Friday, December 05, 2008

This Day in Canadian History

December 5, 1997 - Maurice "Mom" Boucher charged with murder of two prison guards

For many years, Biker gang activity proved to be quite the preoccupation for law enforcement in Quebec.

A six-year war between Hells Angels and the Rock Machine between 1994 and 2000 (when the Rock Machine was "patched in" to the Banditos) left 163 people dead and countless wounded.

On December 5, 1997 Maurice "Mom" Boucher was arrested under suspicion of planning the murder of two Quebec prison guards. He would escape trial without a conviction less than a year later.

Yet Boucher could just as easily have been a member of the Rock Machine. The defining event in Boucher's criminal career is enshrined in Biker history as the Lennoxville Massacre.

The Lennoxville Massacre also led to the ultimate formation of the Rock Machine.

The events of the Lennoxville Massacre began to take shape when Rejean "Zig Zag" Lessard, the President of the Hells Angels Chapter in Sorel, Quebec, finally lost patience with the Angels chapter in Laval.

Known as "North Chapter" and including the notorious Yves "Apache" Trudeau amongst its members, the Laval chapter had grown lax in its collection of up to $60,000 in monies owed and was partaking excessively in its own cocaine.

Lessard had made a decision -- North Chapter was to be closed. In a meeting with the Presidents of the Halifax and Sherbrooke Chapters of the Hells Angels, Lessard denounced Trudeau and North Chapter as a disgrace. A vote was called, and a decision made: two members of North Chapter would be forcibly retired and two more would be allowed to join the Sorel Chapter. The rest were to be killed.

Trudeau would soon check himself into rehab in Oka. He would later remark that he had "seen what was coming".

A plan was quickly put together. Robert "Ti-Maige" Richard, the enforcer of Sorel chapter, invited the members of Lavel, Sherbrooke and Halifax Chapters to a party in Sherbrooke.

The party was to take place on March 23, 1985. However, only half of Laval chapter showed up. The party was improvised, but Lessard announced that "Church" -- Hell's Angels jargon for a meeting -- would be the held the next day, and that attendance was mandatory. At 2:30 on March 24, 1985, when the members of North Chapter arrived for Church, the massacre began.

Five members of North Chapter were killed: Laurent "L'Anglais" Viau, Jean-Pierre "Matt le Crosseur" Mathieu, Michel "Willie" Mayrand, Jean-Guy "Brutus" Geoffrion, and Guy-Louis "Chop" Adem.

Three of the North Chapter members present -- Gilles "Le Nez" Lachance, Yvon "Le Pere" Bilodeau, and Richard "Bert" Mayrand -- were spared. Of them, Lachance was offered membership in Sorel Chapter. He accepted.

Michel "Jinx" Genest, absent from the meeting, was also offered membership in Sorel chapter. He, too, accepted.

Trudeau was dishonourably discharged from the Hells Angels.

North Chapter's clubhouse was looted for any valuables it contained. These were presented to Vancouver Chapter as a gift in order to placate the West Coast Angels.

Trudeau's motorcycle was also taken, but he was offered it back in return for the murder of two individuals: Ginette "La Jument" Henri -- North Chapter's accountant and "Matt le crosseur"'s girlfriend -- and Jean-Marc "Le Grande Guele" Deniger. He would complete both jobs, but would have to tip off reporters from Le Journal de Montreal before he could collect his bike -- the Hell's Angels rely on media coverage for kill confirmation.

The liquidation of North Chapter sent shockwaves through the biker movement. The Outlaws were emboldened by the act. They distributed crude hand-drawn leaflets denouncing the Angels for the killing of their own members, attended public events in full colours, and even bought a farm in Dundee, Quebec where they planned to throw a party involving members of American chapters. Before any party could actually occur the Surete du Quebec raided the farm, finding hand guns, handgrenades and dynamite. However, no significant arrests were made.

The clubhouse in Sherbrooke had been wiretapped. Armed with knowledge that five Hells Angels were missing and suspicious activity on behalf of the Sherbrooke Angels, the Surete du Quebec raided the building, but only a small amount of drugs were found -- no serious arrests were made.

Yves Trudeau was eventually arrested on weapons charges. Amidst published rumours that he was to be Laval chapter's next target, Trudeau turned state's evidence and testified against Sorel chapter. Fearful for their own safety, Gerry "Le Chat" Coulombe and the previously-spared Gilles Lachance also turned informant.

17 members would be charged with murder.

Halifax chapter ran into its own woes. All eight full-patch members of that Chapter would be arrested when getting too ham-fisted with a local prostitute led to her testifying against the chapter. Each member would recieve a one-year prison sentence.

Faced with the need to keep at least six full-patch members in chapter in order to avoid a (possibly permanent) suspension by Angels Brass. Six members from Vancouver chapter would be flown in at a time -- on two week shifts -- in order to prevent this.

The liquidation of North Chapter also stirred up defiance in the SS, a Nazi-themed biker gang affiliated with the Hells Angels. Unwilling to continue associating with the Angels, Giovanni and Salvatore Cazzetta left the SS to form Rock Machine.

They would be joined by fellow SS members Fred Faucher, Paul "Sasquatch" Porter, Andre "Curly" Saugeau.

Disaffected members of other gangs -- such as Real "Tintin" Dupont, a former Condor (a quiet, efficient gang respected by the HA), whose bar was bombed by a member of his own gang.

They also attempted to recruit an SS member who had been in prison at the time of the closing of North chapter: the infamous Maurice "Mom" Boucher.

By 1994, however, things had changed. The Hells Angels ran the Outlaws out of Quebec, leaving no other threat to their control over the province other than Rock Machine.

With the Cazzettas both in prison -- stemming from separate drug-smuggling charges -- Boucher judged the Rock Machine to be vulnerable.

The ensuing biker war would change the face of the Quebec criminal underworld. However, it would receive remarkably little international press coverage due to an even more intense biker war in Chicago between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws.

Without the liquidation of North Chapter, there would have been no Rock Machine. Without Rock Machine, Maurice Boucher would have never joined the Hell's Angels and significant portions of the history of Canada's biker underworld would never have come to fruition.

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