Gerald (Skinny) Ward, 60, a founding member of the Niagara chapter, had pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine and possession of proceeds of a crime.
Gerald (Skinny) Ward, 60, a founding member of the Niagara chapter, had pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine and possession of proceeds of a crime. Terry Pink, 41, president of the Simcoe chapter, had pleaded guilty to similar charges but both denied that these illicit activities had anything to do with their motorcycle club.
Mr. Justice John McMahon of Ontario Superior Court ruled yesterday that the club is "a criminal organization which is dedicated to the facilitation and commission of serious criminal offences that materially benefit the members of the HAMC," and that Mr. Ward and Mr. Pink carried out their activities "not only for the benefit of the individuals involved but for the benefit of the HAMC, particularly the Oshawa and Niagara chapters."The two men were arrested along with 22 others after raids in September of 2006 on homes and clubhouses in Toronto, Oshawa, Windsor and Niagara Region. The arrests were the culmination of an 18-month undercover operation called Project Tandem.Prosecutor Tom Andreopoulos said he was pleased to see the charges culminate in convictions only a little more than two years after the arrests.Project Tandem was executed with the help of a police agent named Steven Gault, a member of the Oshawa chapter who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his work and who is now in the witness-protection program.Mr. Gault testified that when he purchased a kilogram of cocaine from Mr. Ward he paid a premium of about $2,000 to pay down a debt owed by the Oshawa chapter to the Niagara chapter.The Hells Angels "have complete control of the coke dealing in the whole Niagara Region," Mr. Gault testified during the proceedings, according to the judge's decision.In his decision, Judge McMahon cited evidence that as of July, 2008, 75 per cent of Canada's HAMC members have been convicted of criminal offences, that a defence fund is maintained by members' monthly dues, and that members in prison are referred to as the Big House Crew.Sentencing arguments for Mr. Pink will be heard on Jan. 29, and for Mr. Ward on Jan. 27.