Prime Time Crime

BC cops bag bikers in conspiracy bust

VICTORIA - The RCMP announced the successful conclusion of  three year investigation yesterday, with charges laid against at least two members of the Hells Angels.

The investigation began in 2001 under what was then known as the Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC) and now operates as the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) BC. Dubbed Project HALO, police began probing the activities of some members of the Nanaimo chapter of the Hells Angels. According to Insp. Pat Convey, the investigation turned into a probe of a trans-national drug trafficking ring.

Charges have been laid against Lea Sheppe, 53, of Nanaimo, for trafficking and conspiracy to traffick in cocaine. Sheppe is reputed to be a full patch member of the Nanaimo chapter of the Hells Angels.

Also charged with the same offences is Michael Jeffery McImurray, 37, of Keswick Ont., a member of the Keswick (Ontario) Chapter of the Hells Angels. Two others charged in the conspiracy investigation are Robert Louis Lajeunesse, 43, of Nanaimo and Nikolaos Petrantonakis, 31, of Markham Ontario.

All of the charges were done by way of direct indictment, which means there will be no preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The Crown typically does this in cases where there is a large volume of wiretap and other types of electronic evidence.

According to the RCMP, the accused were all to appear yesterday afternoon before the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court, Justice Patrick Dohm.

The lengthy investigation involved the RCMP from Nanaimo, Salmon Arm, Chase and  Kamloops Detachments as well as the  Kamloops District Drug Section.  Also involved were the Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay and Central Saanich Police Departments and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit - Ontario - Ontario Biker Unit and the RCMP intelligence section out of Nanaimo, BC.

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