Police confiscated drugs, weapons and explosives during a sweep of motorcycle gang clubhouses on Friday. According to Detective Superintendent Pälvi Suokas of the Häme police department, the operation targeted the Hells Angels MC.
In Lahti, about 100 kilometres north of Helsinki, authorities searched premises rented by a new motorcycle club called Red Roots. A preliminary investigation determined that the facility is now used by the Hells Angels.
Other sites were searched, including a Hells Angels clubhouse in the eastern city of Lappeenranta.
Police said they detained an unspecified number of people on Friday. Three of them were prospective Hells Angels members who this month had been granted “hang-around” status, the first step toward full membership.
The Häme police department led the operation with extensive cooperation from the Southeast Finland, Helsinki, Eastern Uusimaa and Western Uusimaa police departments as well as the National Bureau of Investigations and the Criminal Sanctions Agency.
Police declined to provide more details, citing the ongoing preliminary investigation.
The Finnish News Agency STT reported in September that a new motorcycle club called Red Roots had been established in Lahti. Police first observed motorcyclists wearing Red Roots vests and insignia last spring.
Police say that Red Roots dissolved in August, splitting into two groups. Since then both groups have been involved with the Hells Angels, officials say.
Red Roots was set up to replace the Lahti chapter of the United Brotherhood (UB) gang. At the same time an associated group called Redrum was also established, corresponding to a UB affiliate called Bad Union, according to police.
This week Eastern Uusimaa District Court extended a temporary ban on UB’s activities, which was originally imposed in January. Legal proceedings aimed at shutting down UB permanently are scheduled to begin in late November.
UB was launched in 2010 through the merger of three criminal organisations, known as Rogues Gallery, Natural Born Killers and MORE.