In order to understand the biker problems, you have to know the bikers. It’s not enough to rattle of a bunch of funny names like the “Sex Foxes” and the “Peckerwoods”, and then conclude, “Well there you have it – The Bikers!”. Which bikers, specifically. And where and when, specifically. It is one thing to say, “Well, the bikers were probably peddling drugs in the local schools and colleges”, quite another to have a government report that documents, from town-to-town this activity.
So for an example, we know from the CECO report that the bikers in St. Gedeon region in the 1970s, were the Missiles. And we know their names, because CECO tells us their names:
- Luc Michaud “Bardot”
- Michel Guénard “Canard”
- Richard Poudrier “Filtreur”
- Guy Cossette “Souris”
- Jerry Coulombe “Le Chat”
- Jocelyn GIrard “Le ‘Prof”
- Marcel Blackburn ”Polpon”
- Jean-Yves Tremblay “Bebé”
- Gaétan Lavole “Yeti”
- Roland Cousineau “Mannix”
- Alain Girard “L’Ours”
We also know that in 1976, before the start of the Olympic Games, Montrealers Jocelyne Beaudoin and Renée Lessard set out on a camping adventure to the Saguenay, and one of their last confirmed sightings was at Saint Gedeon. In fact they were thought to be seen in the company of bikers near Riviere du Loup, and one of the theories is that Beaudoin and Lessard were murdered by bikers.
So 46 years later the murders are still unsolved. And Quebec has a cold case unit. And the theory was bikers, and we have these names of people known to be bikers in that era. Wouldn’t the sensible thing to do would be to track down these names, to figure out who is dead and who is still alive, and interview or re-interview these people? Listen, I know the argument, ‘John, it’s desperate, it’s looking for a needle in a haystack.’ Well, yes and no. No, because it’s Quebec, little changes there – your haystack is not that big, and the needle is more of an awl. Yes, it seems desperate – decades have past, people are dead or close to it, what’s the point? The point is Quebec set up cold case units to fulfill exactly this mandate. It doesn’t matter that it’s difficult, go do what the public resourced you to accomplish.
The following is the chapter of biker gangs in Sherbrooke from the 1980 CECO report, The Biker Gangs of Quebec. And you can see that when we are talking about biker gangs in the 1970s in Sherbrooke we are mostly talking about two groups: the Atoms (Atomes) and the Gitans (Gypsies):
“Bikers of Sherbrooke
In Sherbrooke, the activities of two motorcycle clubs drew our attention. We held in camera hearings between June 18 and October 18, 1979: in 14 sessions, 47 witnesses were heard and 104 exhibits produced.
From the start of the hearings, there was a great deal of acceleration among motorcyclists in Sherbrooke and the surrounding area. But our work has enabled us to better understand the extent of the phenomenon, to analyze the numerous allegations of crimes and finally to recommend to the Attorney General that charges be brought against individuals.
In Sherbrooke, the “Gypsies” and the “Atoms” share the same territory, which has given rise to deadly conflicts between the two clubs.
Thus, during 1973-74, when the two factions were heavily armed, there were frequent scuffles, several bloody ones. There were six murders during this troubled period.
Finally, at the beginning of the year 1975, during a meeting of the presidents of the “Gypsies” and of the “Atoms” as well as their deputies, we succeeded in finding a modus vivendi. The two clubs now manage to co-exist smoothly although there is still enmity between “Gypsies” and “Atoms”.
Before 1970, the “Gypsies” were called the “Dirty Reich”. The club was then led by a denounced Jacques Filteau “Boubou”. He is still the leader, even if officially it is Georges Beaulieu “Bo-Boy” who calls himself president. The “Gitans” club had about twenty members at the time of the club wars, and now about fifteen, whose names are:
- Georges Beaulieu “Bo-Boy” (president)
- Jacques Filteau “Boubou” (the one who rules all)
- Claude Filteau “Vic” or “Victor”
- Charles Filteau “Cash”
- Andre Jacob “Dede”
- Jacques Emond “Israel”
- Pierre Auclair “Sapeur” or “Sap”
- Daniel Drouin “Dan”
- Yvon Tanguay “Bagosse”
- Guy Auclair “Junior”
- Robert Tremblay “Couleuvre”
- Ludger Gagnon “Buck”
- Gaetan Berger “Ti-Coun”
- Yves Savoie “Ballotte”
- Real Lesperance “Yogi”
Hostilities between the “Gitans” and the “Atoms” arose with the arrival, in the sector, of a man named Yves Buteau “The Boss” who liaised with the “Popeyes” of Montreal, who have since become ” Hell’s Angels “.
