Four men arrested in Spain on allegations of smuggling cocaine have links to the Mission and Haney chapters of the Hells Angels.
B.C.’s anti-gang unit confirmed that Mission full-patch member Jason Cyrus Arkinstall and Haney full-patch member Chad John Wilson were arrested by Spain’s National Police along with associates Scott Smitna and Michael Dryborough.
“We have provided information as it’s been requested through the RCMP to Spanish authorities,” said Sgt. Lindsay Houghton, with B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Spanish police allege the men were involved in smuggling 500 kilograms of cocaine into the country.
A statement from Spanish police said the investigation began after authorities were tipped off about a group of Canadian Hells Angels who were planning to ship cocaine from Columbia to Spain by sailboat.
Police began tracking the operation on July 30 and followed three of the Hells Angels to Madrid and Galicia, where they allegedly finalized details of the transaction.
The men were arrested in a café in Pontevedra in a dramatic take-down filmed on camera and released by Spanish authorities.
Two vans filled with cocaine, a SUV, mobile home, four mobile phones and two encrypted smartphones were seized by police.
The arrests were the result of collaboration between Spanish police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Canada’s mounted police, EUROPOL and France’s tax authority.
“Arkinstall and Wilson are very well-known to police,” said Hougthon.
“They’ve been in the news quite a bit for various crimes.”
He added he was not aware of Smitna and Dryborough.
Houghton was not surprised that Canadian Hells Angel were involved in an international drug smuggling operation.
“It’s not limited to just Hells Angels,” he said.
“We’ve seen other Canadian nationals arrested in other parts of the world. Look at the example of Clay Rouche [United Nations gang]. He’s spending 30 years in a U.S. penitentiary.”
Wilson was charged with attempted murder in 2006 after he and an associate shot at rival gang members at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Wilson was a member of the San Diego Hells Angel chapter at the time, but police said he now belongs to the Haney chapter, based in Maple Ridge.
Wilson was sentenced to two years in prison for pleading guilty to being a non-immigrant alien in possession of a firearm, according to U.S. court documents.
Arkinstall has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions in B.C. for mischief, causing a disturbance and assault with a weapon.
He successfully challenged the constitutionality of a Surrey bylaw that allows firefighters and police to enter homes believed to contain marijuana grow-ops without warrants.
– with files from Black Press