Hells Angels Coke Case Simmers in Canada
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One of a group of eight Hells Angels and their associates recently charged with trafficking and importing cocaine in British Columbia has been granted bail by the province's Supreme Court—but millions in cash and property thought to be the proceeds of organized crime is set to be forfeited. The charges stem from a sting operation that on August 25 swooped on the alleged participants in a deal to buy 200 kilos of cocaine—and also netted the cops $4 million in alleged drug money. James Howard—one of those arrested—must follow stringent conditions to secure his release on bail: he'll have to put up a $300,000 bond, give up his passport, live at his parents’ home and report weekly to a bail supervisor. He may not possess a cell phone, leave home between 8 pm and 6 am, or contact any of the other accused men, except in the presence of a lawyer. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had been investigating allegations that British Columbia-grown pot was being trafficked elsewhere to pay to import cocaine. The 21-month undercover probe stretched from Canada to the US, Mexico and Panama. The apparent involvement of two full-patch Hells Angels and their associates is no surprise—the gang is reputed to play a major role in smuggling drugs on either side of the Canadian border. “This represents the blueprint for a majority of Canadian-based organized crime in search of profits," says RCMP Superintendent Brian Cantera of the trafficking operation.