Buteau was a member of the” Hell’s Angels “with whom he never failed the occasion to support the “Gitans”. There are also two “Popeyes”, Maurice Auqer “Le Grec” and MicheI Roy who were suppliers of weapons to the “Gitans” and even to the “Atoms”.
These two clubs have always been heavily armed with rifles, revolvers, and military weapons.
The “Gitans” displayed their harshness through repulsive and ragged exteriors. One of theirs described some sordid initiation sessions to us.
Another witness informed us about the lifestyle of the “Gitans” at 584 rue Montreal, in Sherbrooke. Despite complaints from neighbors, the building owner was unable to drive them away.
These bikers behave like the “Gitans”. They occupy a room, rented by Daniel Carrier “Le Jeune”, rue Wellngton, in Sherbrooke. The Immediate neighbors sought to move away from them.
The “Atomes” have 13 members. Their president, Réjean Gilbert, seeks harmony between the biker clubs of Estrie. Here are their names:
- Rejean Gilbert “Farmer” (president)
- Rejean Adams “Adam” (vice-president)
- Ronald Sigouin “Big”
- Yvon Lecours “Castro”
- Daniel Lincourt “Beone”
- Daniel Carrier “Le Jeune”
- Michel Fortier “Ballon”
- Alyre Grondin
- Regis Lachance “Chinois”
- Christina Lecours “Kiki”
- Jacques Lecours “Coco”
- Christian Therrien “Boucane”
- Jacques Leclerc “Festus”
“Gitans” and the “Atoms” are especially preoccupied with drugs, the trade of which gives rise to many crimes.
From 1976 to 1979, the “Gitans” took control of a licensed establishment located in Rock Forest. They terrorized the owners, their employees, even their children. The bartender had to turn a blind eye to the drug trade in the establishment or face reprisals.
The “Gitans” are so masters of the place that they themselves filter the customers. They forbade access, for example, to citizens who displeased them and to people of black races.
Witnesses described to us the drug circuit among the “Gitans”, the sources of supply and the networks of “pushers” who were busy in particular at the Bistro and at the Hôtel Gaspé, in Sherbrooke.
A student admitted his activities of “pusher” on behalf of the “Gitans”. He supplied the children of the Montcalm school, and the young strollers of the rue Wellington, in Sherbrooke. As for its suppliers, they operated in two discotheques, Le “Pharre” and le “Triolet” by selling “pot” for $30.00 an ounce.
The same student was taking delivery of the drugs from a bar in Rock Forest where one of the “Gitans” was permanently present, seven days a week.
Two “Gitans” assaulted those who objected to their business. Another individual admitted to having sold drugs for the “Gitans” at the beginning of 1976. One day, when he was trying to get a clientele, at the Moulin Rouge at the Hotel Gaspé, with the agreement of the “Gitans”, he was beaten by bikers, members of the “Marauders” club of Asbestos. They even shot him in another circumstance: he had entered the territory already served by the “Marauders” of Asbestos. He had to cease his activities.
The “Gitans” also got their supplies of narcotics from the “Hell’s”, given their close relations with Yves Buteau “Le Boss” and Yves Bilodeau “Gorille”. A biker revealed the tricks used to outsmart customs officials and police officers, during the transport of drugs.
According to the treasurer of the “Gitans”, the club’s business is booming: a loan of $10,000.00 had even been granted to a merchant in Sherbrooke.
Selling narcotics in nightclubs and billiard halls paid off big every night.
A Waterville hotelier had to close his establishment following the trouble he caused the “Gitans”. They would consume drugs on the spot, sometimes at the same time as members of the “Atoms”, which caused fights and helped to drive out the regular clientele.
