Outlaw motorcycle gang moves to P.E.I.

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 1, 2012
The Bacchus Motorcycle Club, Canada's second biggest outlaw motorcycle gang, has made P.E.I. the latest province with one of its chapters.
Stock photo

An outlaw motorcycle gang that's friendly with the Hells Angels has quietly moved into P.E.I. as it expands across Atlantic Canada.

Const. Les Dill, provincial outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG) coordinator with the Criminal Intelligence Service P.E.I., said the Bacchus Motorcycle Club formed an Island chapter in January.

The Criminal Intelligence Service considers the club to be an organized crime group but it's too early to say how involved it will be in criminal activity because this is the first year the Bacchus have chapters in every Atlantic province, he said.

"Only time will tell."

The Bacchus are the second largest outlaw motorcycle gang in Canada behind the Hells Angels.

Although there has not been any outbreaks of violence associated with the gang's move to P.E.I., a member of the Saint John chapter was recently charged with second-degree murder in a shooting near the gang's clubhouse.

When it comes to determining if a group is considered an outlaw motorcycle gang, Dill said there are eight characteristics set out by the courts.

They include the gang's structure, colours, associates, membership, clubhouse, club rules, criminal activities and intelligence gathering.

Dill said criminal activities and intelligence gathering separate the outlaw motorcycle gangs from regular, law abiding riding clubs.

Some clubs also stand apart by wearing the one per cent diamond patch on their vests, which is a way of self-identifying as an outlaw motorcycle gang, he said.

"They're the one per cent of society that lives by no rules."

The Bacchus wear the one per cent patch.

Dill said it's an all or nothing deal with every member of every Bacchus chapter wearing the patch, the same as every Hells Angels chapter.

The Hells Angels are the biggest motorcycle gang in Canada and when it comes to the rest they are considered either friendly with them or they aren't.

"The Hells Angels are the top of the pile," he said.

Although the Bacchus are considered friendly with the Hells Angels, they are an independent club, Dill said.

The Bacchus Motorcycle Club has about 70 members and chapters in every province in Atlantic Canada with three in New Brunswick, two in Newfoundland and Labrador, one in Nova Scotia and the latest addition in P.E.I.

That's up from two chapters in 2009.

The Island Bacchus needed at least six full-patch members to form a chapter.

They have seven along with two "strikers" who are on a probationary period trying to get the respect needed to become a full member, Dull said.

"It's fluid and it changes all the time."

Before the Bacchus moved in, P.E.I. had the Cerberus club, which formed in 2009 and although its members didn't wear the one per cent patch, Dill said they were friendly with the Hells Angels.

The same goes for the Charlottetown Harley Club, which has been around for 35 years.

Dill said in the Cerberus club's case, some of its members "patched over" to the Bacchus and became members once the latter moved to the Island.

Both groups have been known to associate with one per cent clubs, including the Hells Angels and some of the bigger clubs from Ontario, Dill said.

But Dill said that doesn't necessarily mean they are automatically considered outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"If you're running in the circles, where there's smoke there's sometimes fire, but we base it on criminal activity not on associations," he said.

Like other motorcycle gangs, the Bacchus also wear a three-piece patch on their vest with the club's name on the top, the gang's emblem in the middle and the region they're in on the bottom.

While the Charlottetown Harley Club has its clubhouse in the city, the Bacchus have theirs in Kings County near Murray River.

The Cerberus used to have Kings County on the bottom of their patch, but the Bacchus put P.E.I. there instead.

"Basically they're claiming Prince Edward Island as their territory," Dill said.

Dill, who is an RCMP officer and works alongside someone from the Charlottetown police, said they are in regular contact with other police organizations across Canada about members of different clubs who show up in different parts of the country.

That includes members of clubs that come to P.E.I.

As for what criminal activity the gangs might be involved in, Dill didn't get into specifics about what's happening in P.E.I., but said in general the crimes can involve pretty much anything that could make them money.

Since the Bacchus have only had a P.E.I. chapter since January, Dill said the police have just been monitoring their activities.

"There's really nothing yet."