Criminal charges have been approved against four alleged drug traffickers linked to the Hells Angels on Vancouver Island.
The 41 charges stem from an investigation led by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., which targets gangs, that began in 2018 and has resulted in the seizure of 22 firearms and about 13 kilograms of illegal drugs.
The unit said Thursday the arrests have helped keep Hells Angels Motorcycle Club chapters from expanding on the Island.
Drugs seized include cocaine, methamphetamine, cannabis and oxycodone, while the firearms include an Uzi, 12 rifles, four shotguns and five pistols.
The investigation focused on the “criminal networks” of members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Nanaimo and support clubs such as the Savages MC and the Devils Army MC, and their alleged drug trafficking, the enforcement unit said.
Those charged are Sean Oliver Douglas Kendall, 44, of Port Alberni, Kristopher Steven Smith, 44, of Nanaimo, William Bradley Thompson, 58, of Ladysmith, and William Karl Paulsen, 51, of Campbell River. Thompson and Paulsen have been arrested, and arrest warrants have been issued for Kendall and Smith.
The investigation disrupted a “significant” drug-trafficking network, the unit said.
“This lengthy and complex investigation spanned over four years and included over 50 dedicated resources, resulting in significant seizures of potentially deadly drugs and serious charges,” said Assistant Commissioner Manny Mann, chief officer for the the unit. “Our mandate and ability to work with our partner agencies across multiple jurisdictions allows us to investigate gang members and groups who impact safety in multiple communities.”
The unit partnered with the RCMP’s Federal Serious Organized Crime Unit in the investigation.