Last identified Hells Angels den in Quebec has been demolished
The last identified Hells Angels den in Quebec, the Sherbrooke chapter, was demolished on Wednesday.
The fortified building with the red roof had been seized in the wake of the vast police operation SharQc, conducted mainly in Quebec in 2009.
The operation was aimed at significantly reducing the illegal activities of the criminal group. As part of the operation, 24 accused, all members of the Hells Angels, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to murder other gang members.
In 2017, Superior Court Judge Carol Cohen had determined that the building located at 1575 Wellington St. South in Sherbrooke, as well as the adjacent land, were "offence property," meaning that they had been used in the commission of a crime, explained in an interview the spokesperson for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), Audrey Roy-Cloutier. They were therefore confiscated.
In her decision, Justice Cohen had described the building as an "almost impregnable fortress" that was used by the accused during the entire period of the "Gang War", from 1994 to 2002.
With this judgment, the Attorney General of Quebec became the sole owner of the building.
The Hells Angels challenged this judgment in the Court of Appeal and even in the Supreme Court, but the latter refused to hear the case in 2020.
"That sealed the judicial fate of that property," said Roy-Cloutier.
The DPCP then decided to demolish the building and on Wednesday, journalists and photographers were invited to witness the demolition.
There are several other properties that were confiscated in the wake of Operation SharQc, which were all demolished. Obviously, one can think of the symbolism that this represents.
"It sends a clear message of deterrence to criminal groups and those tempted to get involved in criminal activities to enrich themselves," says Roy-Cloutier.
"It shows them that the DPCP and the police are determined to act on all fronts."
There were two other reasons for the demolition: first, public safety, since the building had been damaged by fire. But also, because the certified appraiser retained by the DPCP had determined that the building diminished the value of the land, the spokesperson reported.
By mid-afternoon, demolition was well underway and was expected to be completed by Wednesday, she added.
The land will be sold to the highest bidder. Its fair market value was set at $538,000.
Proceeds from the sale of offending property, such as this one, are distributed according to a government order, in part for compensation to victims of crime, to police forces involved in the operations that led to the seizure and finally to community organizations working to prevent crime.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 30, 2021.