Police feared 'violent resistance' at Hell Angels raid
Court documents show police were concerned about an armed confrontation when they raided a Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo earlier this month.
Thedocuments, which were released Thursday, were part of the written decision of Madam Justice Daphne Smith, who presided over a closed court session on Nov. 8, where police were seeking a court order to enable a raid on the clubhouse.
Smith said she was satisfied the evidence presented to the court was more than enough to establish the Nanaimo clubhouse was "being used as an instrument of unlawful activity."
Based on past searches of Hells Angels clubhouses, "the potential for an armed and violent resistance to the execution of the order was considered to be real," Smith wrote.
The documents show four RCMP officers with experience dealing with the Hells Angels in Ontario and B.C. testified that members of the Hells Angels have been convicted of murder, theft, drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and a variety of other crimes.
In a previous raid at the Nanaimo clubhouse in 2003, police found the building had no windows on the first floor, heavily constructed doors, and a video security system with at least eight cameras.
But when more than three dozen RCMP officers broke down the door and seized the clubhouse on Nov. 9, they met no resistance.
Under the court order, the building and its contents were legally frozen and can no longerbe used, mortgaged or sold. It is still in the hands of the B.C. government.
The government obtained the civil court order under the Civil Forfeiture Act, passed in May 2006, which allows the province to seize property that is being used for unlawfulactivity.
In courtdocuments, the clubhouse is described as Angel Acres Recreation and Festival Property Limited. Inside there was a sign that read, "What you do here, what you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here."
The Nanaimo Hells Angels chapter is one of seven in B.C. listed on the club's website.
The government obtained the civil court order under the Civil Forfeiture Act, passed in May 2006. The act allows the province to seize property that is being used for unlawfulactivity.
The solicitor general's office said there are 60 other cases being pursued under the Civil Forfeiture Act. More than $2 million in cash and assets from other forfeitures have been turned over to taxpayers in the past 17 months.