Hells Angels members descend on small south shore town

Authorities ramped up checkpoints and their overall presence in a small south shore town on Friday as members of the Hells Angels and their sympathizers continued to arrive for a weekend gathering.

The Canada Run — the Hells' annual get-together — is being held this year in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, 50 kilometres southeast of Montreal.

Police said some 500 full-patch Hells members and up to 200 sympathizers were expected to attend.

Authorities set up checkpoints to pull over bikers to check their ID.

The gathering is being held in Quebec for the first time since 2008.

The town's mayor, Marc Lavigne, tells CJAD 800 news that while he's spoken to Hells Angels members as they filed a request with the town for the necessary permits — saying the meetings "went well" — he says he's nonetheless uneasy with their presence.

"It's a criminal organization, period." he says. "We would have preferred that they didn't come here."

The mandatory meeting for full-patch members is described by authorities as a show of force by the gang, with rivals and police the target audience.

Police say the 500-odd full-patch members across the country include 80 in Quebec, where the gang is stronger than ever and controls between 95 and 98 per cent of the drug trafficking market.

-CJAD 800's Matt Gilmour contributed to this report.