Four alleged drug traffickers with ties to the Hells Angels on Vancouver Island are facing charges following a four-year joint law enforcement operation.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. held a press conference Thursday, Dec. 1, to announce the charges, which came as a result of the joint operation with the RCMP’s federal serious organized crime unit.
The investigation, which began in June 2018, led to the seizure of 22 guns, more than 13 kilograms of illicit drugs, and charges approved against four men from Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Campbell River and Port Alberni.
The investigation and subsequent charges have “helped prevent the expansion of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club chapters on Vancouver Island,” noted the press release from CFSEU-B.C.
The special enforcement unit said the investigation targeted “the criminal networks of members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Nanaimo and their support clubs, the Savages MC and Devils Army MC and their alleged drug trafficking operation on Vancouver Island.”
CFSEU said the seized drugs included 7.75kg of cocaine, 4kg of cannabis, 1.9kg of methamphetamine, 248 oxycodone pills, and more. The guns seized included an Uzi, five pistols, 12 rifles and four shotguns, as well as ammunition and explosives. Law enforcement officers also seized 25 electronic devices and three motor vehicles related to the case.
Manny Mann, chief officer for CFSEU-B.C., said in the release that the lengthy and complex investigation resulted “in significant seizures of potentially deadly drugs and serious charges.”
Supt. Richard Bergevin, officer in charge of B.C. RCMP’s federal serious organized crime major projects, said bringing the case to prosecution demonstrates the law enforcement partners’ “collective ability to effectively collaborate across federal and provincial lines in order to fulfill our shared mandate of protecting B.C. against the most serious threats.”
The men facing various charges include Kristopher Stephen Smith, 44, of Nanaimo; Sean Oliver Douglas Kendall, 44, from Port Alberni; William Bradley Thompson, 58, from Ladysmith; and William Karl Paulsen, 51, from Campbell River.
Thompson has been arrested and released on a promise to appear in court and Paulsen was arrested Dec. 1, stated a separate media notice. He has been released and awaits the court process, the notice said.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Smith and Kendall and anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact a local police detachment or Crime Stoppers.