Calgary

Michael Roberto warns kids from prison to steer clear of gangs

Gangster, drug dealer, murderer, rat. Now Michael Roberto can add "advocate" to roles he's played.

'There's no love, there's no loyalty ... it's all phoney,' says confessed killer of gang lifestyle

Michael Roberto talks about drugs, gangs and murder

7 years ago
Duration 6:31
The convicted gang member pleaded guilty in the 2009 triple murder at the Bolsa restaurant. His first-hand account of gang life and a warning to youth can be seen at the Calgary Police's new interpretive centre

Gangster, drug dealer, murderer, rat.

Now Michael Roberto can add "advocate" to roles he's played. The confessed killer was once a member of the FOB — one of the most violent criminal organizations in Calgary's history.

"My advice would be to stay far away from these people," said Roberto of his former associates in a video that plays at the new interpretive centre at the Calgary police headquarters.

It's a message acting Supt. Cliff O'Brien hopes the Grade 6 students, and anyone else who visits the centre, will hear loud and clear.

"Hopefully what it does is dispel this Hollywood myth that gangs and organized crime is somehow glamorous or sexy," said O'Brien.

In the public service announcement, Roberto speaks of the violent lifestyle that kept him looking over his shoulder every day.

FOB vs. FK gangs 

It started, he says, as a group of friends who grew up together and began selling drugs. 

Confessed killer Michael Roberto is speaking out with the hope that kids stay away from the gang lifestyle.

"We broke off into two factions and we started fighting each other," said Roberto. "As it progressed, it got more violent. We got bigger, became a gang."

The war between the FOB and FK gangs hit a fever pitch in 2009 with the Bolsa Restaurant triple murder, which Roberto has admitted a role in.

By then, the two groups were credited with at least 25 murders in just seven years.

Roberto is now serving a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty to reduced charges in exchange for his co-operation with police and prosecutors.

He pleaded guilty to committing murder for the benefit of or in association with a criminal organization, conspiring to commit murder and discharging a firearm.

Three people died in a shooting at the Bolsa Restaurant on New Year's Day in 2009.

No loyalty

The videos weren't part of the plea agreement, according to O'Brien. Roberto simply agreed to participate as a public service.

"In retrospect — especially after watching their friends get murdered, especially living in fear for many, many years and now in jail — they actually want to come forward and help the police and help the community and help kids," said O'Brien.

For Roberto, hindsight has provided a clarity on his former lifestyle and relationships. He'll be testifying against former friends — men he once considered family.

"If you're looking for family, you're looking in the wrong places," said Roberto. "They might talk about brotherhood and family, but those are a lie. Everyone's in it for themselves. They don't care about you.

"There's no love, there's no loyalty ... it's all phoney."

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