The Hells Angels biker gang is expanding its presence in the national capital region with the help of the Red Devils, a proxy group or "farm team" for the international crime organization, CBC News has learned
According to police, the Red Devils biker gang now has three branches here — one in Ottawa and two in Gatineau — and members are actively recruiting throughout the region, drafting newcomers from local biker gang Dark Souls Outaouais.
all wear a jacket with the name Ottawa, but there are three sections," said Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant Len Isnor, who works in the control unit against biker gangs.
The Ottawa North and Ottawa East sections of the Red Devils are based in Gatineau, and the third section is based in Ottawa itself, according to Isnor. Most of the gang's Ontario members live in the Cornwall area.
'It's the motive of every Red Devils member to become a member of the Hells Angels'
Police say that in its role as a sort of "farm team" for Hells Angels, the Red Devils do the dirty work in the region — dealing drugs, prostitution, and extortion — funneling money up to the Angels.
"It's the motive of every Red Devils member to become a member of the Hells Angels," said Isnor.
In Quebec, the Hells Angels were effectively pushed out of the province in 2009, when police enacted a stunning sweep of the organization, arresting 156 people, including 111 full patch members.
Ever since those raids disrupted operations, the Angels' leaders and members have become far more cautious, according to Sylvain Tremblay, a former investigator with Sûreté du Québec and expert on organized crime.
Other gangs act as buffers
Tremblay said rather than distributing drugs itself, the organization rents out territories to other gangs, who act as buffers between the Hells Angels and on-the-ground criminal activity.
That means the group has essentially deputized people who are willing to take risks on its behalf, according to Tremblay. He believes the police fight against biker gangs will be increasingly difficult in Ottawa and Gatineau, due to the rise in new recruits.