A new tell-all book about the inner workings of the Hells Angels was published last Friday. It is called Breaking the Code: A True Story by a Hells Angel President and the Cop Who Pursued Him. The authors are Patrick Matter and Chris Omodt. And, the big news is that apparently Pat Matter chose not to go into witness protection.
Matter was a former member of the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club who joined the Hells Angels in Minnesota, started a successful bike shop called Minneapolis Custom Cycle and was his charter’s President for 21 years. In 2003 Matter pled guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to distribute coke and crank. Allegedly, Matter was in charge of a Hells Angels drug conspiracy that sold 13 pounds of the stimulants each month from 1998 through 2001. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison, decided to get some of those years back and agreed to testify against his former club brothers. Matter later said he had been thinking about leaving the Hells Angels anyway.
Matter was particularly visible in the racketeering trial of 11 Hells Angels that resulted from the brawl between Mongols and Angels in Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin, Nevada in April 2002. Matter’s job was to convince anybody who would listen that the Angels were a criminal racket. He told jurors that most Angels were violent and heavily armed drug dealers. In open court he delivered one of the great cooperating witness lines of all time: “I’ve been snitching about things I have knowledge of,” he explained. Then he went away to prison. He ended up doing nine years. And, now he is back.
Chris Omodt, Matter’s coauthor. is a former Hennepin County (Minnesota) Sheriff who had a varied career, rose to the rank of captain, became a professor of criminal justice and has testified in court as an “outlaw motorcycle gangs expert.”
The book is told from the viewpoints of both its authors and you hardly have to read it to know what it says. It is a “true crime genre” book which dictates that Matter’s former motorcycle club must be portrayed as a criminal enterprise and the police must be portrayed as those brave few who sacrifice so much to protect society from criminals.
On the book’s Amazon page a man named Mark Reps, who is the author the “Sheriff Zeb Hanks” crime series gushes, “With no holds barred, Omodt and Matter rip back the curtain of seedy reality and toss you headlong into the complex relationships of biker gangs and the cops whose job it is to pursue them. The writing is graphic, truthful, revealing and explores both sides of the law – the right side and the wrong side – with equal detail. For lovers of true crime writing this is a must read.”
In his review of his own book, Omodt calls Breaking the Code “A Must Read for True Crime Fans.”
“Breaking The Code is unlike any other book about outlaw biker gangs I have ever read,” the co-author explains. “It brings in both the outlaw and the lawman and is told in a non-holds barred fashion. The book not only gives the inside action of the Hells Angels, it also gives insight into how the police combat groups such as the Hells Angels; having two sides of the story is a very compelling read. Matter and Omodt are honest, insightful and straightforward in their storytelling and the book reads really well. The unlikely friendship between these two men shows how little gray area there is between good and bad, between law and lawlessness. I recommend this book for any true crime fan or anyone who wants to know the inside scope of these diametrically opposed forces.”
True crime fans can find this must read on Amazon and, no doubt, elsewhere.