"I would either kill them and get caught or be killed.". But Bill never doubted the bikers were behind it and in a display of barroom bravado he didn't hide his suspicions. All three accused Hells Angels pleaded guilty. ", And, of course, he misses the cool, hard cash, the $5,000 to $10,000 he pulled in every week from cocaine and hashish sales. At age 22, he was already a heavy drinker and had walked away from an assault charge. Like the Mersereau slayings, Mr. Chase's assassination went unsolved. He faced a domestic assault charge. He has a steady job and has stayed off the bottle for more than two years. The Mounties promised him a one-time outlay of $250,000, plus $3,000 a month for a year and new identity for him and his family. "The HA carried a lot of weight. "I was very vengeful," he says. I think a rat is somebody who gets caught: You're a rat in a cage and you do anything you can to get out of it. Bill and his Mountie handler had no illusions about the risks they were taking. Today, Bill lives as quiet a life as an ex-biker drug dealer can, somewhere in Central Canada. In a public Web posting, Mr. McCrea, the Halifax Angels boss, denounced Bill as a "drunk and convicted drug dealer . "It was something gradual, but it wasn't real in my situation until the bodies started piling up around me.". He bought cocaine and ecstasy pills from several of them and their associates on at least eight occasions. "As definitive as any Donald Trump. Randy Mersereau disappeared on Halloween night in 1999, his empty car found abandoned on the highway. Bill's motivations were life change," Cpl. Anderson had more than a dozen years of fighting the bikers behind him, including running several undercover operations and handling informers. . They drink with you, they have fun with you, but they're still a HA. "One of the first things you have to determine about an informant is: What is the person's motivation? His parents, married to this day, are hard-working folks; his brother and sister have successful careers. The club never recovered and, by the fall of 2003, it was forced to formally close its operations in Nova Scotia. Bill is in the RCMP's witness-protection program. For good reason. "I miss the perception of power when you walk into a bar -- the visibility and the adulation," says Bill, still an imposing figure at 6 feet, 230 pounds. This article was published more than 18 years ago. But Bill also feels the public had better wake up to the dangers of the bikers. Were working to restore it. "His name is not spoken out loud -- and it's not respect, it's fear," Bill says. Bill knew it was life and death.". Anderson says. Anderson says. The killers left their 18-month-old infant crying in a crib. "Maybe not every biker is a drug dealer," he says, "but they sure as hell know what their other buddies are doing.". Andersen says. Anderson says. I was concerned. Mr. Lynds got three years for offering to sell a thousand tablets of ecstasy. In May of 1999, Mr. Chase pulled his black 4x4 into his driveway on Coventry Lane in Cole Harbour, N.S., and someone pumped a gunshot through the passenger window. "I'm a firm believer in first impressions, and if you were scared of them, there's a reason you were scared of them." He called the police. He quickly adds, somewhat apologetically: "It started as strictly a bar clientele. After more than 15 years on the drug scene in Halifax, Bill became a police informant. He saw some of his partners die violent deaths. I had to prove to my wife that I was serious.". Bill's descent into crime didn't follow the stereotypical path -- no deprived childhood, no broken home. For the next 18 months, Bill stepped up his activities with the Angels. "We got three with Bill. He realized where things were going. But in Halifax, in the strip bars and after-hours clubs, he walked into a fistful of trouble. Mr. Carroll made frequent trips out east, ruling Halifax as his private fief and controlling much of the drug trade there. ", He recalls what his biker buddies once did to a friend who crossed them. Rather than being an overall history of the gang, the documentary focuses on the case of Paul Derry, a drug dealer who witnessed a murder ordered by a Hells Angels boss and who wore a wire to help the cops incriminate the killers. He recalls seeing hushed conversations between two bikers where all they had between them was a calculator. Neither his name nor location can be revealed. "I was always told the first punch is the most important one.". "If you were in their bars where they fit in, everybody liked you. "Dave Carroll through much of Nova Scotia was a much-feared man.". He knew he was heading to the same thing. He tried to go straight, doing menial jobs for a couple of years in the early 1990s, but the money wasn't there. He had seen them all: greedy down-and-outers anxious for quick cash, or desperate men facing charges and eager to snitch on their buddies to save their skin. Anderson became convinced that Bill saw becoming a police informer as a sort of one-way ticket out of hell with the bikers: "There was only one way out of the drug scene: force himself out by working for the police. But bikers and drugs are behind him now. ", "I just think the public has to know that the Hells Angels aren't a movie," he says, shaking his head. "It was easy money," he says with only a trace of wistfulness, "a lazy way to make money.". "I don't think he should ever try to be friends with them. A SOLID, workman-like documentary looking at how Canadian police managed to bring down the Hells Angels chapter that took over the drug business in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a decade ago. ", He realized his prospects were grim when he was summoned to a meeting with Mike McCrea, then Halifax chapter president, who warned him to stop bad-mouthing the club. He couldn't, he wouldn't, put his kids through it. And to be somebody who has testified [for the police]and then become a crook again, I don't think I could do it.". The judge also ordered the seizure of the bikers' clubhouse in Halifax. . And what about the young man who strolls into a bar today, much like Bill did 20 years ago, looking for some action and the excitement that comes from rubbing shoulders with the bikers? "The worst thing I ever did when they were young was count a lot of money in front of them," he says, recalling the piles of drug money he handled. He burned every bridge of that lifestyle that a person can imagine. He