Project Divide nets Hells Angels treasurer
Police arrested and charged two Hells Angels members on Friday, officers said.
CTV News has learned that one of the men arrested was the treasurer of the Manitoba Chapter of the Hells Angels.
As part of project Divide, the Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force arrested Shane Edward Kirton, 41, and Anthony James McLennan, 36, with assistance from the Winnipeg Police Service Tactical Support Unit.
Both bikers were charged with offences that date from November 2008 to December 2009. They were charged with conspiracy to participate in a criminal organization related to possessing property obtained by crime, and two counts of participating in a criminal organization related to laundering the proceeds of crime and collecting monies.
Officers said the two arrests bring the total of suspects arrested under project Divide to 35.
In a search warrant for the Hells Angels clubhouse on Scotia Street obtained by CTV News police allege that Kirton and McLennan collected dues from the Zig Zag Crew.
The Zig Zag Crew became an official support group of the Hells Angels after the bikers formed a Manitoba chapter in 2000, the document states. As such, members of the Zig Zag Crew pay the Hells Angels monthly dues payments for protection against rival criminal organizations.
The search warrant suggests that police based their allegations on evidence gathered by a civilian agent, a "full patch" member of the Zig Zag Crew, who was hired by police, as well as evidence gathered by undercover police officers and physical and electronic surveillance.
The first charges against Kirton and McLennan relate to offences beginning on November 14, 2008. That was the same day the civilian police agent signed on to work with the organized crime task force, according to the search warrant.
The civilian agent purchased controlled substances and firearms from targets of Project Divide and was suited with a recording device during regular Zig Zag Crew meetings, the warrant states.
The search warrant documents five separate occasions where the civilian agent paid dues from the Zig Zag Crew, during which time the agent made it clear that the money came from the sale of illegal drugs.
The search warrant also describes a meeting of the Zig Zag Crew in November 2009 where bikers attended, to tell Zig Zag Crew members to get "legitimate jobs" if they were having trouble paying their dues and to spend more time at the Hells Angels clubhouse attending Hells Angels functions.
Project Divide was initiated in November 2008 to focus on high-level members of organized crime and drug-trafficking cells in British Columbia and Manitoba, officers said.
None of the police allegations have been proven in court.