Major East Coast drug bust tied to Hamilton Hells Angels, police say
Police say they've shut down a major drug trafficking ring in the Moncton area with ties to the Hells Angels in Hamilton.
Methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, a weapon and cash were among the items seized during the year-long joint force operation involving the RCMP Federal Operations East, Codiac Regional RCMP and the Edmundston Police Force, said RCMP Staff Sgt. André Potvin.
"We strongly believe the drugs came from the Greater Hamilton Area," Potvin said. "But the investigation couldn't confirm that so we didn't charge anyone from Hamilton."
"Ultimately, we couldn't narrow it down to a single person or people."
Eight people have been charged and two other people sentenced to prison, Potvin said during a news conference on Wednesday, where bags of drugs and piles of cash were on display.
"This was a significant organized drug trafficking operation," Supt. Guy Rook, officer in charge of New Brunswick RCMP federal operations, stated in a release.
About 26,000 methamphetamine pills, 200 amphetamine pills, one kilogram of cocaine and 1.5 kilograms of marijuana are off the streets, said Rook.
A weapon, $16,000 in cash and two vehicles were also seized, he said.
The drugs came from Hamilton where the accused ringleader has ties to the Hells Angels, said Potvin, holding up a package of T-shirts with a skull and the number 81 printed on them in red.
"I have a T-shirt here, 'Support 81,' it's a code within the organized crime group, Hells Angels," he said. The T-shirts came from Quebec City.
Police believe Edmundston was being used as the New Brunswick gateway and relay point for the distribution of drugs into the Greater Moncton Area.
The investigation began during the summer of 2011 after the RCMP received information from the Edmundston Police Force regarding the trafficking of methamphetamine pills, said Potvin.
Officers managed to infiltrate the group and start making seizures and arrests this summer, he said.
During the course of the investigation, police also learned about a cocaine trafficking network operating in the province.
Five men, who range in age between 25 and 31, two women, aged 22 and 25, and a youth, who was 17 years old at the time of the offence, were all charged on Tuesday with drug trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy.
Meanwhile, two other men who were previously arrested have been sentenced.
They were arrested on July 26, when police seized about 1.5 kilograms of cocaine.