The federal justice system now owns a prime piece of real estate in Halifax: a seized Hells Angels clubhouse.
- INDEPTH: Anti-gang law
That came about after four members of the motorcycle gang were convicted of various drug-related offences. Under new anti-gang laws passed by Parliament, the Crown asked that the clubhouse be turned over to the federal government, and the judge agreed.
It's the first time that a building used to help criminal activity has been seized.
Crown attorney Paul Riley seemed pleased about the forfeiture of the chapter's clubhouse at Wednesday's sentencing hearing for gang members.
"Before this investigation, there was a fortified premise that the local Hells Angels were using and they were able to maintain a very public presence. And that's been taken away," said Riley.
Three members of the Hells Angels and one associate were handed prison sentences ranging from two years to six years.
- FROM JAN. 29, 2003: Halifax Hells Angels sentenced to six years
Guy Oullett, a former Quebec provincial police officer and a bike gang specialist, said the seizure sends the message to motorcycle gangs that the same thing could happen anywhere in the country.
"For the bikers, their clubhouse is a symbol of power, a symbol of riches, a symbol of how healthy they are. It's the centre of all their activities," said Oullett.
He said Crown attorneys in Quebec provincial court tried Wednesday to confiscate another Hells Angels bunker near Quebec City.