(Published in 24 Hours July 27, 2011)

New biker war coming in Canada


   By Leo Knight


The near-simultaneous appearance by members of the resurgent Rock Machine, wearing colours in public in Winnipeg and Montreal, set off alarm bells in police departments across the country. Winnipeg has already seen the first shots of a biker war for control and Montreal knows it is coming.

The Rock Machine – while technically not a biker gang – first emerged in Montreal in the 1980s and their growth in the drug-dealing underworld led to a war with the Hells Angels. Ultimately, 160 murders were directly attributed including the tragic death of an 11-year-old boy, collateral damage in a real shooting war among gangsters.

There was a negotiated truce in 1997 in a staged photo op at Le Bleu Marin restaurant on Crescent Street in Montreal featuring a smiling, waving Maurice “Mom” Boucher, the leader of the Hells Angels Nomads chapter. But, in reality, the war continued.

In early 2000, the diminished, battered and bloodied remnants of the Rock Machine were patched over by the Texas-based Bandidos. Some dissenting members were absorbed by the Hells Angels who themselves were crushed by police in Operation Printemps first in 200 then given the coup de grace in 2009 with Operation SharQc when 130 members and associates were arrested.

The Bandidos in Canada were essentially eliminated by their own in 2006 when eight members of the Ontario chapter were murdered by members of the Winnipeg chapter. The killers were convicted in 2009 essentially eradicating any vestige of the club in Canada.

The door then opened for the Rock Machine to move into the void created by police in Manitoba with Project Divide that took down most of the Hells Angels and their associates. The parapets were left to be guarded by a puppet gang called the Redlined Support Crew. Now, the Rock Machine seem like they are trying to muscle their way back into the core of Canada’s drug world.

Winnipeg has seen incidents of fire bombings and shootings.

In Montreal, with the murders that have decimated the Rizzuto crime family and with the Hells Angels reeling from so many arrests, the door is open for the re-emergence of the Rock Machine.

They have signaled they are prepared to walk through that door last week when several members wearing Rock Machine full patches walked into the strip club Chez Paree, a club closely associated with the Hells Angels.

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

The body count is about to start.

One can only hope there will be no more collateral damage like young Daniel Desrochers, murdered in 1995 by the Hells Angels.

But don’t bet on it.

Prime Time Crime

Columns 2011