Multiple police raids target Hells Angels, Redlined Support Crew
More than 150 officers took aim at organized crime in a series of takedowns around Winnipeg on Friday.
The investigation, named Project Flatlined, focused on the Hells Angels and their puppet club, the Redlined Support Crew, said police. Their main target was Manitoba Hells Angels president, 41-year-old Dale Jason Sweeney.
In total, 11 people were taken into custody, including three full-patch Hells Angels and eight of their associates.
Some were picked up in the raids, while others were picked up on traffic stops.
Additional arrest warrants have been issued, and police said further arrests are pending.
Dozens of officers, including members of the tactical team, organized crime unit and general patrol units, surrounded Dale Sweeney's home on Autumnview Drive in Waverley West early Friday as part of the raids.
A woman living nearby told CTV News police knocked on her door Friday morning to say the area was in lockdown and she should stay inside. Construction workers across the street were also told to clear the area.
Across town, police raided an auto-repair shop Friday owned by Dale Sweeney in the 1000 block of Redonda Street in Transcona.
Police also raided locations in the 300 block of Edison Avenue, the 900 block of Norwich Avenue, the 800 block of Government Avenue and the 200 block of Fairhaven Road.
Narcotics and cash were seized during the raids.
Police said the Project Flatlined investigation was launched in September 2011, after a violent gang war erupted between the Hells Angels, their Redlined Support Crew and rivals the Rock Machine.
"As a result of problems over the summer, this is just a continuing piece of that to show members of these types of organizations that we're committed to shutting them down," said Insp. Rick Guyader from Winnipeg police.
Project Flatlined follows on a series of other investigations since 2004, including Project Defence, Project Drill and Project Divide, which took aim at Hells Angels and their puppet clubs.
In 2010, the province seized the Hells Angels club house on Scotia Street under the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.
It's believed officials are already making plans to seize Sweeney's house and business.
Friday's arrests have also put the Hells Angels in jeopardy of losing their gang charter status.
To keep their charter status, the Hells Angels must have six full-patch members out of jail and without court conditions. With three full-patch members now behind bars, the club's status in Manitoba is compromised. Police said that as of Friday, there are only four members free, not enough to run the club.
"It's like any other organization - they have a charter, and they will have to shut down until they recruit some other people to come into their line of business," said Guyader.
CTV News contacted a Hells Angels spokesperson in B.C. via email. The spokesperson wouldn't comment on the Winnipeg raids Friday but offered an email response.
"Law Enforcement has a need for a bogeyman. News media needs to have interesting stories. Thus the symbiosis. It has become common practice for Law Enforcement to feed the media all the Hells Angels stories it can because it suits their agenda," said the spokesperson.
Police said they know others will try to step up with the Hells Angels now reduced in Manitoba.
"I'll be very clear with you – the Rock Machine are in our sights," said Insp. Guyader.
- with reports from CTV's Caroline Barghout and Stacey Ashley
-- to view more photos of the raid, check out our photo gallery.