(This column was published in the North Shore News on Aug. 16, 2000)


Watch for national biker war

By Leo Knight

ON a hot August afternoon just five years ago, 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers was riding his bicycle on Adam Street in Montreal's east-end Hochelaga district.  


As he pedalled past a curbside Jeep, a bomb inside the car exploded.  


Shrapnel ripped through his little body leaving him in a coma until his death four days later. He became the first innocent victim in the violent drug war in Quebec between the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine which, to date, has claimed over 150 lives. 


While the war for control of Quebec's lucrative drug trade has been going on since 1994, there is growing evidence that the Rock Machine are upping the stakes and the violence is moving westward.  


Earlier this summer, on June 10, the Rock Machine opened two new chapters in Ontario, which included the patch-over of nine members of the Outlaws, one of the so-called "Big Four" outlaw motorcycle gangs in the world. While the Angels have some limited control in the huge Ontario market, with associations with the Vagabonds and Para-Dice Riders, they have been unable to establish a chapter there.  


Two of the original founding members of the Quebec "Nomads" chapter of the Hells Angels, Wolodumir "Nugget" Stadnick and Donald "Pup" Stockford live in Hamilton and have been working diligently to get a chapter set up in the Golden Horseshoe of Southwestern Ontario. The president of the Nomads is Maurice "Mom" Boucher, thought to be one of the most powerful gangsters in the country.  


The patch-over of the Outlaws in Ontario originated with a meeting held earlier in the spring, in Chicago, between Quebec Nomads and senior people with the Outlaws. The Hells Angels warned the Outlaws to stay away from the Rock Machine lest they get sucked into the war as well.  


The older Outlaws, who well remember the decade-long war with the Hells Angels, which spread throughout the U.S., agreed to the concept. The nine Outlaws in Ontario, too young to remember the bloodshed of the early '80s, rejected the idea of being told what to do and joined with the Rock Machine, renouncing the skull and crossed pistons of the Outlaw colours in favour of the red and gold eagle.  


A year ago, in this space, I told you of the change in status of the Rock Machine to that of a support club for the Texas-based Bandidos motorcycle gang. In that column, I warned of the possibility the drug war could spread to Vancouver streets. The Bandidos sport red and gold colours and giving the support status to the Rock Machine allowed them to wear the red and gold of the Bandits, albeit in reverse.  


Since that time, intelligence reports indicate the Bandidos told the Rock Machine that they would not get "patched-over" until such time as they were a "national" club. Police sources tell me that the Rock Machine devised plans to get three new chapters, two in Ontario and one in Vancouver.  


After the June 10 patch-over, members of the Rock Machine are now wearing a bottom rocker on their colours that says "Canada" as opposed to the city where the chapter is located. This is especially significant because the Hells Angels consider Canada their territory.  


Meanwhile, there are signs that the Angels in Quebec are not as feared as they once were. In April, Angel Normand "Biff" Hamel, a full patch member and close associate of Boucher, was executed in a north Montreal parking lot. On June 24 Louis "Melou" Roy, a Nomads member and former president of the Trois Rivieres chapter went missing and is presumed dead.  


On July 7, in a brazen attack in a family restaurant, Robert Savard was gunned down while having breakfast with Normand Descoteaux. Both men are loan sharks and close associates of "Mom" Boucher. Savard died of his wounds and Descoteaux is recovering in hospital. In that shooting, a waitress got caught in the gunfire and was seriously wounded, another innocent victim of organized crime.  


These attacks are seen as direct challenges to the authority of Boucher.  


As soon as the Vancouver chapter of the Rock Machine is established, it seems likely the Bandidos will patch-over the club. The war back east will spread across the continent and possibly even to Europe where the Bandidos and the Hells Angels have had an uneasy truce for the past three years following a violent war which included bombs and missile launchers.  


The prevailing thought among the younger members of the Bandidos is that they are going to have to fight the Hells Angels sooner or later so they might as well get their alliances together and do it now before they become even more powerful. It is either that or acquiesce. And that's not an option. The Bandits are the second largest outlaw motorcycle gang in the world and control the lion's share of the methamphetamine trade. Currently, their closest chapter to Vancouver is in Ferndale, Washington, a 45-minute drive.  


RCMP Sgt. J.P. Levesque, biker intelligence expert for Criminal Intelligence Services Canada said, "We know that the Hells Angels in Canada want nothing to do with peace with the Rock Machine.  


"They want to get rid of them and that's the end of it. Before, the war was mainly isolated to Quebec, but now it's more likely to involve the rest of the Hells Angels in Canada," he predicted.  


The B.C. chapters of the Hells Angels are the richest in Canada and a significant target for the Rock Machine. The B.C. Nomads chapter is busy strengthening its numbers, recently elevating two associates to "hangaround" status.  


If the spate of drive-by shootings in our city has had you nervous, you ain't seen nothin' yet. And all of this was supposed to have been prevented with then-Justice Minister, Allan Rock's anti-gang legislation, Bill C-95, which thus far has not yielded a single successful prosecution.  


C-95 was enacted in 1997, a knee-jerk reaction to the public outcry after the death of 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers. The government was told it was unenforceable, and it has proved just that. As usual, they didn't listen.  


Meanwhile the body count is now over 150 and the war is spreading throughout the country.





Primetimecrime current headlines               Columns 2000