column was published in the
June 16, 1999)
war looms on local horizon
By Leo Knight
that took place in Montreal last week and planned in Texas may
have a violent effect on us, here, in British Columbia.
outlaw motorcycle gang Rock Machine, which has been engaged in a
violent war for control of the lucrative drug trade in Quebec
with the Hells Angels, has been officially made a "Support
Club" of the Bandidos, one of the so-called "Big
Four" outlaw gangs in the world.
move allows Rock Machine to wear red and yellow, the colours of
the Bandidos as well as a "support Bandidos" patch on
their own "colours."
enforcement analysts say it is a prelude to the Bandidos
officially taking over the Rock Machine in a ceremony called a
on how the Rock Machine handles its new alliance and the
Bandidos needs for new supplies of money, a "patchover"
could occur within the next year.
biker investigator Mike Simpson, of the Harris County Sheriff's
Department in Houston, Texas, homebase for the Bandidos mother
chapter, said on Friday, "It's all about money and the
money derived from drugs."
to Simpson there is an uneasy peace between the Hells Angels and
1996, a shooting war broke out in Europe between affiliate
chapters of the two gangs.
the funeral of a Bandido, cut down in a hail of gunfire at the
Copenhagen International Airport, Bandidos travelled from
Australia and all over the U.S. to show support. Many wore
patches on their colours that read "God forgives. Bandidos
war raged over two years and even included a missile attack
which took several lives. Ultimately a truce was reached but
Simpson calls it a "fragile peace."
long time members of the Bandidos are against the patchover with
the Rock Machine. They believe it is just inviting an escalated
war with the Angels. But it is the younger members anxious to
increase their wealth, influence and power base who want the
alliance, come what may.
new president of the Bandidos "nation" is a relative
newcomer named George Wegers. He has been to Quebec several
times in the past year or so according to U.S. police
strong resistance between the old guard in the Bandidos and the
new blood is "likely to ignite WW III among the
Bandits," according to Simpson.
potential for an expanded war with the Hells Angels frightens
many Bandidos. The biker world is one of loyalty to a
the Angels world, they sport a tattoo that reads "AFFA"
-- Angels Forever, Forever Angels. The Bandidos have a similar
will be like putting gasoline on a open fire," said one
undercover cop who requested anonymity.
the four or so years the Rock Machine and the Hells Angels have
been fighting, the body count has climbed to over 80, including
an 11-year-old boy killed in 1995 because he was walking by a
car booby-trapped with a bomb.
officer, J.P. Levesque, who works with the Criminal Intelligence
Services Canada, believes the outlaw motorcycle gangs are the
most pervasive problem facing law enforcement today.
is convinced the situation in Quebec will not end anytime soon
and, like his counterparts in the States, is concerned about the
affiliation with the Bandidos.
a matter of respect," said Levesque. "The Angels can't
afford to lose face by giving in."
said in the week since the new arrangement had been reached
between the Rock Machine and the Bandidos, there have been two
shootings and a firebombing directly attributable to the war
between the two groups.
one incident, the founder of the Rock machine was gunned down
and in a retaliatory strike, a nightclub, said to be an Angels'
stronghold, was hit with petrol bombs.
While all of this may be interesting to you, why should you be concerned? After all the killing is being done 3,000 miles away. Isn't it?
yes, but only as things are now.
yes, but only as things are now.
the war escalates, as certainly appears to be the case, and the
"patchover" occurs, the likelihood will exist of a war
between the Angels and the Bandidos which could carry over
throughout the biker world.
Bandidos are strongest in the Southern United States. But, their
next strongest foothold is in Washington State. The nearest
chapter is in Ferndale, just a 45-minute drive from downtown
also have five chapters in the Seattle area, including Tacoma.
They are said to control the bulk of the methamphetamine trade
in the Pacific Northwest.
Hells Angels are among the richest in the biker world. The
police say they control the hydroponic marijuana markets and
routinely trade their product south of the 49th for cocaine.
all the money at stake, is it a great leap in mental gymnastics
to suppose the war in Quebec might spread here, onto our
Deputy Sheriff Simpson said, "It's all about money."
And, there is one hell of a lot of money at stake.