By Morgan Modjeski
Jeffrey Caines was given a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to being head of a massive drug trafficking operation here in Fort McMurray surrounding the distribution of large amounts of cocaine. Photo: QMI Agency
With one of the main drug dealers in Fort McMurray, Jeffrey Caines, being sentenced to 14-years of jailtime, some experts say that he will be replaced quickly by larger organizations.Caines admitted Friday to being the head of a major cocaine trafficking operation in Fort McMurray.
Len Isnor, detective sergeant with the biker enforcement unit of the Ontario Provincial Police and an expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs, told the Today, "The Hells Angels have interest in that area because of the drug market and if one person is out of the picture, they will replace them with someone else."
Even though the Hells Angels don't have a chapter in Fort McMurray, they do have a support club in the area. When asked if the Hells Angels have interest in Fort McMurray, Insor said, absolutely. "Lots of money, a very high-income community, a lot of disposable income that is used recreationally and people want drugs, so there is a huge market," said Isnor. "They're not there physically with a chapter, however, they have associates up there."
"There is a biker puppet club. They're not always called puppet clubs, but there is a support club or an associate club that works there for the Hells Angels."
The motorcycle club that Isnor is referring to is a group called the Ft. McMurray Syndicate, a smaller motorcycle club that has surfaced in Fort McMurray in the last year and allegedly has ties to the Edmonton chapter of the Hells Angels.
Isnor explained that Hells Angels are supplying cocaine and other drugs to the Fort McMurray area, but noted that there are a number of groups responsible for the drug trade in the city. And added that Hells Angels in the past have used support clubs to separate themselves from illegal activity saying the likeliness of a Hells Angels chapter forming in Fort McMurray is slim.
"Anything is possible, it's pretty hard to predict the landscape of what Hells Angels are going to do in the future, but Hells Angels, they don't want to divide the pie up too much," he said. "So right now, if the chapters in Edmonton are running Fort McMurray, they don't want to establish a chapter there and divide Fort McMurray up," he said. Isnor noted Hells Angels support clubs are popping up all over Alberta as the gang has developed a sophisticated criminal network distancing themselves from the actual crime.
"They're reaping all the profits, but they're getting other people to do the work, so these puppet clubs, they're doing a lot of the dirty work and it keeps the Hells Angels an arms-length away from the actual crime," said Isnor.
The Wood Buffalo Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team, the unit responsible for this kind of activity, is currently keeping an eye on the Syndicate motorcycle club, but noted that they have not seen any indicators that the club is involved with illegal activity.
"As this point in time, they're simply a motorcycle club," said Sgt. Irv Heide with Wood Buffalo ALERT.
"Anytime that you have a motorcycle club that is associated with a group like the Hells Angels ... we're going to be paying attention to them," he added.Heide explained that so far, all interactions of the RCMP with the club have been minor, saying they encountered some of the members at a check-stop during a poker derby the club held on Oct. 1. He also noted that some members were approached over Section 69.1 of the Gaming and Liquor Act that restricts anyone involved in a gang, either through membership or otherwise from being in a licensed premises.