July 16th, 2024

Police monitoring major Hells Angels gathering in Lethbridge this weekend


By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on July 11, 2024.

Members of the Hells Angels arrive at a property in Langley, B.C. in this file photo from July 25, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO/Darryl Dyck

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

A biker gang with worldwide fame and notoriety is rolling into town, establishing a new charter in Lethbridge, sparking notifications from police.

Up to 300 members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club are expected to be in Lethbridge this weekend as they celebrate the opening of their newest chapter. As a result, LPS said in a news release, they, along with several other police services in Alberta, “will be visible throughout the city to monitor outlaw motorcycle gang members and their activities.”

Acting inspector Pete Christos, who oversees the LPS criminal investigation division, says this is not a surprise for the LPS and they are ready to manage the situation as it develops over the course of this weekend.

“We’ve been collecting information and evaluating it for a period of time now,” said Christos. “We’re prepared for this.”

As this weekend just so happens to be the famous and beloved Street Wheelers weekend, Christos says residents are still to be able to partake in all their favourite activities but, they are just reminded to stay safe.

“I would ask that citizens enjoy this weekend as well,” said Christos. “We’ll be monitoring these (Hells Angels members).”

Christos says public safety is the top priority of LPS and he adds residents who encounter any Hell’s Angels members are asked to steer clear of them.

“If there’s an opportunity, I would say do not engage them at all.”

He says the motorcycle club members, “are anticipated to ride during various events over the weekend. Their presence is expected to be highly visible and police will assess any potential threat to public safety on a case-by-case basis.”

The LPS also reminds residents that “Section 69.1(1) of the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, enables the exclusion and removal of gang members from licensed establishments, and police will monitor potential attendance at applicable locations.”

As for the location of this apparent new charter, Christos says police “have a location identified,” but they are not going to say where quite yet.

“We’re just not prepared to divulge that information at this time,” said Christos.

This is not the first time Lethbridge will see members of the ‘Red & White’ in the city, but Christos says, again, LPS is ready for whatever may come.

“Clubhouses have been identified throughout the city, throughout this country for a long time. For here, we’re prepared to deal with this as it evolves.”

For residents who may be concerned about the activity happening this weekend, the collaborative effort previously mentioned with LPS and other police forces will be extensive, according to Christos.

“LPS, alongside officers from the RCMP, ALERT Integrated Gang Enforcement Team, Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Taber Police Service, Camrose Police Service and other Canadian police agencies, have joined in a coordinated response.”

The public view of the Hells Angels coming to Lethbridge is split, with one Facebook user saying this is “definitely not a lock up your wife and children situation.” Other Facebook users share similar views.

One such Facebook user with the display name Bri Kay, said in a comment on the social media platform she is not worried about the Hells Angels coming to town.

“Funny I’m less concerned about the bikers and more concerned about the actual crime happening in our city.”

However, Christos says outlaw gangs are packed with crime, no matter the public appearance.

“It has been well documented that many outlaw motorcycle gang members, their friends and associates, are involved in criminal activity,” said Christos. “We will be working with our policing partners to monitor their presence, deter illegal activity and maintain public safety through an overt police presence.”

While some Facebook users appear to be supportive of the Hells Angels, not all share those views.

Another Facebook user using the display name of Elisabeth Charles, responded to a comment from another user who said LPS should be focusing on drug addicts, among other things, and not the Hells Angels.

“I got news for you about where some of the addicts get their drugs from.”

Police expect the Hells Angels to arrive in Lethbridge on Friday. Of the potentially 300 members expected this weekend, Christos says most will not remain in the city come Monday.

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old school

Sounds like the cops are pretty concerned about some bikers. Warning us to stay clear of them? They’re just people! Quite safe to talk to actuall.

Grumpyguy

Funny no one noticed their souvenir and information booth a couple years ago. They were set up at 6 Ave and MM Drive S. during Street Wheelers weekend. Nothing in the media then.

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