Hells Angels return to Nova Scotia signals 'increase in criminal activity': RCMP
150 bikers from across the region are converging on the Gate Keepers clubhouse in Musquodoboit Harbour
Nova Scotia RCMP say they will be monitoring a party Saturday night to celebrate the official opening of a new Hells Angels' chapter in Musquodoboit Harbour, N.S., marking the outlaw biker gang's return to the region.
Police expect up to 150 bikers, including Hells Angels, to be in the area.
In the early afternoon, bikers were preparing the yellow clubhouse for the party, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the community 45 kilometres east of Halifax on the Eastern Shore.
A man mowed the lawn as a few bikers in black leather vests and tasseled helmets pulled up in front of the wide front porch.
A man in a red shirt ushered them into the building, which appears to contain a store selling motorcycle parts and accessories.
A large poster on the window read: "Support Big Red Machine," an alias for the Hells Angels.
Not illegal for gang to have clubhouse
Public safety isn't likely to be an issue but there will be additional officers in the area, with check stops Saturday night and Sunday, RCMP Cpl. Mike Kerr said.
"It isn't illegal for Hells Angels to be in Nova Scotia, nor is it to open a clubhouse or a chapter," said Kerr, who works on a combined forces special enforcement unit.
But police expect the group's arrival will bring trouble.
"We do anticipate it will increase drugs and more criminal activity," Kerr said. "In regards to drugs and violence, we can say most of the impact is felt within the criminal world."
He says police will investigate if they become aware of any criminal activity associated with what he describes as "an outlaw motorcycle gang."
'Support club of the Hells Angels'
The clubhouse on Highway 7 is a Gate Keepers Club, one of seven in the province.
Kerr says the Gate Keepers, a "support club of the Hells Angels," has about 50 members here.
The Hells Angels were driven out of Nova Scotia in the early 2000s, when a police operation led to most of the members being arrested. The club is believed to have folded when its once-active membership dropped below six people.
There is a process that allows Gate Keepers to become Hells Angels over time, Kerr says. Police have identified more than a dozen members of biker clubs in the province who want to make that transition.
'Expand their criminal network'
The new Hells Angels chapter, which must have a minimum of six people, will be the only one in Atlantic Canada, according to RCMP.
"Hells Angels are business people and this case, we believe they are looking for areas to expand their criminal network," Kerr said.
"You first become a hangaround and with time, you become a prospect for the Hells Angels. Following that period, there's another lengthy period where you go from prospect to become a full-patch member of the Hells Angels."
He says police will be monitoring the group closely.
"We anticipate being busy," he said.
An organized crime specialist told Radio-Canada he believes the Hells Angels are eyeing Moncton, N.B., for a new chapter, as well.
With files from Stephanie vanKampen and Rachel Ward