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Bikers backed coke ring?

Pair of Hells Angels allegedly entered agreement to help traffic cocaine in Fort McMurray, judge hears
By TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU Last Updated: December 11, 2009 3:11am

Two Hells Angels from the Edmonton chapter allegedly partnered up with a Fort McMurray drug kingpin to ensure his cocaine-trafficking operation ran smoothly. That's what a federal prosecutor said yesterday at the start of a lengthy trial for the pair of outlaw bikers on drug-dealing conspiracy and criminal organization charges, while giving an overview of the case to the judge. The full-patch Hells Angels are Alan Peter Knapczyk, 35, and John Reginald Alcantara, 37, and the head of the Fort McMurray drug gang is Jeffrey Mark Caines, 36, who earlier pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine, but is currently disputing certain parts of an agreed statement of facts. Alcantara -- who was handed a 14-year prison sentence last Friday after being convicted of conspiring to traffic cocaine -- yesterday pleaded guilty to an identical charge. He admitted he had entered into an agreement to assist Caines traffic cocaine in Fort McMurray, but said he is not accepting that Knapczyk was part of it. Alcantara pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking cocaine and committing an offence in association with a criminal organization while Knapczyk entered not guilty pleas to all three charges. Prosecutor Dennis Hrabcak told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheila Greckol the Crown theory is that Alcantara and Knapczyk conspired with Caines to traffic cocaine in the Fort McMurray area at a kilo and multi-kilo level. Hrabcak said Caines was the head of a criminal organization that bought and sold cocaine using a network of suppliers, distributors and couriers that he had set up. He told the judge Caines made a 2005 agreement with members of the Hells Angels Nomad chapter and said Alcantara and Knapczyk eventually took over the agreement after a disagreement between the Edmonton Hells Angels and the Nomads over control of the agreement. Court heard the agreement involved the removal of any rivals of Caines's drug gang, ensuring other suppliers in the area did not undercut his business and the protection of Caines and his distributors for a weekly fee of $20,000.

"Essentially it gave Caines free rein to supply cocaine in the specified area and protection for those he supplied," said Hrabcak. "In return he paid a fee or tax to the individuals. The reputation of the Hells Angels was used to enforce the agreement." The prosecutor alleged Alcantara, who was then a prospect for the Hells Angels and sponsored by Knapczyk, was the front man in the agreement and collected the weekly fee while Knapczyk was the enforcer behind the scenes. Court heard the evidence in the case will come from intercepted communications from a police wiretap operation, cocaine seizures, surveillance from police investigators and both civilian and expert witnesses. The trio were part of a large group of drug dealers taken down in a 23-month joint investigation by various Canadian police agencies known as Project KOKER. TONY.BLAIS@SUNMEDIA.CA