Manitoba has officially declared the Hells Angels as a bona fide criminal organization in the province. The province’s Justice Minister, Andrew Swan, made the announcement in a statement issued on Friday which said that Manitoba has become the first North American jurisdiction to have rightfully recognized the biker gang as a criminal outfit.
Even though the decision is welcomed by law enforcement, the designation will only be application to prosecutions against gang members under provincial laws, not federal laws against guns, drugs and violent crimes. Swan explained that it means that Crown attorneys will not need to call expert witnesses in order to prove in each case that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization when gang members and associates are being prosecuted under a provincial law. These laws include the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, the Fortified Buildings Act and the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act, which is being used to seize the Hells Angels clubhouse on Scotia Street.