Canada - 'Death by a thousand cuts' did in gang's metro chapter
The Halifax chapter of the Hells Angels, considered one of the weakest links in the worldwide chain of the outlaw motorcycle gang, failed to reach its 20th anniversary before it collapsed in August 2003.
By that time, its Dutch Village Road clubhouse had been seized by the Crown in a Canadian first and four of the chapter's seven members were sitting in jail.
Police at the time termed it "death by a thousand cuts," saying the national association pulled the club's charter and forced it to dissolve.
The chapter had again fallen below the required six members on the streets and was again in deep financial trouble.
Without the support of former member and Nomad David (Wolf) Carroll, they were on their own.
Operation Hammer, an undercover police investigation that culminated in a series of raids across the province in December 2001, sent members Clay McCrea, Art Harrie and Jeffrey Lynds to prison.
Longtime member Neil Smith was (and still is) in prison for first-degree murder.
According to club rules, a chapter needs six members free on the street to remain afloat. Those in jail turn in their Hells Angels patches, including items with the death's head insignia, until they get out.
A similar situation occurred after police raids in January 1998, but at that time, they could rely on Mr. Carroll and his fellow Hells Angels in Quebec for assistance. But by 2003, the Quebec members were in trouble, with chapters frozen and their leader in jail. Mr. Carroll was himself on the lam, wanted for murder.
Alleged Halifax president Mike McCrea, who was also alleged to be the world secretary and international webmaster (he always said he was just a member), turned in his Hells Angels patches and retired.
The married father of one graduated from a business college in Halifax in 2003, opened an information technology support business and ran it out of his family's home in the Porters Lake area. He now works full time for a local company.
His brother, Clay, eventually retired, along with Mr. Harrie. Member Daniel Fitzsimmons was forced out of the club, but Michael (Speedy) Christiansen, one of the founding members from the 13th Tribe, joined the Hells Angels in British Columbia and its effort to expand out west.
Mr. Christiansen was one of those charged in the brutal slaying of five Quebec Hells Angels in March 1985, which happened just three months after the Hells Angels brought in the 13th Tribe. He was later acquitted and released.
From the Halifax chapter's birth in December 1984 until August 2003, the Hells Angels staked their claim to the region, and the death's head patch was worn by bikers on local roads.
Although the chapter officially closed, the gang still had a presence in Nova Scotia, police said.
Once Halifax member Jeffrey Lynds's sentence expired, he was free to do as he wished. Police say he has become a member of the Nomads in the Ontario region. Nomads are considered an elite group within the international organization of the Hells Angels.
Police have also said that the East Coast Riders, originally of Halifax and later located in Waverley, and the Highlanders in Antigonish were support clubs of the Hells Angels, but there have been no raids or court cases identifying their activities as criminal.
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