Police east of Toronto say they are expecting to see as many as 1,000 Hells Angels members as the club holds its national motorcycle run this weekend.
“We do not want to create panic,” Durham Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim said at a news conference Monday ahead of the event. “But we have an obligation, and in all fairness, I have a responsibility, to make sure that our community is aware and provided the accurate information.”
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) chapter based in Brooklin, north of Whitby, will host the 2022 Canada Run from July 22 to 24.
Officials said they hope the annual meetup, which will see members travel from across the country and beyond to take part, will be “uneventful” but asked members of the public to keep their distance.
“If you see a large group of motorcycles, outlaw motorcycle club riders, don’t interact, maintain your distance. Try to stay out of the line of motorcycles and be safe,” OPP Det/Insp. Scott Wade stressed.
Ahead of the three-day event, Dep. Chief Bertrim acknowledged police are aware of social media posts by supporters of the Hells Angels, which have taken issue with the service’s proactive approach.
“Let me be clear today: They are an organized crime group who have consistently proven to be responsible for all manner of crimes including drug trafficking, illegal gambling, human trafficking, firearms and acts of violence perpetrated by their members and or through support clubs,” Bertrim said.
Bertrim said those crimes were highlighted by Project KAKIA, a 2021 police investigation that targeted organized crime networks in Durham and included members of the Hells Angels and the Red Devils motorcycle clubs.
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Some 32 firearms and ammunition, $300,000 in cash, and $1.2 million worth of drugs were seized in that operation.
Police added that there will be an increased police presence in the area for the duration of the event and that local businesses have already been briefed on what to expect come Friday.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club spans five continents and 59 countries and global membership is estimated to be in the thousands.