Police display items seized during six searches as part of Project Bombard, which began in 2014. The RCMP says it has officially dismantled the Vikings Motorcycle Club and is likely the only province in the country without an active Hells Angels chapter. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)
The RCMP says it has officially dismantled the Vikings Motorcycle Club, leaving Newfoundland and Labrador as likely the only province in the country without an active Hells Angels chapter.
This comes after the latest round of Vikings Motorcycle Club convictions, which saw three members of the gang — Vincent Leonard, Wayne Johnson and James Curran — receive prison sentences.
Inspector Stefan Thoms with the RCMP's federal Serious Organized Crime Unit says the latest convictions conclude Project Bombard, an organized crime investigation conducted by the province's RCMP that began in 2014.
"We did succeed in completely dismantling that organization," said Thoms about the Vikings Motorcycle Club in an interview with CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.
In total, Thoms said, 11 individuals were convicted as part of Project Bombard.
Hells Angels continuing influence
Although the Vikings Motorcycle Club is now dismantled, Thoms said biker gangs still have a presence in the province, including the Outlaw Motorcycle Club.
He said the RCMP successfully disrupted "some of their activities" through its Project Barbarian.
Bacchus Motorcycle Club also has a presence in Newfoundland and Labrador, Thoms said, and the Hells Angels continue to "influence criminal activities here in the province."
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Thoms said he suspects the notorious biker gang will continue its efforts to establish a foothold in the province through other support groups.
He said the RCMP will continue following the activities of organized crime groups and will take whatever steps necessary to prevent them from establishing a base in the province.
Establishing case law
Project Bombard began in 2014 with the murder of North River father Dale Porter, who was stabbed to death by Vikings Motorcycle Club member Al Potter.
Potter was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Porter in March 2019.
Thoms said after the death of Porter, it became clear to RCMP that they were going to have to investigate the group's activities beyond the murder.
RCMP were able to reveal that the Vikings biker gang was involved in numerous criminal offences, and that they were sanctioned by the Hells Angels in Simcoe County, Ontario, and had ties to other chapters throughout Ontario and Quebec.
From left, Wayne Johnson, James Curran and Vince Leonard were convicted in May, after a lengthy and often diverted process through the court system. (CBC)
Thoms said the RCMP discovered there was a concerted drug trafficking effort among members of the biker club, and that they were trafficking drugs like cocaine, fentanyl and heroin in the province on a "regular basis."
He said the success of Project Bombard goes beyond the Vikings biker gang, as RCMP can now use this case law to assist in future prosecutions.
"For the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador, this was the first time we were able to get criminal organization convictions against a group in Newfoundland," said Thoms.
"It's very significant for this province, both provincially and at a national level."