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RCMP says NL no longer has Hells Angels chapter after dismantling Vikings Motorcycle Club

RCMP says NL no longer has Hells Angels chapter after dismantling Vikings Motorcycle Club

Police display items seized during six raids as part of Project Bombard, which resulted in 59 charges against members of a St. John’s motorcycle club and its affiliates. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC – Photo Credit)

Police display items seized during six raids as part of Project Bombard, which resulted in 59 charges against members of a St. John’s motorcycle club and its affiliates.

Police display items seized during six raids as part of Project Bombard, which began in 2014. The RCMP says it has officially disbanded the Vikings Motorcycle Club, likely leaving it as the only province in the country without an active Hells Angels chapter. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The RCMP says it has officially disbanded the Vikings Motorcycle Club. Newfoundland and Labrador is now likely the only province in the country without an active Hells Angels chapter.

This follows the latest series of convictions by the Vikings Motorcycle Club, which saw three members of the gang – Vincent Leonard, Wayne Johnson and James Curran – receive prison sentences.

Detective Inspector Stefan Thoms of the federal RCMP’s Serious Organized Crime Unit says the latest convictions bring an end to Project Bombard, an organized crime investigation launched by the province’s RCMP in 2014.

“We have indeed been able to completely dismantle that organization,” Thoms said of the Vikings Motorcycle Club in an interview with CBC Radio. Morning in Newfoundland.

In total, Thoms said, 11 people were convicted as part of Project Bombard.

Hells Angels continue to exert influence

Although the Vikings Motorcycle Club has since disbanded, Thoms says there are still motorcycle gangs active in the province, including the Outlaw Motorcycle Club.

He said the RCMP had successfully disrupted “some of their activities” through Project Barbarian.

According to Thoms, the Bacchus Motorcycle Club is also active in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Hells Angels continue to “influence criminal activity here in the province.”

LISTEN | RCMP on how it drove the Vikings Motorcycle Club out of the province:

Thoms suspects that the notorious motorcycle gang will continue its attempts to gain a foothold in the province through other support groups.

He said the RCMP will continue to monitor the activities of organized criminal groups and take all necessary steps to prevent them from establishing a base in the province.

Establishing case law

Project Bombard began in 2014 with the murder of North River father Dale Porter, who was stabbed to death by Vikings Motorcycle Club member Al Potter.

Potter was convicted of first-degree murder in March 2019 in connection with Porter’s death.

Thoms said that after Porter’s death, it became clear to the RCMP that they needed to investigate the group’s activities beyond just the murder.

The RCMP was able to reveal that the Vikings motorcycle gang was involved in several criminal acts and that they had sanctions from the Hells Angels in Simcoe County, Ontario. In addition, they had ties to other chapters in Ontario and Quebec.

From left: Wayne Johnson, James Curran and Vince Leonard avoid the media at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

From left: Wayne Johnson, James Curran and Vince Leonard were convicted in May, after a lengthy and often diverted process through the justice system. (CBC)

Thoms said the RCMP discovered there was a concerted drug trade going on among members of the motorcycle club, and that they were trafficking drugs such as cocaine, fentanyl and heroin into the province on a “regular basis.”

He said the success of Project Bombard extends beyond the Vikings biker gang, as the RCMP can now use this case law in future prosecutions.

“For the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador, this was the first time we were able to convict a group in Newfoundland for operating a criminal organization,” said Thoms.

“It is of great importance to this province, both at provincial and national level.”

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