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B.C. Hells Angel charged in plot to assassinate Iranian dissidents

U.S. Justice Department says global assassination network operating on behest of Iran

A full-patch B.C. Hells Angels member has been indicted for his alleged role in what the United States says is a transnational assassination network targeting Iranian dissidents.

Damion Patrick John Ryan, 43, is one of two Canadians and one Iranian charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot. The assassination scheme, which Ryan was hired to orchestrate in 2021, was intended to kill two Iranian citizens who had fled their country and were living in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a release Monday (Jan. 29) that Ryan helped to plan the murders and arrange payment for those who would carry them out.

The department alleges Ryan reached out to a Canadian Hells Angels affiliate named Adam Richard Pearson who told Ryan “shooting is probably easiest thing for them,” and that he would tell the assassinators to “shoot [the victim] in the head a lot [to] make example.”

The treasury department says Ryan was to be paid $350,000 for the murders and another $20,000 to cover related expenses.

The person who allegedly commissioned the assassinations is 49-year-old Iranian narcotics trafficker Naji Ibrahim Sharifi-Zindashti. According to the treasury department, he is the head of the transnational assassination network that is targeting Iranian dissidents and opposition activists under the orders of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

“Zindashti’s network has carried out numerous acts of transnational repression including assassinations and kidnappings across multiple jurisdictions in an attempt to silence the Iranian regime’s perceived critics,” the treasury department said in its release Monday. It said dissidents, journalists, activists and former Iranian officials have been targeted in the Middle East, Europe and North America.

Increasingly, the department said, the assassination network is relying on organized crime groups to carry out its work and obscure its ties to the Government of Iran.

Zindashti currently lives in Iran. Ryan and Pearson are incarcerated in Canada on unrelated offenses.

READ ALSO: B.C. demolishing former Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo

About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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