So many witnesses have convinced us that bikers from the “Atoms” club have raped minors and infected them, that we ask the police to complete their investigations so that the suspects answer for their acts in court.
A 16-year-old drugged girl was sexually assaulted. In this circumstance, a biker would have sold her for money to members of the club.
Another minor, under the threat of a beating, had to have sex in front of bikers. She would then have contracted a venereal disease. She told us that all the girls who had relations with a biker she named were also infected.
Another young girl was forced to be sexually assaulted by seven “Atoms” bikers that same night, under threat of beatings.
Several other minors were trained in the biker room to be abused.
Allegations of Crimes
Some witnesses recounted a certain number of crimes for which the police forces are working to complete the necessary proof:
A) In 1978, two bikers allegedly stole a considerable number of motorcycles which they were immediately reselling;
B) two bikers attacked homosexuals they were attracting and then robed them;
C) assault, stabbing, August 2, 1978, in Magog;
D) in 1976, theft of $ 30,000.00 at Farbstein, and $ 40,000.00 at Electrolux;
E) Young people stole Social Welfare checks from letter boxes on behalf of “Gitans” who had them cashed in the bank by young girls;
F) three motorcyclists specialized in theft of safes, they would have succeeded in about thirty;
G) at the “Gitans” club, we found about a hundred forms: birth certificates, driver’s licenses, registrations and credit cards that were sold for between $ 25.00 and $ 100.00.
On the whole, the police force of the city of Sherbrooke was up to the situation, especially during the last two years preceding this investigation.
To this end, the patrollers joined forces, organized regular visits to biker premises, and carried out frequent checks on the road. Some police officers have received threats. The authorities of the city of Sherbrooke have passed a by-law banning motorcycles on Wellington Street, a favorite spot for bikers for drug trafficking.
The small number of charges that the Commission can recommend is due on the one hand to the fact that a large number of criminal acts were not reported to the police in a timely manner, and on the other struck by fear of reprisals from victims and witnesses, as well as by the law of silence among bikers.”
That was the synopsis of the Atomes and Gitans in 1970s Sherbrooke. One of the first things we learn is that the headquarters of the Gitans was at 584 rue Montreal. That is an interesting location, it’s just off Belvedere in Sherbrooke, and about a 5 minute walk from the headquarters of the Sherbrooke Hussars, where Luc Gregoire may have worked, where Louise Camirand definitely worked. We also learn that the Atomes were not far away, “They occupied a room, rented by Daniel Carrier “Le Jeune”, rue Wellngton”, about a 15 minute walk from the Gitans HQ. This is the neighborhood where Luc Gregoire was living in 1981, when he committed a rape in a downtown parking lot off Belvedere ( during the same period, he robbed a gas station on rue Wellington, but we are getting ahead of ourselves).
By 1980 it appears that The Gitans were asserting dominance over The Atomes. They were supplied by The Hells Angels out of Montreal; they controlled establishments in Rock Forest (we’ve heard that name before), they supplied drugs to a high school three minutes away, the Ecole Mitchell Montcalm up on Portland ( the high school Gregoire was thought to attend), and both groups vie for control of the drug trade among the clubs in downtown Sherbrooke, places like The Bistro, Le Pharre, Le Triolet and The Moulin Rouge along the Wellington corridor. We also learn of biker activity in the remote town of Waterville ( a curiosity we will get to later). Finally we learn that the bikers frequently smuggled drugs across the Canadian – U.S. border, so it was not only the St. Lawrence ports that were supplying the drug trade.
A lot of names are catalogued here. We won’t go into every name, though we will spend some time on one of them very shortly, the Gitans president, Georges Beaulieu – sometimes referred to as “Bo-Boy” or “Boy-Boy”. And, who knows? With some of these characters, we might discover things as we make our journey here.
To sum up, it appeared that Bikers controlled all criminal elements in Sherbrooke; they were running drugs into the schools, they were heavily armed with military weapons, they brutalized woman at will, yet the CECO report – Marc Andre Bedard’s report on behalf of the Quebec Government – concluded that police were doing a good job and “up to the situation”, demonstrated by the passage of a by-law banning motorcycles from city streets.