PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. State Police have arrested the head of the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang as part of a dramatic afternoon raid on their Providence headquarters.
Joseph Lancia, 28, of Greenville, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with felony assault as part of an “active and ongoing investigation” by the State Police Intelligence Unit and Violent Fugitive Task Force, according to a spokesperson.
Detectives then searched the clubhouse at 161 Messer St. in Providence with a court-authorized search warrant.
Lancia will be arraigned in Providence District Court on Thursday, according to Laura Meade Kirk, the spokesperson for the state police. He was arrested at 1:40 p.m., before state police entered the clubhouse.
“The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming,” Kirk said in an email.
Multiple law enforcement sources tell Target 12 this case stems from an internal beef within the Hells Angels. Lancia is accused of assaulting someone connected with the biker club in a violent clash.
Target 12 has also learned two other people, a man and a woman who were inside the clubhouse, were also taken into custody. It is unclear if they will be charged. Eyewitness News video shows troopers putting the pair on the ground and into handcuffs.
Loud booms could be heard from the building prior to the pair being taken into custody.
On Wednesday afternoon, police closed off a portion of Messer St., and police pushed reporters back from the scene saying it was for their safety.
A law enforcement official on a bullhorn could be heard telling people to leave the building.
“Anyone inside 161 Messer St., this is the state police come out with your hands up,” he said. “Do it now.”
Heavily armed state troopers and an armored vehicle were seen outside the building as well as police dogs.
This isn’t the first time Lancia has been arrested. In 2012 Smithfield Police charged him with willful trespass and simple assault. He pleaded no contest and was given one year of probation.