Thwarting Kamloops Throttle Lockers puts dent in Okanagan Hells Angels: Police | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Thwarting Kamloops Throttle Lockers puts dent in Okanagan Hells Angels: Police

CFSEU BC Supt. Duncan Pound (right) said deterring smaller groups like Throttle Lockers affects business for Hells Angels across the criminal network at a July 20, 2022, press conference. He stands beside Supt. Syd Lecky at the Kamloops RCMP detachment.

Three men were charged in relation to a local biker gang, Throttle Lockers, which was meant to help strengthen the Hells Angels presence in Kamloops, police say.

The five-year investigation included wire taps, undercover purchases and surveillance, resulting in drug, weapon and cash seizures, along with criminal charges for three men. 

Police say it also has a larger effect by disrupting operations and profits for the Hells Angels in the Okanagan.

"They are essentially a lower level club that feeds up into a larger entity that feeds up into a larger entity, like the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club," B.C. gang unit Supt. Duncan Pound said.

Together, the B.C. gang unit and Kamloops RCMP stopped the beginnings of a motorcycle gang clubhouse by stopping drug distribution at Sunshine Gardens in Valleyview, police said. Among the evidence police displayed at a July 20 press conference, there was a photo of "Support 81 Kelowna" clothing, showing ties between local Throttle Lockers and the Okanagan Hells Angels chapter.

READ MORE: Kamloops RCMP bust Hell's Angels 'support club' members

"If you can take out their lower-level operations, then you're impacting their overall network," Pound said. "Once it's established, it's more challenging to deal with any enforcement action."

Police know of fewer than 50 members of the Hells Angels and its support clubs in Kelowna, but the group has a significant reach, with a drug trade network that spans the province, and even the country, police said.

A joint investigation between the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., the province's gang unit, and Kamloops RCMP was sparked after Red Scorpions founder Konaam Shirzad was gunned down near Guerin Creek in 2017.

Police did not say whether the Red Scorpions and Hells Angels were adversarial.

READ MORE: Small but powerful group of Hells Angels has huge impact in the Okanagan and beyond

They also did not explain exactly how Shirzad's shooting led investigators to the Throttle Lockers, a local Hell's Angels support gang, but it's seizures and charges like this "deter" larger groups like the Hell's Angels from moving into the city, they said.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky offered no updates on the Shirzad investigation but the following investigation led to the seizure of drugs, around $300,000 in cash and charges against three men.

After Shirzad was killed, and later a witness and associate Ibrahim Amjab Ibrahim in Richmond, police indicated it left a power vacuum in Kamloops.

Lecky said the investigation into Shirzad's death is ongoing.

READ MORE: Shots fired in Kamloops leads to heavy police presence

Although the relationship between Red Scorpions and Okanagan Hells Angels wasn't explained, Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky said that isn't the case.

"If there was a vacuum, that would have been two years ago," he said. "But you're always worried about whatever transition that happens within that environment."

While the Shirzad shooting was a highly visible incident in the local drug trade, gangs tend to operate below the radar and organizations tend to avoid violence, and therefore, police attention, police said.

“Make no mistake, the current opioid crisis that we have is the direct result of the Hells Angels and their ability to import drugs from all over the world,” B.C. gang squad spokesperson, Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, previously told “The drugs on our streets, ultimately, can be filtered up and connected to the Hells Angels.”

Lecky said these investigations will help keep illicit drugs, like fentanyl and other opioids, off the streets of Kamloops.

The death toll does continue to rise and B.C. is on track to lose another record number of users to overdose deaths.

Police are continuing with more organized crime investigations in Kamloops, but they remain hushed about any details.

"If there was, I wouldn't tell you. I can't tell you," Lecky said.

However, he expects to hear of charge approvals on a "couple of other projects" in the "near future."

He added that a shooting last night, July 19, in the Dallas neighbourhood was likely not related to this current operation, but it's still early in the investigation and has the "hallmarks" of a gang-related shooting.

No injuries were reported.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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