Hells Angels arrive near Montreal for weekend national meeting

SAINT-CHARLES-SUR-RICHELIEU, Canada — Authorities ramped up checkpoints and their overall presence east of Montreal on Friday as members of the Hells Angels and their sympathizers continued to arrive for a weekend gathering.

The Canada Run — the Hells' annual get-together — is being held this year in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, 50 kilometres from Montreal.

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Police said some 500 full-patch Hells members and up to 200 sympathizers were expected to attend.

Authorities set up checkpoints to pull over bikers to check their ID.

The gathering is being held in Quebec for the first time since 2008.

The mandatory meeting for full-patch members is described by authorities as a show of force by the gang, with rivals and police the target audience.

Police say the 500-odd full-patch members across the country include 80 in Quebec, where the gang is stronger than ever and controls between 95 and 98 of the drug trafficking market.

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