu and Richard Rousseau — asked the Supreme Court to hear their appeal of Cohen’s decision. On Thursday, Canada’s highest court announced it would not hear the case.
Jean-Pascal Boucher, a spokesperson for the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales, said it is satisfied with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision and confirmed it means the attorney general “is now the one and only owner” of the property.
“The DPCP will examine all options before it decides how to manage this property related to the commission of an offence,” Boucher said.
According to the current municipal evaluation, the property where the bunker is located is estimated to be worth $425,000. The confiscation includes four other plots of land next to it.
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