Mass killings mean Angels win biker turf war: expert
The mass killings of bikers in southwestern Ontario on the weekend show that the biker wars have been won by the Hells Angels, says an expert in motorcycle gang activity.
Eight men were killed south of London, Ont., and found dumped in a farmer's field near Shedden on Saturday. They were all members of, or associated with, the Bandidos biker gang.
On Monday, police said they had charged five people with first-degree murder, among them Wayne Kellestine, who police say is a full member of the biker gang.
"It's not unusual for the bikers not only to take on their rivals, but to eat their own," said Julian Sher, a journalist who has written extensively on bikers and their crimes.
Police were clear in a news conference on Monday that they don't believe the killings involved any other criminal organization.
Police said the men had all been shot, and Det. Insp. Paul Beesley said they may have been killed in several locations.
- FROM APRIL 10, 2006: Five charged in biker gang killings
"The victims of this crime have been positively identified and are associated [with], or belong to, the Bandidos motorcycle gang," Det. Supt. Ross Bingley told a news conference in London.
"This is an isolated incident with ties to the Bandidos."
The Bandidos have been in a turf war with the Hells Angels for several years, and after several killings and a large number of defections, the Bandidos had apparently dwindled to about a dozen members in Ontario.
"What happened in Ontario is that Hells Angels moved in, surrounded the Bandidos, convinced several members of the Bandidos to join the Hells Angels, otherwise they'd face punishment," said Sher. "There were many attempted assassination attempts and drive-by shootings."
With the weekend's killings and Monday's arrests, the Bandidos have gone from a spent force in the province, to an extinct species.
"What these shootings show is that it's not the end of the biker war, it's that Hells Angels have won the biker war," Sher said.
Kellestine's house is located only a few kilometres from where the bodies were found. Police raided the house on Sunday, and arrested all the suspects there.
No other motorcycle gangs are being investigated, police said.
Six of the people found dead are believed to be full members of the gang. They are:
- George Jesso, 52, of Etobicoke.
- George Kriarakis, 28, of Toronto.
- Luis Manny Raposo, 41, of Toronto.
- Francesco Salerajno, 43, of Toronto.
- John Muscedere, 48, of Chatham.
- Paul Sinopoli, 30, of Sutton.
Those charged are:
- Kellestine, 56, of Dutton.
- Eric Niessen, 45, of Monkton.
- Kerry Morris, 56, of Monkton (the lone woman charged).
- Frank Mather, 32, of Dutton.
- Brett Gardiner, 21, of no known address.