column was published in the North
Shore News on
April 26, 2000)
care of Canadians outlaw biker business
By Leo Knight
Normand "Biff" Hamel took his wife and daughter to an
appointment at a Laval, Quebec, medical centre last week, he
wasn't taking the precautions his position demanded.
he crossed the parking lot he suddenly twigged to the men paying
an inordinate amount of attention to him. When the penny
dropped, so did the hammer. He began to run and was cut down,
felled by two gunshots.
1985 Hamel was a prospect of the Montreal chapter of the Hells
Angels when a move was made within the group to relieve itself
of a thorn in its collective side. The Montreal North chapter
had to be dealt with. They were garnering too much heat and
spent too much time using the gang's products.
Angels of the Montreal chapter threw a party at the Lennoxville
clubhouse in their own inimitable style. Six dead members later,
the bodies were wrapped in sleeping bags and chains and tossed
into the St. Lawrence River. Hamel stood guard at the gate that
of the North chapter members, Yves "Apache" Trudeau,
had the remarkable foresight to give a pass to the soiree at the
Lennoxville clubhouse. Hamel was given the task of finding
Trudeau and getting back his colours. A successful conclusion
guaranteed Hamel full-patch status.
tracked Trudeau, a heavy cocaine user, to a detox centre in Oka.
The "rookie" told the veteran of 43 murders between
1970 and 1985; he was out. He told Trudeau to remove his Death's
accepted his defrocking, but he wanted to get his Harley back
and a stake of $46,000 cash he had laid down. But he had to pay
a price for this. Hamel conveyed the message to him that he had
to take care of a couple of witnesses to the Lennoxville
only managed to get one of the persons when he got his chestnuts
in another fire and became the first full-patch member of the
Hells Angels to become a police informant.
was to gain from his assistance in cleaning up after the
Lennoxville mess. He got his patch and went on to become one of
the charter members of the Nomad chapter in Quebec and a chief
lieutenant to Maurice "Mom" Boucher, the de facto head
of the gang in Quebec.
he had his knocks. He was accused of offences relating to murder
a couple of times. But he always managed to scrape away. In 1995
he almost didn't. He was in custody charged with conspiracy in
the murder of Robert "Bob Electric" Boileau. While he
was being held in custody, a plot to kill him by five fellow
inmates was broken up by authorities.
see, as a major player in the Hells Angels in Quebec, Hamel was
intricately involved in the illegal distribution of all kinds of
drugs in the province and into Ontario and the Maritimes. The
drug trade is controlled by what is called the Consortium
consisting of the Angels, the Rizzuto family and the West End
gang, the so-called Irish mafia.
1994, a group of outlaws calling themselves the Rock Machine
have been trying to intrude on the territory. In 1998, severely
depleted by the war of attrition, the Rock Machine sought and
gained an alliance with the second largest bike gang in the
world, the Texas-based Bandidos. They obtained support club
status and now wear the Red and Gold of the "Bandits."
the war started in 1994, the Rock Machine had been unable to get
at the "full-patch" members of the Hells Angels. The
Angels use puppet gangs to do much of their dirty work. And
there's no shortage of wannabees eager to prove their worth in
order to get their shot at the big prize: the money to be made
once full-patch status is obtained.
why the killing of Hamel is so significant and to a degree,
amazing. Hamel became the 135th victim of the war with the Rock
Machine. He died on Monday. Before he was buried on Friday,
there were two more.
Wednesday the body of Francis Carriere, an associate of the
Rockers, a support club of the Angels, was found dead in
Piedmont, Quebec. A day later, the body of Salvatore Gervasi
turned up stuffed in the trunk of his Porsche. Gervasi was a
former associate of the Rock Machine who had been recruited by
elements of the Angels to switch sides.
Friday, at Hamel's funeral, "Mom" Boucher, acquitted
last year of the killing of two corrections officers, was seen
talking with Alain Dubois, a member of the Rockers and the son
of Jean-Guy Dubois, one of the nine brother Dubois family who
ruled the streets of Montreal with iron fists, guns and bombs in
powerful have the Angels become in the criminal underworld that
the Dubois family is no longer a factor and the son of one is
merely a member of a puppet gang of the Hells Angels.
a chief lieutenant to Boucher, Hamel must have known he was a
target. To be caught and ambushed without the back-up support of
prospects or puppet gang members is very surprising.
biker's funeral is an extremely important event in the outlaw
world. A man as important as Hamel drew Hells Angels from all
over North America including British Columbia and some from
Europe. The Angels will not let this past week go unnoticed.
Angels have an expression, "takin' care of business."
It's a creed with them and means they collectively fight
whatever gets in the way of their business.
events of last week promise a long hot summer. Let's hope no
innocents get caught in the crossfire like the 11-year-old boy
killed in 1995 as he walked by just as a car bomb detonated.
This is the real world of the "bunch of good ol' boys who just like to ride bikes."