March, 2011

Angels fugitives still on the lam

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A year after the biggest biker bust in Canadian history, 19 Quebec Hells Angels and associates are still on the run. Interpol and the Mounties have put together a photo gallery of their images.

Le Caron reader

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Could the reader who emailed me about my book Delusion (The Infiltrator in Britain) please email me back? My work email is pedwards@thestar.ca.

The book’s about Henri Le Caron, a real-life spy in the 19th century, who infiltrated Irish nationalist groups in Canada, the United States and Britain.

‘Mascot’ saves lives: reader email

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Here’s a fascinating email from a reader, Greyson Knapp:

“Interesting story  As a 16 year old kids kid,  I had already been burned over 60% of my body from a motorcycle accident. I was befriended by a group of bandits here in Houston as I often went to their cycle shop for parts. A major disagreement broke out between the club owners of the shop. Thi s bleed over into the girls they ran and the junk they sold. they all looked at me as a harmless (and pittiful) “mascot” All ~125lbs of bravely-stupid me hobbled around between the two feuding groups of brothers and managed to negotiate peace. Some of the weirdest trade deals came out of it but I would rather not get into that.  I’ve done a lot of things in my long life but I think this one incident may have had the greatest impact. I guarantee there were at least 6 set to die.”

Job Openings

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

There are a couple of job openings for any readers in New Hampshire. One is for a sports reporter. The other is for a pimp. Successful applicants should only take one of the two postings.

Friends in high places

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

It’s a truism that organized criminals are as strong as their contacts in the mainstream world. The Mexican drug cartels are obviously extremely strong, and American authorities believe part of the reason is corruption on both sides of the border, including small town New Mexico, where a chief of police and mayor were just arrested and charged with gun running.

Last week, Italian authorities announced they had found links between the former mayor of Stirling, Australia and the ‘Ndrangheta, the Mafia group from southern Italy that’s now considered more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia. The former mayor dismissed the charges as ridiculous, but Italian authorities were confident enough to issue an arrest warrant against him.

Italian authorities have gotten used to charging mayors with organized crime offenses. Last year, they charged the former mayor of Siderno, Italy with Mafia-related offenses, including making a trip to Thunder Bay, Ontario to quell tensions between Canadian underworld groups.

Remade man

Friday, March 11th, 2011

This ex-mobster was found planting crops, not victims. If this was a movie, who should play him: Russell Crowe or Steve Martin?

High priced songbirds

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Here in Toronto, the trial against a half dozen Hells Angels on a variety of (sometimes minor) drug and weapons charges. The case is framed around the testimony of David (Shaky Dave) Atwell, former sergeant-at-arms of the Downtown chapter. Exactly how much Atwell is being paid isn’t clear, but it’s far more than he made as a celebrity bodyguard. Not surprisingly, local Hells Angels have taken to call him “Ratwell.”

The Oshawa clubhouse is closed now, due in large part to the paid testimony of its former secretary  Steven Gault. He received more than $1-million. Last I heard, he still hadn’t paid a court-ordered penalty to pay for reconstructive surgery for a man whose ear he partially chomped off in a bar fight.

Now in Winnipeg, Hells Angels president Ernie Dew is on trial for weapons offenses. Again, the prosecution has a former insider testifying for money. This time the tab is $500,000.

Not that long ago, this sort of thing was unheard of. The only high profile biker informers in Canada that come to mind for the 1970s-90s are Cecil Kirby and Yves (Apache) Trudeau. Now they’re commonplace, although far too expensive to call a dime a dozen.

Oops! Buffalo man in charge of restructuring police ends up in handcuffs in cocaine bust

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

A little news from our southern neighbours. A man who was presiding over a restructuring of Buffalo police has been charged with tipping off cocaine dealers in a bust involving the Afro Dogs Motorcycle Club. A police officer has also been suspended. No comment from the mob, who must feel left out in this alleged biker-police love-in.

FBI files on Hells Angels opened up

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Plenty of material is still blacked out in these previously secret FBI files on the Hells Angels in the U.S. in the 1960s. Still, they’re an interesting snapshot on the decade of love-ins and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, with intelligence on long-forgotten rumbles like the June 19-20, 1965 Weirs Beach Riot in Laconia, New Hampshire. That report made it to the White House and Army Intelligence, with its conclusion: “No evidence of subversion, radical, radical or criminal elements involved.”

The August 16, 1965 report “RUMBLE TO BUST GUADALUPE RUEL” also fizzled, as the Hells Angels stayed home rather than bust the Mexican national out of jail in Chicago.

Another report, from July 1968, talked of the Hells Angels plotting to start a race riot in Mobile, Ala. Again, the anticipated bust-up was a non-starter.

What’s interesting is what’s not mentioned, like drug trafficking or organized crime. There is a mention of the funeral of James (Mother) Miles in January 1966. It’s interesting how many bikers are named “Mom.” And the name seems to be reserved for the really tough ones, who you’d never call a Momma’s boy.

Creme de les blogs

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Bored with CSI? Criminal Minds not enough for you? Fear not. My former Toronto Star co-worker Harold Levy has been running a blog on Charles Smith, the disgraced pathologist whose work has been blamed for a number of wrongful convictions. Harold’s blog has been listed in the top 50 forensic blogs out there.