'Not surprising Hells Angels are alive and well in London': Former OPP commissioner
LONDON, ONT -- Three men alleged to be full-patch members of the Hells Angels are among 10 people facing charges after a massive drug bust in southwestern Ontario.
London police, along with OPP and RCMP with help from Waterloo police, co-ordinated the drug bust at several locations in southwestern Ontario on February 20.
"We're satisfied and confident that 'Project Hollister' had excellent results, in terms of the number of people charged and more importantly the types of people charged," says Chris Newton, a detective superintendent with the London Police Service.
"They are career criminals in our opinion and they are doing a great deal of damage to this community. We believe we've made a significant impact in their ability to make profit from their lifestyle."
Locations in London and Stratford were among seven locations hit simultaneously by police across southwestern Ontario that netted more than $240,000 in drugs and cash.
Eight Londoners are among 10 people charged, including three alleged Hells Angels members.
The known 'full-patch' members are Joseph Stokes, 39, of London, Frank Strauss, 44, of Stratford, and John Bohnsack, 40, of London.
"It is not surprising at all that the Hells Angels are alive and well in the City of London," says Chris Lewis, a former OPP Commissioner. "They are a big criminal organization, they are still involved in drug trafficking and many other crimes."
Lewis praised the work of the local law enforcement agencies who partnered to make these arrests.
"You don't see the Hells Angels out in full groups like you once did," says Lewis.
"They used to have big parades down the highway and that scared people. They are little more low-profile now but police need to keep up doing what they are doing, and keep putting them away."
The charges against all involved are numerous. Stokes is facing one charge of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
Strauss is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession for the purpose of distribution (marijuana) contrary to the Cannabis Act.
Bohnsack is facing several charges including:
- three counts of possession of controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking
- two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon
- conspiracy to commit an indictable offence
- two counts of possession of cannabis for the purpose of distributing
The other seven individuals arrested are:
- Sheena Bowden, 35, of London
- Lindy Grieve, 38, of London
- Jeffrey Maslen, 40, of London
- Jean, Thomson, 77, of London
- David Thomson, 48, of London
- William Davidson, 65, of London
- Michael Fuller, 43, of Kitchener
The locations targeted included buildings on Stuart Street, Palmerston Place, Mountbatten Place and Robbins Hill Road in London. Police also raided locations in Stratford, New Hamburg and Kitchener.
Among the items seized were:
- 1.6 kilograms of cocaine
- 2.7 kilograms of marihuana
- 1.8 kilograms of cannabis resin
- 10 grams of crack cocaine
- 67 oxycodone pills
- three cocaine presses
- three sets of body armour
- two conducted energy weapons
- approximately $62,000 in cash
Newton says it's important for the public to realize that the amount of drugs seized is not necessarily the most important factor when it comes to conviction or sentencing.
"There will be other evidence collected during this lengthy investigation, which extended over three months at least," says Newton.
"The amount of drugs we don't concern ourselves with that, it's the other evidence along with the drugs that creates the entire case."
Newton adds they will pursue significant jail time for the alleged members of the Hells Angels.
"We're satisfied this was a successful investigation. We're pleased that the three police services could share information, which made us far more effective in having this significant impact to a criminal organization and to career criminals who are victimizing the community."
- With files from CTV's Justin Zadorsky