Arrest of alleged Hells Angel in Fredericton not cause for concern, police chief says
Outlaw motorcycle gangs not new to New Brunswick and police monitoring is ongoing, Leanne Fitch says
Fredericton's chief of police wants to allay any public fears related to the recent arrest of a local man identified by RCMP as a full-patch member of the Hells Angels.
Chief Leanne Fitch declined to comment Monday on any specifics about the case of Robin Moulton, 48, who is charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a restricted firearm — a 9 mm Beretta — without a licence.
"Getting down into the weeds of any particular aspect of ongoing or past or present issues could jeopardize investigations and officer and public safety, so I won't be commenting on any specifics," she said.
But Fitch did point out that outlaw motorcycle gangs have been an issue in New Brunswick for "many, many years."
"So their presence isn't new, but certainly when we see an increase in that presence there are some people that will express concern — from the average citizen to police officers working in the field," she said.
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Moulton's Aug. 22 arrest came on the heels of the homicide last month of Ronald Richard, a former member of the Bacchus motorcycle club near Minto, pushing the issue to the forefront of public attention, said Fitch.
In addition, nine men from P.E.I., identified by Charlottetown police as "hangarounds" with the Hells Angels chapter in Woodbridge, Ont., were charged earlier this month under Criminal Code organized crime legislation.
When you're dealing with organized crime, you have to have an organized response.- Leanne Fitch , Fredericton police chief
And police in Nova Scotia said in June they expected a full-fledged chapter of the Hells Angels to be established in the province within a matter of months.
Fitch said the Fredericton Police Force is "well-positioned to deal with varying degrees of criminal activity" in the city and continues to work collaboratively with multiple police agencies in New Brunswick and across Canada to monitor the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
"They're not restricted by the geographic lines on a map, which is why it's so important to work together," she said. "When you're dealing with organized crime, you have to have an organized response."
Fitch said members of the public also have a role to play by reporting any suspicious or illegal activity to their local police or Crime Stoppers.
"We want people, obviously, to be safe and to be vigilant — but that's with anything, whether it's local neighbourhood vandalism up to and including organized crime," she said. "The police can't tackle these issues on our own."
Moulton remains remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear in Saint John court on Thursday at 10 a.m. to face the two charges against him.
New Brunswick RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh could not say whether additional charges are expected in connection with items allegedly seized from his residence on Brunswick Street in Fredericton or other searches conducted at "several locations" across the province.
In addition to the undisclosed quantity of a substance police believe to be cocaine, allegedly found in Moulton's car when he was stopped on the Trans-Canada Highway near Woodstock, RCMP said they seized:
- A high-powered rifle with a silencer.
- A loaded handgun.
- A quantity of drugs.
- Drug paraphernalia.
- Full-patch Hells Angels jacket.
- Hells Angels "support club" patches.
- "Support 81 Maritimes" clothing, which police say is a metonym for Hells Angels — the eighth letter of the alphabet being H, and the first letter of the alphabet being A.
Richard's homicide is still under investigation, said Rogers-Marsh. RCMP have said they do not believe his homicide was random. An autopsy was to be performed, but no cause of death has been released.
"We are continuing to ask for the public's assistance," she said. "If anyone has any information they are asked to call their local RCMP or Crime Stoppers."
The body of the 50-year-old was discovered on July 23 on a rural property in Hardwood Ridge, about 10 kilometres north of Minto.
About 80 members of outlaw motorcycle gangs attended a memorial service for Richard in Fredericton on Saturday.
The jackets of about 10 bikers who attended the event had visible Hells Angels New Brunswick patches. Others displayed the logos of Gate Keepers, Elm City Fredericton, Miramachines, as well as some from Nova Scotia and Quebec.
The celebration of life was organized by the Gate Keepers. Moulton, who was Facebook friends with Richard, described him in a post as a "fallen president" of the capital city Gate Keepers New Brunswick.