(This column was published in the North Shore News on April 26, 2000)


Takiní care of Canadians outlaw biker business

By Leo Knight

WHEN 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.  


As 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.  


In 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.  


The 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 night.  


One 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.  


He 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 Head tattoo.  


Trudeau 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 carnage.  


Trudeau 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.  


Hamel 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.  


Oh, 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.  


You 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.  


Since 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."  


Since 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.  


That's 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.  


On 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.  


On 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 the '70s.  


So 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.  


As 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.  


A 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.  


The 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.  


The 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."






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