Netherlands: 45 Hell's Angels members arrested on suspicion of weapons and drugs trafficking

Dutch police raided more than 65 locations nationwide and arrested 45 members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang on charges of extortion, intimidation, weapons and drugs trafficking and murder, prosecutors said Monday.

Raids were conducted simultaneously overnight at club houses in six Dutch town and cities and two Hell's Angels sites across the border in Belgium, a prosecution statement said.

Among items seized were a grenade launcher, a flame thrower, hand grenades, 20 hand guns, a machine pistol and Ђ70,000 (US$83,993) in cash. The operation was the culmination of an investigation into the motorcycle gang that began just over a year ago, the AP reports.

In the Netherlands, raids were conducted at club houses in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Ijmuiden, Harlingen, Kampen and Rotterdam, as well as 64 homes in unspecified locations.

The action comes soon after a high-profile murder trial of three members of the gang in the south of the Netherlands in 2004, allegedly by fellow bikers.

The Hell's Angels also was involved in international trafficking of cocaine and Ecstasy and the production and distribution of marijuana, prosecutors said. The investigation also covers the murder of a drugs dealer and the laundering of Ђ340,000 (US$407,966) in drugs money in 2004. A.M.

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