Nova Scotia

3 biker gang members charged with threats, intimidation

Three members of the Bacchus motorcycle group have been charged by RCMP with uttering threats and using intimidation to control their perceived territory.

Three members of the Bacchus motorcycle group have been released from custody Friday after making a brief appearance in Dartmouth provincial court on charges of uttering threats and using intimidation.

Patrick James, 45, and David Pearce, 38, both from Dartmouth, along with Duane Howe, 43, from Grand Desert, were charged after RCMP searched four locations, including the Bacchus clubhouse on Hogan Road in Nine Mile River.

Police also searched residences on Renfrew Road and Elmwood Road in Dartmouth and Dyke Road in Grand Desert.

They seized vests displaying displaying the "1%" patch of the gang, a designation that is an open claim of outlaw status among bike gangs.

"I mean they're basically telling us that they're criminals. Because that is what the one per cent patch is representative of," said Supt. John Ferguson.

"It's that one per cent of motorcycle enthusiasts that are not going to obey the laws of society."

Small quantities of marijuana, steroids, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), a number of computers and cell phones were also seized.

Bacchus is the largest motorcycle gang in this province. It has a Halifax-area chapter, but according to police, tries to assert control over the entire province.

The gang stepped into the vacuum created when police dismantled the Halifax chapter of the Hells Angels in 2001.

"So they will do whatever they need to do to ensure that they maintain control over the criminal activities that go on in this province — or as best as they can," said Ferguson.

Ferguson said groups like the Bacchus portray themselves as motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly targeted by the police.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.

Bacchus is one of Canada's oldest biker clubs, with links to the Hells Angels. Its members have been arrested in raids involving the Angels, and the club is respected in the outlaw biker world.

The RCMP maintains Bacchus is an organized crime group. But so far, they haven't laid charges under the organized crime section of the Criminal Code, which are considered more serious offences.

The three men will be back in court Oct. 5.

The investigation is ongoing.