News Item: Report suggests biker gangs will rebound
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by ace
Monday 26 June 2006 - 16:49:10

OTTAWA - Police operations against outlaw motorcycle gangs have diminished their influence and put a dent in criminal activities, but such successes will likely be short-lived, according to a newly released military intelligence report obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

The heavily censored report cited successful police operations from 2001 to 2003 against the Hells Angels, the Bandidos and the Outlaws motorcycle gangs. But the 2003 intelligence study also warns that biker gangs are resilient in bouncing back and will use ''lower level criminals and supporters'' in the future to expand their influence.

The Defence Department report, produced by military police criminal intelligence officers, pointed out that a series of raids, including a 2001 operation resulting in the arrest of approximately 40 Outlaws gang members, left that biker club in a state of ''disarray and their criminal influence diminished'' in Ontario.

''The OMG (outlaw motorcycle gang) world's involvement in illegal and organized criminal activities have certainly diminished to a slow pace; however, the national outlook on these successes is believed to be short-lived, and ... OMG members will ... 'expand their influence' through their various lower level criminals and supporters,'' noted the report called Operation Paramount.

The Canadian Forces launched the information-gathering Operation Paramount in the spring of 2002 as a result of an increase in reports of military personnel associating with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The Citizen requested the report under the Access to Information law, but Defence Department officials withheld the records for more than 15 months. The department's Access to Information branch only released the report after the newspaper filed a complaint with Information Commissioner John Reid.

In the last two weeks, Canadian police have launched a series of high-profile operations against outlaw motorcycle gangs. On June 16, police arrested three men in Manitoba, one a former soldier and police officer, in connection with the mass murder of eight Bandidos affiliates in southwestern Ontario.

Last Thursday, police in Quebec arrested 36 people in connection with a drug network which had close ties to the Hells Angels. Two of those arrested were former police officers. The RCMP alleged the network was shipping drugs into the U.S. at border crossings at Cornwall, Ont., and Coaticook, Que.

The same day as those arrests, Ontario police charged four more Bandidos with murder in connection with the beating death of a cocaine dealer. Officers say only a small number of Bandidos are now left in Canada, leaving the Hells Angels as the dominant biker gang in the country.

Canadian Forces Capt. Mark Giles said while military investigators would still collect information on defence personnel who have affiliations with biker gangs, ''Operation Paramount is not the same priority as it was in 2003 and 2004.''

''Our investigators are not as engaged with it as they were in that time period,'' he added.

Giles suggested that Operation Paramount, along with media coverage of the fact the Canadian Forces is keeping tabs on military personnel with biker affiliations, contributed to a decline of such cases. He said in the past such incidents involved small numbers of military personnel who usually had minor affiliations.

In 2004, the military reported to the government that it had monitored 62 Canadian Forces personnel suspected of being linked to outlaw biker gangs, according to records previously obtained by the Citizen. The personnel were believed to be involved in a range of activities from sporting Hells Angels insignias, to moonlighting as security guards for gang clubhouses, to trafficking drugs.

Giles said he did not have details on numbers of military members associated with such gangs, but noted that the Canadian Forces would likely not release those figures to the public.

Ottawa Citizen

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