Major international operation against Hells Angels

The Hague, the Netherlands
24 July 2013

With the support of Europol, Spanish Guardia Civil and National Police carried out 31 simultaneous house searches yesterday at 6.45 am and arrested in total 25 Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) members or affiliates of the club.

The operation, involving more than 200 law enforcement officers, focused on suspected criminals on the Spanish island of  Mallorca, where Hells Angels recently opened a new charter with the support and protection of Hells Angels in Germany and Luxembourg. Those arrested today by Spanish SWAT team members are suspected of being involved in several crimes including drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, extortion, money laundering and corruption. The Spanish prosecution service in charge of the operation suspects Hells Angels of being a criminal organisation.

The operation was based on a two and a half year investigation between Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria, with the support of Europol and Eurojust.

Spanish law enforcement authorities were also supported by investigators from Germany, Luxembourg and Europol in the build up to today’s operation and during the operation.

During the house searches conducted in Mallorca, several cars and motorcycles were seized, as well as sums of money in cash and firearms. Investigators also seized computers, laptops, mobile phones and electronic devices.

The main threat to public safety associated with Hells Angels and other OMCGs (Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs) stems from their propensity to use extreme forms of violence. This includes the use of arms, explosive devices such as grenades, and the indiscriminate nature with which this violence is often used in open conflicts between rival groups. In general, the use of intimidation and violence is intrinsic to the OMCG subculture and serves to exert control over group members and others such as victims of extortion. In displaying their ‘colours’ and indentifying symbols, members of these groups exploit the reputation for violence associated with their particular OMCG to affirm their individual roles in local criminal markets.

Over the coming days, seized material will be analysed and further arrests may follow.

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