The deaths of Sonny Barger and Maurice Boucher indicate a change within the Hells Angels


Chances are you’ll see plenty of Hells Angels on the streets and highways this month.

Social distancing is advised.

The world’s largest outlaw motorcycle club plans to be out in force, celebrating the end of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Coincidentally, their plans closely follow the recent cancer deaths of two of the club’s flawed icons, Ralph (Sonny) Barger of Oakland, Calif., and Maurice (Mom) Boucher at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines Federal Penitentiary. , 40 years. kilometers north of Montreal.

Each in their own way, the two men represent different eras in the history of the outlaw motorcycle gang.

Barger was the first-generation modern Hells Angel who brought perhaps the most attention to the violence of 1960s outlaw life in his own books and as a character in others. He died late last month as a celebrity. He even appeared on screen occasionally, such as when he was a recurring character on the 2008-2014 show “Sons of Anarchy”, loosely based on Hells Angels history.

Perhaps more than anyone, Boucher got the Hells Angels hated. Starting the most brutal period for Canadian motorcycle gangs, he spearheaded the bloody turf war of the 1990s with the Rock Machine gang. It caused some 165 deaths, including 30 victims without any involvement in the crime. Boucher’s Hells Angels clash with police and mobs, murder prison guards and shoot a prominent Montreal journalist. At the time of his death in prison on July 10, he had been kicked out of the club – many gang members believed he had gone too far and made too much heat. Some just thought he was crazy.

Some members of the new generation of Hells Angels would not have been allowed at the time. During Barger’s heyday in the 1960s, the club was exclusively white and racist; many charters remained white-only until the 2000s. But as the club grew, the statutes were revised to make it much more ethnically diverse, opening the door to chapters in Japan, Korea, Thailand and Cambodia. According to a British Columbia-based former United Nations gang member who traveled with the Hells Angels, some of the club’s current members now belong to multi-ethnic criminal associations, like the mostly millennial Wolfpack Alliance, with ties to other organized criminal groups.

Only what the club considers “undesirable” are now prohibited. This would include police, Crown prosecutors, prison guards and crime reporters.

The younger members of the club are different in many ways from the older generation, the UN gang member said. They are more impatient and tech-savvy. They’re also more orderly – the old days of outlaw bikers produced tales of members nicknamed “Pigpen”, who reveled in things like rolling around in filth and eating mice, just to get a reaction.

Today’s Hells Angels are largely a tidy bunch with finer dining habits.

Upcoming Hells Angels activities include a tribute run from Newmarket to Toronto on Thursday, July 21, in honor of former Toronto member Robert Donald (Donny) Petersen, who died at age 74 while writing on his computer at his home in Oshawa.

This will be followed by a national race this weekend, which is a series of mandatory meetings for the 550 members of the Angels across Canada and their associates.

Approximately 200 of these members are in Ontario.

Topics of discussion could include Ronaldo Lising, 59, a longtime member of British Columbia with a strong connection to Toronto and a criminal record for drug trafficking. Someone opened fire on Lising outside her home in Burnaby, British Columbia, on July 4. Lising recovers from the attack. No arrests were made.

The fortune of Boucher’s former bodyguard, Gregory Woolley, in Quebec could also be discussed. Someone apparently mistakenly shot at the home of one of Woolley’s neighbors in his upmarket neighborhood of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in May.

Woolley, dubbed ‘the godfather of Montreal street gangs’, served time in prison in the early 2000s for a number of charges including conspiracy to commit murder, gangsterism and possession and trafficking narcotics.

Boucher helped him become the first full black Hells Angel in Canada.

The toll for Boucher’s feud with rival Rock Machine could have been far higher.

In August 1996, a van loaded with 181 kilograms of explosives failed to explode next to the Montreal Rock Machine pavilion. The following October, police discovered 130 sticks of dynamite hidden in a defense attorney’s conference room, where several Rock Machine members were to gather.

Boucher then seemed to be everywhere. He was nicknamed “Mom” because he pestered people to pay attention to details, much like an overbearing mother.

Like Barger, Boucher was a school dropout with a difficult upbringing; he spent his adolescence in a haze of hashish, LSD, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and valium.

After some time with the SS motorcycle gang, which disbanded in 1984, he drifted to Sorel, Quebec, the Hells Angels chapter, the first Angels chapter in Canada.

The Quebec Angels were banned from using cocaine, on pain of death, and Boucher therefore quit the drug all at once.

As head of the elite Nomads Chapter, he decided to attack the justice system head-on. This meant pushing members to kill prison guards, crown prosecutors, judges and police – all crimes for which there was a mandatory life sentence. That way, he reasoned, there was little chance they would become informants.

During this time, he traveled to Mexico and tightened ties there with the cocaine cartels.

In the summer of 2002, Boucher was tried for the murders of prison guards Diane Lavigne, mother of two, and Pierre Rondeau and the attempted murder of guard Robert Corriveau in 1997. The star witness against him was the Angels killer , Stephane Gagne.

Gagné’s testimony helped prosecutors sentence Boucher to a life sentence.

While in custody, Boucher was stabbed by a Native gang member, upset that he was not allowed into the Hells Angels. The assailant was beaten and stabbed by Boucher supporters.

Still in prison, Boucher was sentenced to another 10 years for plotting the murder of mob boss Raynald Desjardins, who was a key figure in the late Vito Rizzuto’s mafia organization.

Behind bars, Boucher was quietly expelled from the club in 2014, the Journal de Montreal reported.

Asked about Canada’s bloody biker wars in a June 2000 interview with the Star, Barger admitted, “I read about it from time to time,” but added, “I don’t quite believe what I Lily.

Barger said he was upset his criminal record barred him from crossing Canada: “You can take Canada and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine as far as I’m concerned.”

He spoke on the phone in a soft, low, deep voice, made hoarse by throat cancer which led to the surgical removal of his voice box.

He had just co-authored a book called “Hell’s Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.”

It describes whipping people while crushing their hands in vices, and why it is more effective for three people to trample an enemy than four, five, or six. (Added stompers tend to get in the way, as do additional editors.)

Three pages of the book list his criminal record for things like kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and racketeering. He served 13 years in prison, according to dispatches.

Still, he seemed surprised when asked if he was an angry person.

“When I fight, I’m calm,” he said. “When you’re excited, you get beaten up.”

He spoke wistfully of almost daily fights as a child.

“It’s something kids don’t do anymore,” he says. “(Now) they are shooting each other.”

He also spoke about the most notorious episode of the Hells Angels at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway in 1969. It was then that a Hells Angel stabbed a fan to death after the Angels were hired to perform security in exchange for $500 in beer and front row seats. Barger was there that night when, in the eyes of many writers, hippie culture died an agonizing death.

Some reports say he pointed a gun at guitarist Keith Richards.

Star’s interview turned to religion – perhaps because of the name of his club.

Does he believe in life after death? “We are all basically dead. This is the end, as far as I know.

Boucher and Barger had this fatalism in common. Boucher composed funeral cards while in custody, with the date of death left open.

Barger announced his own death on Facebook on June 29, through his company, Sonny Barger Productions. He was 83 years old.

Boucher died in prison on July 11. He had throat cancer. He was 69 years old.


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