would, however, be handsomely paid for his troubles. "We both understood what we were chasing. Part of the RCMP's Operation Hammer, those convictions helped shatter the Nova Scotia chapter of the outlaw motorcycle gang. His wife ran out of the house screaming but her husband was already dead. He soon found work as a bouncer, but quickly moved up to jobs as a waiter, then manager -- and finally drug dealer. A fourth member of the small chapter was eventually convicted of murder in an unrelated case, leaving only three active Angels on the streets. "Bill would be the first to tell you he had a problem with the bottle," Cpl. They beat him within an inch of his life. Were sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. He was a crafty enough businessman to deal with both the Hells Angels and their local competitors, a loose-knit gang led by a former Angel named Randy Mersereau and his brother, Kirk. And dealing drugs in Halifax meant dealing with the biker crowd. I wasn't peddling it on the streets or in schools.". They arrested 20 people, including three full-patch members on drug charges -- Art Harrie, Jeff Lynds and Clay McCrea, brother of the chapter president. Like Bill, Mr. Chase had been a drug dealer close to the bikers. I think people really underestimate organized crime. If it's not in your neighbourhood, it doesn't mean it's not a problem.". Some information may no longer be current. Bill befriended some of the top bikers, including David (Wolf) Carroll, a Dartmouth boy who had moved to Montreal and became one of the powerful Quebec Nomads, the elite group surrounding Hells Angels leader Maurice (Mom) Boucher. "My children were getting to the age where they would have to start asking the question: 'What does daddy do for a living?' On Dec. 5, 2001, after the police had gathered enough evidence, they swept down on the biker clubhouse and numerous homes. "If the average citizen wants to pretend there are no Hells Angels, they can, but it's willful blindness. Bill suddenly found himself much deeper in Angel hell than he had expected. Please try again later.

For a year, he wore a body pack to record the transactions. ", After several meetings, Cpl. They are the top of the food chain," Bill says. His constant drinking upset his wife. He couldn't count to 5,000, but he could tell you how many twenties there were in $5,000.". "They're crooks. But he had never met someone quite like Bill. ", Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmailOpens in a new window. The following September, his brother, Kirk, was slain in a bloody execution at his farmhouse, along with his wife. "I think a 20-year-old kid should take that first moment that he meets a Hells Angels and he's scared and he should stay scared," Bill warns. [who]was busted growing pot twice then agreed to become an informant to save his own ass.". "It was too much money -- they were too young to understand at the time, but I knew it was going to become an issue very, very soon. By 1995, he was back in the drug business and had graduated to selling kilos of hash and 200 to 300 grams of coke a week. "You sometimes hope to hook one Angel," Cpl. It was a few grams at a time, an extra $200 to $300 a week. But, for the first time, he has emerged to tell his story as a warning to young people who, like him, are lured by the thrill of the bikers. "To keep my family, I had to do something. Cpl. If the Angels died of a thousand cuts here in Halifax, well, the last cut was three of them going to jail because of Bill." "I got into a lot of fights," he says. The two years he spent making undercover drug buys and secret electronic recordings led to the conviction of three members of the Hells Angels chapter in January, 2003. "They stuck a crutch up his ass and threw him across the room. And he was not sure he could face his two young boys. One of those bodies was that of Raymond Chase, a close friend of Bill's and the best man at his wedding. ", That's not how his former biker buddies saw it. (Mr. Carroll remains on the run, the only Quebec Nomad to escape the big police crackdown that saw Mr. Boucher and most of the top bikers in Quebec eventually jailed.). I went to the police voluntarily. But his identity and the scope of his betrayal was made clear to the bikers in the course of pretrial discovery. We're dealing with people who are killers and criminals. "You've got to know your dragon before you slay it," Cpl. "Bill was a businessman; he was in it for the money," says RCMP Corporal John Anderson, a long-time biker investigator and Bill's chief handler. ", Bill also prefers to see his decision as more redemption than ratting on his former buddies: "I don't like the word rat. "When I was a crook, I thought at least I was an honourable crook. In the end, Bill never had to testify in open court. biker motorcycle vest clubs outlaw gang patches club colors gangs untamed denim dead outlaws cut mc bike harley angels hells How do I lie for them? In 1985, Bill headed east to Nova Scotia, looking for work. Very dangerous crooks. In fact, when Bill came calling on the police he did have two outstanding criminal charges -- one for a marijuana grow-op and the domestic assault charge -- but police told him they would give him no break. On Jan. 29, 2003, Clay McCrea and Mr. Harrie were each sentenced to six years for trafficking, after pleading guilty to selling cocaine to Bill while he was acting as a police agent. He still bumps into bikers at bars, at sporting events -- but they don't know who he is. By the end of 1999, Bill's personal life was also slipping into crisis. "Even if I wanted to become a crook again, I wouldn't do it because of my family," he says, sitting in a hotel room wearing a black tracksuit, a leather ball cap and a gold chain around his neck. By 1999, a long-simmering dispute between Mr. Carroll and his rivals broke out into the open as the Angels set about ruthlessly to eliminate competition. "I wanted to know who did it. And he had the lifestyle to show for it: a $300,000 house, tens of thousands of dollars in cash on hand all the time, and an expensive drinking habit. "They were the only real game in town," he says. "He loves his family dearly. He misses the clout the most, the stature that came from being a drug dealer associated with the Hells Angels. "It was just a natural progression: I was in the bars -- working in them or drinking in them all the time," he says.
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