MONTREAL - Police say they took a major bite of the Hells Angels on Wednesday after arresting more than 150 people as part of a massive international crackdown on the outlaw biker gang.
Some 1,200 police officers were involved in Operation Sharqc, with most of the arrests taking place throughout Quebec.
Four others were made in the Dominican Republic, one in France and five in New Brunswick.
Daniel Guerin, a spokesman for the Montreal-area Laval police department, said 111 full-patch members were nabbed, while four others were prospective members. Another 29 were associates of the criminal organization and 11 were retired bikers.
Many of them were expected to appear in court later on Wednesday.
Guerin described it as a significant bust.
"The total number of full-patch members, if not the entire membership of the Hells Angels, was arrested today," he said.
The alleged crimes, which include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism, occurred between 1992 and 2009.
RCMP Sgt. Claude Tremblay said a full-patch member of the notorious biker gang and four of his associates - all in their 40s and 50s - were arrested in New Brunswick.
Police also seized a quantity of guns and drugs from the suspects who were allegedly involved in the transport of drugs between Quebec, the United States and the Maritimes.
"New Brunswick is the corridor to the Maritimes and everything comes through our highways and we have a lot of small airports through the region," Tremblay said.
"There's a lot of trafficking going on. It's mostly related to underground crime and a lot of it is run by the Hells Angels."
He said it's difficult to crack down on the Hells Angels because few people are willing to testify against them.
"It's a very, very difficult task to charge or investigate anything to do with a crime element such as the Hells Angels," he said.
Guerin said police in Quebec also seized Hells bunkers in Montreal, Longueuil, Trois-Rivieres, Sherbrooke and Quebec City as well as the site of the Sorel-Tracy bunker that was recently set ablaze.
The crackdown was similar to a 2001 operation in which 122 Hells Angels members and sympathizers were arrested, said Guerin, adding Wednesday's busts were nonetheless more significant.