A judge has relocated the court appearance of a Fredericton man, identified by RCMP as a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, to Saint John because of security concerns.
Robin Moulton, 48, appeared in Woodstock provincial court on Friday morning to face charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a restricted firearm — a 9 mm Beretta — without a licence.
Numerous RCMP and Woodstock police officers were on hand for the 10:30 a.m. court appearance, as well as several sheriff’s deputies.
Police circled the courthouse for about 90 minutes before Moulton’s scheduled appearance.
Moulton arrived in a white sheriff’s van, in the middle of a procession of marked and unmarked police vehicles.
Someone across the street appeared to be recording his arrival, CBC’s Catherine Harrop reported from the scene.
Duty counsel requested the case be adjourned to give Moulton time to contact his lawyer, T.J. Burke. Federal Crown prosecutor Nicole Angers did not object.
Burton-based Judge Pierre Dubé set the matter over without plea until Aug. 31 at 10 a.m., but switched the venue to Saint John, citing security concerns.
Unlike the Woodstock courthouse, the Saint John Law Courts building has underground access, so an accused doesn’t have to walk outside from the sheriff’s van to court.
Moulton, who was arrested on Tuesday near Woodstock, remains in custody.
He is a member of the Hells Angels MC, Nomads New Brunswick chapter, according to RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh. The chapter was established in the province last fall, she said.
Moulton has distinctive Hells Angels wing tattoos on his neck and right arm.
His Facebook page includes photographs of him wearing a Nomads New Brunswick patch and articles of clothing bearing the Route 81 Maritimes Inc. logo.
Route 81 Maritmes Inc. is the merchandising arm of the Hells Angels. The Service New Brunswick corporate affairs registry lists a Robin Moulton of 214 Brunswick St., Apt. 201, as director of the company. The registration was last updated on Aug. 1, the document shows.
Another Facebook page identifies Moulton as being a trained chef and butcher. The page, which has not had any public postings since March 2015, indicates he is from Saint John and was living in Toronto.
RCMP announced Moulton’s Tuesday morning arrest late Thursday afternoon. He was stopped while driving on the Trans-Canada Highway at around 7:20 a.m., said Rogers-Marsh.
A search of the car led to the seizure of “a quantity” of what is believed to be cocaine, she said.
The RCMP seized several other items, including a high-powered rifle with a silencer and a loaded handgun, on Thursday during the execution of search warrants at “several locations,” said Rogers-Marsh.
Police started searching Moulton’s Fredericton residence on Brunswick Street on Wednesday and have maintained a heavy presence at the downtown apartment building.
Searches have also been underway across the province. However, police will not identify where those locations are.
The other items seized include:
- Full-patch Hells Angels jacket.
- Hells Angels “support club” patches.
- A quantity of drugs.
- Drug paraphernalia.
- “Support 81 Maritimes” clothing.
Moulton was convicted of drug trafficking and possession of a prohibited weapon in the Toronto area in 2008, court officials confirmed. He was sentenced to 64 months in prison.
The two charges he’s facing are both indictable, which are more serious than summary offences.
They were laid against Moulton by a member of the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime unit at J Division in Fredericton.
“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are a national priority for the RCMP,” Rogers-Marsh said on Thursday.
The joint-force investigation is continuing, she said.
It is being led by the RCMP, in partnership with the Canadian Border Services Agency and the Saint John, Fredericton, Kennebecasis Regional and Edmundston police forces.
Moulton’s arrest comes on the heels of the homicide of Ronald Richard, a member of the Bacchus motorcycle club near Minto.
The body of Richard, 50, was found on July 23 on a rural property in Hardwood Ridge.
RCMP said they do not believe the homicide was random but have not provided any other details. An autopsy was to be performed, but no cause of death has been released.
Bacchus is a New Brunswick-based club affiliated with the Hells Angels.
Moulton was Facebook friends with Richard.
“On my way to pay my respects to the fallen president of the capital city gatekeepers New Brunswick and get [greeted] with this,” Moulton posted on July 28, along with a photograph of a police roadside check.
Moulton also shared a post about a “Celebration of Life” being held for Richard in Devon on Saturday morning.
Richard was charged in December 2014 with possession of drugs, weapons and prohibited weapons.
He was convicted of possession of benzylpiperazine, a drug known as BZP, and possession of marijuana over 30 grams.