Monday, July 18, 2016

The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs are Conquering Canada

Damiano Dipopolo was used to having things his own way. The long-time Hells Angel from the East End chapter in Vancouver was a successful businessman: he ran a cellphone company for several years and then managed a clothing store and a cafe, while his wife operated a Web porn site.

So, in early 2002 when Damiano strolled onto the Vancouver port, he did not expect to get hassled. He didn't formally work on the docks, but his twin brother Rocco, a fellow biker, had been a longshoreman for years and had a union ticket. Dozens of Angels and their associates worked on the waterfront, and Damiano knew the bikers could roam around the docks with impunity.

Damiano Dipopolo
Damiano walked up to one of the ships that had arrived and met one of the crewmen. He then got into his car to leave. At the security checkpoint, an unsuspecting guard dropped the boom gate: Dipopolo, after all, did not have authorization to be on the premises. The Hells Angel simply revved his engine and rammed through the gate.

The following day a couple of enforcers-some young Hells hangarounds-came down to have a little chat with the overly enthusiastic security guard. "The next time Mr. Dipopolo comes, don't you dare think about dropping that boom gate down," they told him in no uncertain terms. "He comes down here and does what he wants, when he wants-got it?"

Damiano Dipopolo
The Sun has identified at least six full-patch Hells Angels who are active members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Some have worked on the docks for years, like Al DeBruyn, a senior White Rock Hells Angel who started in 1981.

Other Hells Angels joined the longshoremen more recently. Rob Alvarez of the elite Nomads chapter and Kelowna Angel Damiano Dipopolo started on May 24, 2012. West Point Hells Angel Ryan Sept started just last year, nominated by another full-patch member of his chapter.
The Sun has documented 27 active longshoremen with gang or criminal links from various sources of information, including public records and union membership lists. That number doesn’t include the “inactive” members of the union who are also Hells Angels — East End President John Bryce, Nomads Angel Gino Zumpano, Haney member Vince Brienza, West Point member Larry Amero and former Vancouver president Norm Krogstad.

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