Three men charged after years-long probe into Kamloops outlaw bikers

HA 'support club' targeted

Sydney Chisholm

Police say they nipped a blossoming outlaw motorcycle gang support club in the bud, targeting the Throttle Lockers in a years-long investigation that has now seen serious trafficking charges laid against three men.

Investigators from the Kamloops RCMP and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, a provincial police agency targeting organized crime, held a news conference on Wednesday to unveil the findings of a probe that got underway in 2017.

Police said the investigation started when the Throttle Lockers — described as a “support club” for the Kelowna chapter of the Hells Angels — were trying to establish a clubhouse in Kamloops.

The investigation led to a series of search warrants executed in 2019. Mounties seized more than $330,000 in cash, significant amounts of drugs and Hells Angels support gear, among other items.

“Although it was now two or three years ago, it really took the wind out of their sails and essentially stifled their intentions to establish a clubhouse and really trying to set up shop here in Kamloops,” CFSEU-BC Supt. Duncan Pound said.

“So then those individuals dispersed. I can’t say that they have been still known to police, but the level of escalation they were looking to establish was certainly not achieved.”

The seized cash is now the subject of civil proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court. The province’s civil forfeiture office does not want to see the money returned to the club or the individuals from which it was seized.

“When the Kamloops RCMP detachment started this project in 2017, there had been a number of violent offences related to organized crime, including a high-profile homicide, assaults and other serious events related to the drug trade,” Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky said.

“Intelligence was indicating that members of the Throttle Lockers were active in Kamloops and were considering expanding their presence and control by opening a clubhouse in Kamloops.”

Charges have been laid against three men — 53-year-old Zale Coty of Kamloops, 29-year-old Jacob Cavanagh of Kamloops and 49-year-old Shawn Carlisle of Falkland.

Coty is facing two counts of trafficking cocaine and one count each of trafficking fentanyl, possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to traffic fentanyl.

Cavanagh has been charged with one count each of possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to traffic fentanyl.

Carlisle is facing three counts of trafficking cocaine and one count of selling cannabis contrary to the Cannabis Act.

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian was also present Wednesday at a news conference announcing the charges, at which Mounties had a table set up displaying drugs, paraphernalia and Throttle Locker vests and rockers seized by police.

Christian said the investigation represents a major disruption in the city’s underworld.

“It may be small in the overall scheme of international drug seizures, but for Kamloops this is big,” he said.

“And what you see in front of you represents safer streets for Kamloops. The fentanyl that is before you has been seized, and that has quite frankly saved lives here in Kamloops.”

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