Monday, April 10, 2006

Five charged in murders of eight Bandidos bikers

This report was given on CTV local News at 6 p.m. this evening. The authorities tell us that public security HAS NOT been compromised at this time. But like any given location, one must be mindful of those around you and in your neighborhoods. Organized crime is a problem and violent act such as this are just cause for the public to call the authorities to make sure that Canadian's as well as any other residents are safe. Violent activity by organized criminal groups will not be tolerated in our cities.

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Here is the report below from CTV News

By CTV news staff

Police have charged five people with first-degree murder in connection with the killings of eight Bandidos motorcycle gang members or associates in rural southwest Ontario.

"The victims of this crime have been positively identified and are associated or belong to the Bandidos motorcycle gang," OPP Det.-Supt. Ross Bingley told reporters Monday afternoon. "This is an isolated incident with ties to the Bandidos.''

Det.-Insp. Don Bell described the shootings as an "internal cleansing" within the gang, and that the general public had little to fear.

The victims died of gunshot wounds, Bingley said.

The details come the day after witnesses reported seeing police march four people out of a house in Iona Station, Ont., according to The Canadian Press. The house is located about five kilometres from where the bodies were found Saturday near Shedden, Ont.

On Sunday, police raided a home believed to belong to Wayne Kellestine, who is the former leader of the St. Thomas Annihilators and now-defunct St. Thomas Loners biker gangs.

Kellestine is one of the five people arrested, Bingley said. However, he is the only formally recognized member of the Bandidos arrested, police said Monday.

The others arrested are:

  • Erick Niessen, 45, and Kerry Morris, 56, both of Monkton, Ont.
  • Frank Mather, 32, Sutton-Dunwich Township, Ont.
  • Brett Gardiner, 21, no fixed address

Victims knew each other

The full-patch Bandidos among the dead are:

  • George Jesso, 52, of Etobicoke;
  • George Kriarakis, 28, Luis Manny Raposo, 41, and Francesco Salerajno, 43, of Toronto;
  • John Muscedere, 48, of Chatham, Ont.; and
  • Paul Sinopoli, 30, of Sutton, Ont.

Also killed:

  • Jamie Flanz, 37, of Keswick, Ont., a "prospect" member, and
  • Michael Trotta, 31, of Mississauga, Ont., an associate member.

Three members of the Bandidos motorcycle club were reported missing by relatives Friday, according to a report published Monday in The Globe and Mail.

One of the men worked for Superior Towing, the Toronto-based company whose truck was found abandoned on a side road south of London, Ont.

The area where the bodies were found, in Elgin County, west of London, has a history of violent confrontations between rival motorcycle clubs.

In October 1999, Kellestine himself was wounded in a shootout near Highway 401, in what is believed to be the result of a rift inside one of the gangs, CP reported.

The murder scene

Investigators believe the killings took place sometime within a 24- to 48-hour period from the time the victims were found.

The men were found in four vehicles: a grey Pontiac Grand Prix, a silver Infinity SUV, a green Silverado tow truck and a Volkswagen Golf.

Police escorted members of the media beyond barricades for a closer look at the area where the cars were found, but there was little left to see. The bodies and vehicles were removed overnight.

An aerial view of the crime scene Saturday showed the vehicles parked within 200 metres of each other, with the bodies still inside.

Police will keep the crime scene off-limits for at least several days while investigators comb the area for clues.

"Clothing, identification, any evidence that may help us ascertain who they are," OPP Cst. Doug Graham said.

"We wouldn't want the farm owner to encounter (evidence), or anyone from the public," Graham said.

Meanwhile, the Hells Angels denied any involvement.

"The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, or any of its members, are not involved in this crime in any way, shape or form,'' the group said in a statement on www.realdealnews.com, which links to its Toronto chapter's website.

"Newspaper reports and speculation to the contrary will be proved completely wrong in the coming days.''

Biker war?

Julian Sher, an investigative journalist who has written two books on bikers, said there is a long-standing hatred between the Bandidos and the Hells Angels.

However, if any of the victims are confirmed to be bikers, it does not mean that the Hells Angels had anything to do with the killings, he said.

"This could be another gang who killed these members of the Bandidos, if that's who they are," Sher told CTV Newsnet prior to the OPP announcement. "It could be an internal cleansing."

The Bandidos are a Texas-based group of about 800 members. It is smaller than the Hells Angels, which is the world's largest biker gang, but Sher says the Bandidos have always been more "in your face."

"Their slogan on their Canadian website is: 'We are the people your parents warned you about.'

"Very tough, but never able to take a foothold in Canada because the Hells Angels -- through a combination of bribes, bluster and often bullets -- have always crushed them," said Sher.

With files from CTV's Denelle Balfour and The Canadian Press

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