Dale Carruthers, Randy Richmond-lfpress.com
The former president of the London Outlaws motorcycle club was among eight Southwestern Ontario residents swept up in a police crackdown this week, The Free Press has learned.
Ryan (Big Red) Daigneault, 44, an alleged member of the Outlaws, faces several cocaine trafficking charges, as well as possessing prohibited ammunition, transferring a handgun and selling marijuana, according to court records.
In all, five residents in the London area, two in the Brantford area, and one in Ancaster were arrested Tuesday and processed through the London courthouse, the documents show.
The OPP said it was working with local police forces to carry out a “significant enforcement operation” in London, Brantford, Ancaster, Brant County and Barrie on Tuesday, but few other details were provided.
A source familiar with the OPP-led operation said Daigneault’s arrest was part of the sweeping investigation.
The head of the OPP’s biker enforcement unit declined to say whether the arrests were part of the operation or related to outlaw motorcycle clubs, citing the ongoing investigation.
“We will provide more information once we are operationally able to, which will include an addendum of charged persons. Thank you for your patience,” Staff. Sgt. Scott Wade said in an email.
A source close to the Outlaws said some of the Southwestern Ontario residents arrested have alleged ties to the motorcycle club, but the arrests are a result of an internal dispute, and aren’t part of a biker war with any other club.
Court documents also link at least two of those charged with that investigation.
Daigneault may be the most well-known in London of those charged, although he faces far fewer charges than an Ancaster man facing 135 charges, including possession of a grenade.
Daigneault was caught up in the 2002 sweep of the Outlaws in Ontario that kept alleged members behind bars or prompted their retirement during a long drawn-out prosecution of the case.
That bust and the move by the Hells Angels into London in the early 2000s had some biker analysts predicting the end of the Outlaws.
But local Outlaws opened a new clubhouse in London in 2011 and started a puppet club called the Filthy 15 in 2017.
In 2018, they showed up at the Port Dover Friday the 13th ride for the first time in years, with police warning at the time of tensions between them and the Hells Angels.
Soon after, the OPP’s biker enforcement unit announced it was investigating two incidents involving threats and intimidation between Hells Angels and Outlaws members.
That same year, Daigneault walked away from accusations of organizing a hit on a member of the Hells Angels after the Crown withdrew a charge of counselling to commit murder.
While Daigneault was in custody awaiting trial at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, the Hells Angels arranged an assault in the visiting area, according to several independent sources inside and outside the jail.
Daigneault is known as Big Red for good reason, and that attempted assault failed, sources said.
London police confirmed at the time there was an incident, but said they received no request or complaint that would prompt an investigation.
The last two years have been relatively quiet on the biker front in London, with no public conflicts between the rival clubs.
But the Outlaws’ puppet club has put down roots in other Southwestern communities, a source said.
Charges of trafficking against Daigneault date back to October 2020 and include alleged incidents in Strathroy-Caradoc, Thames Centre, St. Thomas and London.
St. Thomas residents Daniel Bell, 34, and Cindy Klassen, 36, face charges of trafficking cocaine and possession of cocaine for trafficking. Several of the charges against Bell, Klassen and Daigneault are based on the same alleged incidents.
Stacey Scaman, 40, of London is charged with selling cannabis and possession of cannabis for the purpose of distributing it.
Daniel Boris, 42, of Adelaide-Metcalfe Township faces one count of trafficking cocaine.
Sean Sutherland, 32, of Ancaster faces 135 charges, the bulk of them weapon- and drug-related, including possession and transfer of an explosive substance, specifically a grenade, according to court records.
Sutherland also is charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of both a handgun and rifle, the documents show.
The charges against Sutherland, who appeared Tuesday in London and is scheduled to return via video Monday, stem from alleged incidents dating back to Nov. 14, 2019, in Brantford, Ancaster and Brant County, court records show.
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Jayme Hill, 31, of Brantford and Alicia Lewis, 36, of Paris face a combined 24 weapon- and drug-related offences, including cocaine trafficking and possession of a handgun. The charges stem from alleged incidents dating back to Oct. 27, 2020, in Brantford and Brant, court records show.
The court documents link Hill and Lewis to Tuesday’s OPP operation that saw heavy presences in London, Brantford, Ancaster, Brant County and Barrie.
“OPP executed a series of warrants yesterday across multiple jurisdictions, the result of a multi-year, multi-agency, organized crime investigation,” the documents dated Wednesday say.