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Police have charged a member of the Hells Angels and nine others after raiding four homes – one of which is in St. Albert – in an investigation to crack down on organized crime.
The Combined Forces and Special Enforcement Unit of ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams) simultaneously searched two homes in north Edmonton, one in south Edmonton and one at 10 Eldorado Dr. in St. Albert on Jan. 30.
One person from St. Albert was arrested.
With the help of the Edmonton Police Service and RCMP, police seized a Hells Angels motorcycle vest containing illegal drugs, two rifles, a loaded handgun with ammunition and other gun parts, four body armour vests, a functional police scanner, 350 grams of cocaine, oxycodone pills and materials associated with drug trafficking, two false driver's licenses, $23,000 cash and one vehicle.
Police also arrested Blake Christie, a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, who was the primary target of the investigation.
Christie, 32, is considered a "full patch" or high-ranking member of the Hells Angels.
He was arrested at a north Edmonton home and faces 11 charges including possession of a loaded prohibited firearm, possession of body armour, drugs and false identity documents as well as other firearms related charges.
Christie, 32, is considered a "full patch" or full fledged member of the Hells Angels. He was arrested at a north Edmonton home and faces 11 charges including possession of a loaded prohibited firearm, possession of body armour, drugs and false identity documents as well as other firearms related charges.
During the investigation, officers blocked off St. Albert's Eldorado Drive from Erin Ridge Drive to Essex Close to incoming traffic for nearly two hours. They used an RCMP tactical armoured vehicle to enter through a second floor window at the front of the house.
Close to home
Insp. Darcy Strang with ALERT said the investigation was triggered by the belief that the individuals were trafficking large amounts of cocaine in the Edmonton region.
The three-and-half month investigation was conducted by a branch of ALERT specializing in outlaw motorcycle gangs, a segment police say is drastically rising in numbers across the province.
"Back in 2009, we had three (outlaw motorcycle gang) clubs in Alberta. We now have 23."
He estimates there are between 300 and 360 Hells Angels members in Alberta.
"Alberta is a profit-rich province for crime," added Strang.
Warrants have also been issued for Terri Huebner, 31, and Kendra Christie, 33. They face six charges each.
"Unfortunately this is not going to stop. I would like to say that we put a dent in their business … but there is a lot more where this comes from. We have a lot more work to do."
The other nine people arrested, Hells Angels associates, face 28 charges including possession of body armour, firearms and drugs for the purposes of trafficking. The accused include: Kelly Kratky (Christie's associate), 29, Denise Measor, 26, Melvin Kratky, 26, Paula House, 39, Zanah Palani, 23, Hiwa Palani, 26, possession and Tamara Clarke, 28.
Warrants have also been issued for Terri Huebner, 31, and Kendra Christie, 33. They each face six drug and weapons related charges.
Det. Curtis Pugh, primary investigator of the operation, said 10 Eldorado Dr. has been on police radar before. In 2008 the house was under an investigation by St. Albert RCMP for drugs.
Pugh said the house is currently under assessment for civil forfeiture by the province.
ALERT is a policing unit made of municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs who specialize in taking down serious and organized crime.