Seventeen years after the Hells Angels Halifax chapter folded, the Angels are trying to make a comeback in Nova Scotia, according to RCMP.
“The Hells Angels don’t have a full chapter. Do they want one? Absolutely,” said RCMP Sgt. Michael Sims, who runs a federal policing team out of Halifax.
Sims has been a member of the RCMP for 23 years. He says the Mounties are working to curb the growth of outlaw motorcycle gangs like the notorious Hells Angels.
“The Hells Angels are the concern — they’re the biggest, they’re the baddest, they’re the international criminal organization,” Sims told Global News during a sit-down interview.
“Right now, we have two major outlaw motorcycle gangs, the Bacchus and the Hells Angels. Between 2001 and 2013, the Bacchus were primarily the only outlaw motorcycle gang in the province but in 2013, the Hells Angels decided to come back,” said Sims.
“The Bacchus have one chapter. They have a clubhouse here in the Halifax Regional Municipality and they have one support chapter. They have the ability to create more chapters but as of right now, they haven’t done that in a while.”
The Hells Angels used to have a prominent presence in Nova Scotia, with a Halifax chapter being formed in 1984.
In 2001, police raided the gang’s clubhouse on Dutch Village Road and arrested 20 people, ultimately leading to the chapter folding.
Although there is currently no official Hells Angels chapter in Nova Scotia, Sims says the Angels have been back in the area for several years.
“The Hells Angels, when they returned in 2013, they set up a number of support chapters. The most notable of those would be the Gate Keepers and these support chapters were all throughout the whole province, right from Yarmouth to Cape Breton,” said Sims.
“These have changed over the years and they’re still attempting to create a full-fledged Hells Angels chapter but up until now, they haven’t found the right stability and the right people to be able to make that happen.”
WATCH: Hells Angels back in Nova Scotia: RCMP
According to Sims, the Hells Angels are in flux at the moment.
“There are now local crime groups that do what they used to do, what they want to do again so none of that is going to be given up easily,” he said.
The Hells Angels support chapters are not the only outlaw motorcycle gangs to have a presence in the province.
In fact, RCMP say they are concerned about the emergence of another club in Cape Breton.
“The Black Pistons are aligned with the Outlaws, which is a motorcycle gang in Ontario and Quebec. Although the Bacchus and the Hells Angels haven’t shown any type of violent tendencies or animosities towards one another, we do know that the Outlaws and the Hells Angels have had a violent past,” said Sims.
Historically, Sims says outlaw motorcycle gangs have been involved in prostitution, drugs and weapons.
He says while there isn’t an increase in outlaw bikers, police are seeing bikers change affiliations.
“What people in a community will see is they’ll see a biker gang. They’ll see loud Harley-Davidsons. They’ll see people in vests, they’ll see patches on their back. They won’t be the traditional Hells Angels patches but these clubs will be supporting the Hells Angels,” said Sims.
“If inside their clubhouse, they’re selling gear that has support 81, that would be in full support of the Hells Angels.”
Sims says having an outlaw biker gang move into your community isn’t a good thing.
“Sometimes, they may portray themselves as having a charity organization or they may portray themselves trying to get good PR that way but in reality, all of that money that’s raised through charitable organizations or through support gear, or through their barbecues is all going to fund either the clubhouse itself, may be going to fund lawyers for members that are in jail or maybe going to fund sending people on biker runs across the country,” said Sims.
“When you see loud, aggressive motorbikes, when you see vests with violent patches on them, when you see them travel in packs, that is all to serve a purpose and the purpose really is to intimidate both the public and their enemies so you won’t mess with them.”
Sims says police have resources in place to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs but need help from the public.
“It is tough for us to infiltrate, it is tough for us to get intelligence within these groups but we know there are people out there that can do that and that do that regularly, and we certainly need them to call us and work with us,” he said.