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Ten people are facing 45 charges following a year-long investigation into a cocaine distribution network in Alberta that police say was linked to a member of the Hells Angels.

Police allege the suspects filled various roles within the network that ran through Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Cold Lake, Whitecourt and Grande Prairie.

Charges include participating in a criminal organization, conspiracy to traffic cocaine and other drugs-, firearms– and property-related counts.

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William McCabe, who is 47 and from Spruce Grove, is charged with instruction of a criminal organization.

Police believe it’s the first time that charge has been laid against someone in Alberta.

Investigators allege McCabe, a Hells Angels member in Edmonton, oversaw cocaine trafficking operations and distribution of drugs by support clubs in other communities.

Supt. Chad Coles called the investigation a “complete disruption” of the network that was allegedly moving wholesale quantities of cocaine across the province on a regular basis.

Support clubs are typically used by the Hells Angels to carry out lower-level work such as drug trafficking and expanding territory.

Chief Supt. Ian Lawson said the clubs provide the Hells Angels with “insulation.”

“By using a support group, it provides some challenges to an investigation to identify who exactly is providing the direction to it,” Lawson said.

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The arrests were made between July 25 and July 30.

There are six Hells Angels clubs in Alberta: three in Edmonton, two in Calgary and one in Red Deer. Police said there are about 16 support clubs.

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