Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 21, 2014


Designation First of its Kind in North America: Minister Swan

For the first time in North America, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has been listed as a criminal organization, eliminating the need to repeatedly prove this designation in the enforcement of provincial laws, Justice Minister Andrew Swan announced today.

“This is a milestone for Canada and a clear signal that Manitoba will continue to develop and use every tool available to fight criminal organizations and the threat they pose to Manitobans,” said Minister Swan.  “It is now law in Manitoba the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is a criminal organization.”

This designation follows an extensive application filed by the province’s director of policing last spring to have the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club listed as a criminal organization.  The application was based on extensive evidence collected from across Canada, information from organized crime experts and court findings from across the country.

“Organized crime is not welcome in the province of Manitoba,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin Brosseau, commanding officer of RCMP "D" Division.  "The RCMP has prioritized enforcement efforts to focus on eliminating organized crime and this announcement today provides us another tool in our tool kit to help us ensure the safety and well-being of Manitobans.”

When criminal organizations are added to Manitoba’s Schedule of Criminal Organizations, it will result in more swift and effective enforcement of provincial laws. It will also remove the requirement to repeatedly prove these groups are criminal organizations.  As a result, it will reduce the time spent by police, justice officials and the courts to determine that groups are criminal organizations.   This designation now applies to all provincial laws including:

  • the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, which has shut down 750 drug, prostitution, criminal organization, weapons and other unlawful operations in Manitoba since it was put in place;
  • the Fortified Buildings Act, which was used to remove fortifications from the Hells Angels first clubhouse in Winnipeg and 98 other drug and gang houses, which posed a danger to the public; and
  • the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act, which is used to forfeit the proceeds of crime and instruments of crime, like houses used in marijuana grow operations and gang clubhouses including a Hells Angels clubhouse in Winnipeg.

“The schedule of criminal organizations is a clear signal that this criminal element is not welcome in our community,” said Chief Devon Clunis, Winnipeg Police Service.  “Our officers will continue to work together to ensure residents can live in their neighbourhoods without fear.”

Public notice of the application was issued to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and by law they were able to review a summary of the case and object in writing.  No objections were received.  The legal process included an independent external review panel, which is made up of at least three people who are not government employees or currently serving as police officers.  They examined all of the materials and determined the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club met the test of being a criminal organization.

“Every Manitoban is affected by organized crime but by working together, with all of the tools available to us, we can make a difference,” said Chief Ian Grant, Brandon Police Service.  “We support the province taking every measure available to deal with organized crime.”

The creation of the Schedule of Criminal Organizations is based on extensive research completed by Manitoba’s Organized Crime Initiative.  This Manitoba program has also led to changes to the Criminal Code of Canada including making gang homicides first-degree murder, the creation of a new offence to deal with drive-by shootings and recognizance orders used to control gang members while in the community, said Minister Swan.

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