|By BILL GRAVELAND, THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY -- It was 11 years ago that 250 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang roared into Red Deer and took over the rival Grim Reapers in a patch-over ceremony.
A federal police agency had issued dire warnings about the notorious gang's arrival in Alberta.
The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada described the Hells Angels as the largest outlaw motorcycle gang in the country.
The group is involved in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, fraud and extortion. A few years ago there were 34 chapters across the country with a total of about 500 members.
Police in Alberta went so far as to set up roadblocks, stopping every biker coming into Calgary to see if they were affiliated with the Hells Angels.
The gang's prominence has faded in recent years, especially in Calgary, where the focus has been on the bloody battle between two street gangs who often settle their differences with a shootout in the street.
But police say the Hells Angels are still operating under the radar in the city, relishing the cloak of anonymity that all the street-gang violence is providing them.
"They're still very much here," said RCMP Cpl. Jerion Hildebrand, part of the Calgary Integrated Intelligence Unit. "And they're still involved in activities, but they know better and they don't want the heat that all the gunfire in the streets creates.
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