The weekend funeral of a Hells Angel member provided valuable information for law enforcement officers monitoring the group's attempt to rebuild after being decimated by arrests, said several organized crime experts.
Kenny Bédard, 51, had only recently become a full member of the biker gang when he was killed in a road accident in New Brunswick last month.But his newcomer status didn't seem to matter to the hundreds of gang members who gathered at a church in Pointe-Saint-Charles for the funeral on Saturday.
The funeral doubled as a strategic bit of theatre, said one expert, who pointed out the gang has been in restructuring mode since a large police operation in 2009 that led to the arrests of more than 150 members.
"It was a chance for the bikers to show that they're close to each other and at the same time, a demonstration of their strength to other bikers who are their enemies," said Pierre de Champlain, a historian of organized crime in Montreal.
"It shows, 'Us bikers, we are in control of the territory in terms of the sale of drugs.'"
On Saturday, police officers could be seen taking footage of gang members gathering outside the church — a sign, said another expert, that law enforcement is readying itself for the gang's resurgence."These guys are returning," said Guy Ryan, a former organized crime investigator with Montreal police. "They will start reconquering their territory and selling drugs."
Several experts noted the Hells appeared to be no longer keeping a low profile, as they had in the years after Operation SharQc in 2009.
Sylvain Tremblay, a former provincial police officer, believes the gang was emboldened by the failure to prosecute some of the more high-profile cases that stemmed from those arrests.
Five Hells Angels picked up in 2009 on murder and conspiracy charges were released last year when a judge ruled the Crown had violated rules on sharing evidence with the defence."We could say that 2016, even the end of 2015, saw the return of the Hells Angels," Tremblay told Radio-Canada. "I think we'll be seeing them more and more in Quebec."
Thanks to CBC.
Best of the Month!
- Top 10 Most Wanted True-Crime Movies
- Chicago Mob Infamous Locations Map
- The Brothershood Mob Squad
- Profile: Harry Aleman
- The Chicago Syndicate AKA "The Outfit"
- Teacher has Sex with Students, Then Threatens them with the Mafia
- The Sinatra Club: My Life Inside the New York Mafia
- One Family's Rise, A Century of Power
- Mafia Links of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
- Firm with reputed mob ties flourishes