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Vancouver Island men facing 41 charges in 'significant' crackdown on Hells Angels in B.C.

Police seized 22 weapons over the course of the investigation, including an Uzi, as well as more than 4,500 rounds of ammunition and five tubes of commercial-grade explosives. (CTV News) Police seized 22 weapons over the course of the investigation, including an Uzi, as well as more than 4,500 rounds of ammunition and five tubes of commercial-grade explosives. (CTV News)
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Four men are facing dozens of charges after a years-long drug-trafficking investigation that police say disrupted the expansion of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang on Vancouver Island.

The federal prosecution service has approved 41 criminal charges related to the investigation.

On Thursday, British Columbia's Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) announced that an investigation that began in June 2018 and targeted members of the Hells Angels in Nanaimo, B.C., as well as their support clubs – the Savages MC and the Devils Army MC – had led to charges against the men.

Police seized 22 weapons over the course of the investigation, including an Uzi, as well as more than 4,500 rounds of ammunition and six tubes of explosives typically used in mining.

Investigators also recovered more than seven kilograms of cocaine, nearly two kilograms of methamphetamine and four kilograms of cannabis, the CFSEU-BC said.

Police said the Hells Angels intended to expand their drug-running operations on Vancouver Island while also establishing new Hells Angels chapters beyond Nanaimo.

THREE MEN REMAIN AT LARGE

William Bradley Thompson, 58, from Ladysmith, B.C., faces 10 weapons charges and one drug-related charge. He was arrested and released pending a court appearance, police said in a release Thursday.

The other three men remained at large at the time of the announcement with warrants issued for their arrests.

Sean Oliver Douglas Kendall, 44, of Port Alberni, B.C., is facing seven charges related to drug trafficking.

Sean Oliver Douglas Kendall. (CFSEU-BC)

Kristopher Stephen Smith, a 44-year-old man from Nanaimo, is charged with three drug offences and three weapons offences.

Kristopher Smith, a 44-year-old man from Nanaimo, B.C., turned himself in to police over the weekend. (CFSEU-BC)

William Karl Paulsen, a 51-year-old from Campbell River, B.C., is facing sixteen drug charges and one count of unlawfully possessing explosives.

William Karl Paulsen. (CFSEU-BC)

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to contact local police or Crime Stoppers.

"This lengthy and complex investigation spanned over four years and included over 50 dedicated resources resulting in significant seizures of potentially deadly drugs and serious charges," CFSEU-BC chief Manny Mann said Thusday.

"Our mandate and ability to work with our partner agencies to investigate across multiple jurisdictions allows us to investigate gang members and groups who impact public safety in multiple communities," he added. 

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