Yves Lavigne’s career has been saved. Many, many members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club were arrested in at least three countries this morning, so you are probably going to see Monsieur Lavigne on the news tonight.
Lavigne knows everything about the Hells Angels. He may know everything about motorcycle clubs. Well, he may not exactly know what a petcock is and how you turn one on and off but he probably knows everything else.
“Biker expert” Lavigne, according to his American publisher, is the author of “the national bestsellers Hells Angels, Into the Abyss, and Hells Angels at War.” A few years ago Salon.com called them “atrociously written informant-based reports.”
But Lavigne is, by consensus, an “authority,” he has really competent representation and he seems to own a great collection of biker clichés written down on index cards. So there is a good chance you are going to see him tonight, probably about 40 seconds after Charlie Gibson or Katie Couric intros a piece about “major arrests in an international drug syndicate.”
Mounties Get Their Men
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local police arrested and detained 156 people in Quebec, New Brunswick, the Dominican Republic and France. One hundred-eleven patched Angels, which is virtually every Angel in Quebec, has been rounded up. The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting that arrests have also been made in the United States and Mexico.
Five Hells Angels clubhouses in Quebec have been “seized.” The clubhouses belong to the charters in Longueuil, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Trois Rivières and Sorel.
A Canadian police spokesman has announced that the detainees will be charged with crimes including 22 murders, conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and something called “gangsterism.” Perhaps in France, the Angels will be accused of drinking California wine. In Dominica, they are accused of associating with members of a local club called the Barracos in the towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete.
The arrests are the culmination of a three-year-long investigation by 200 Canadian cops. And, of course, the investigation had a cute, television friendly code name: “Operation SharQC.”
Besides murdering people, perhaps as long as 20 years ago, the suspects are accused of being part of a conspiracy to illegally smuggle cigarettes into Canada. RCMP spokesman Luc Bessette stood in front of a table heaped with cartons of cigarettes this morning and told a rapt audience of reporters “It is not trivial to buy illegal cigarettes. Your money goes directly into the pockets of criminals.”
Renowned “biker expert” Julian Sher, whose name is on the cover of the books Angels of Death and The Road To Hell has already described the arrests as a “huge, huge blow” to the Hells Angels that will have a “devastating impact” on their image. So, that probably means Lavigne will be the next expert to speak. Maybe he will even be able to get another book out of this,