Former police agent Micheal Plante met with Vancouver Sun crime reporter Kim Bolan in late 2012 to tell his incredible story about infiltrating the East End chapter of the Hells Angels and helping police put 12 men behind bars. He did not disclose his new name or residence.
In part three, he laid out how his relationship with police began in July 2003, first as an informant, then later as a police agent, wearing a wire for months as Hells Angels and associates committed crimes. In part four, he describes what it was like when he was finally accepted into the Hells Angels program as an “official friend” and how difficult the final months of his dangerous assignment became.
Pictured above: Vancouver Police Det. Brad Stephen, one of Plante’s handlers throughout E-Pandora, surveys the East End HA clubhouse on East Georgia in December, 2012.
Unaware that police agent Micheal Plante was secretly collecting evidence implicating them in drug deals, extortions, and other crimes, the Hells Angels finally accepted him into their fold as an “official friend” in September 2004.
Plante was called into the weekly “church” meeting at the East End clubhouse by David (Gyrator) Giles.
“They are all looking at me. And they say: ‘Tell us why you want to be a Hells Angel,’” Plante recalled.
“I did my speech — ‘Well you know, I have been hanging around you guys. I like the camaraderie. I like what is going on around here. And I really, really want to be part of it. And I want to be part of the bigger thing.’”
Giles asked him about the fact he had studied criminology and told him he’d never be able to pursue the field again.
East End president John Bryce laid out how police would react to Plante now that he was in the program.
“Bryce said something like, ‘You are going to have a lot of heat on you now because they like to pick on us,’” Plante recalled.
Giles made a final joking comment, all captured on the wire Plante was wearing: “You are not going to, like, become a Hells Angel and then quit and write a book about us, are you?”
Plante had his photo taken with the East End chapter to commemorate the event. That photo would be circulated to all Hells Angels in Western Canada to see if any objected to the new East End recruit being part of the notorious gang.
“They gave me a pamphlet from the world headquarters of Hells Angels, right? You read it and then they took it away,” Plante said.
It reminded those entering the program that the Hells Angels owned all property imprinted with its deathhead logo.
“It was about infringement rights. It said: ‘You don’t own the vest. The Hells Angels owns the vest. If you leave the Hells Angels, you must return anything that says Hells Angels on it.’”
Sergeant-at-arms Tom Gillis told Plante he would no longer be able to wear his favoured long shorts now that he was “on the program.”
“After I got in, he said, ‘Micheal, we have a dress code. I want you to wear black jeans, black shirts, black vest.’ I said, “What about black shorts?’ He said, ‘No shorts.’”
Plante’s elevation to “official friend” was significant for the police investigation. It would give the agent the ability to get closer and closer to club business.
If things went according to plan, Plante would become a “hangaround” next, then a “prospect’” and finally a “full-patch” Hells Angel, meaning he could wear the infamous deathhead logo on his back.
An arsenal of weapons
In the fall of 2004, the RCMP kicked in the door of Randy Potts’s wife’s home, looking for precursor chemicals they had learned about from calls intercepted in E-Pandora.
Potts, who became a full-patch member that fall, was worried police might soon raid the Fraser Highway mobile home of his mom and her husband, where he had stored the East End chapter’s firearms and explosives.
In a conversation captured on wiretap, Potts told Plante to go get a hockey bag and retrieve the guns.
Plante told police what Potts had asked and then headed to a Sport Chek outlet to buy the bag.
“I thought I was picking up a couple of pistols. I didn’t know this was the East End arsenal. I always thought it was a myth,” Plante said.
When he arrived at the trailer, Potts’s stepfather saw the bag and wondered if it would be big enough.
“I go, ‘What?! How many guns do you got here?’ So we go to the back of the trailer and he opens this thing and starts pulling out machine guns and other stuff. He says, ‘Be careful, this one has got grenades.’”
Plante couldn’t believe the nonchalance of the senior citizen. He immediately called police.
“I said, ‘You are not going to believe this. I have got the whole arsenal.’”
Of course, police took the guns, which put Plante in a difficult position. For weeks afterwards, John Punko asked about the guns, saying he wanted to go out and shoot targets.
Plante and police worked up a series of excuses he could give to Punko about why he couldn’t get the guns.
“One scenario was that I got them stashed in this guy’s house and he is a long-haul driver and I don’t got the key,” Plante said. “There was one time when me and Punko were driving out to a meeting in Haney and Punko wanted to go try out a couple of those grenades.”
Plante said he thought they might blow up prematurely because they had got wet.
Both police and Plante knew he couldn’t keep up his ruse with the Angels much longer. Sooner or later, others besides Punko would confront him about the guns.
“Yes, it was getting dicey,” said Det. Brad Stephen. “And that’s when you love it. That’s where the risk is.”
Police settled on a scenario to cover the missing guns. They rented a storage locker in Abbotsford, then bought a gun locker to put inside it. They left the gun locker open, with Stephen’s business card on top.
If Potts wanted the guns, Plante was to take him to Abbotsford, then act shocked when it looked like police had raided the locker.
A beating by the UN Gang
A few days after Plante picked up the arsenal, he was downtown at Brandi’s strip club on a Friday night with some of his Angel pals, including Ronnie Lising. It was Oct. 16, 2004.
A huge United Nations gang associate, who was six-foot-nine and 450 pounds, sucker-punched Plante inside the club. None of his HA brethren was in the immediate vicinity to defend him.
“That was my first run-in with the UN guys there,” Plante said. UN boss Clay Roueche was in the club that night.
“I was on the program, so I was in the club. Ronnie should have been down there fighting with me,” Plante said, referring to Lising.
The fight continued on the street outside, with more UN guys getting involved in the beat down.
“I had a concussion … I was bleeding out my ear. Even months after, I had ringing in my head.”
Plante couldn’t get hold of police, either. He felt abandoned by everyone. He holed up at a friend’s house and didn’t answer his phone for days.
At one point, he was going to just get on his Harley and ride away, but the cold October rains made him reconsider. He missed his clubhouse duties, including security at Sunday’s church meeting.
“I was tired. I was, like, worn out. And by this time, my anxiety is getting really bad,” he said.
“The cops didn’t know where I was … The Hells Angels didn’t know where I was. They couldn’t believe I didn’t show up for church. So they are looking for me.”
He eventually went to the safe house to talk to police. They offered to increase his monthly stipend to $14,000. Plante said that was the one time during the operation that money was his primary incentive. He stayed.
But first, he had to explain himself to the Angels, and even apologize to senior Nomad Gino Zumpano because the fight happened in the club he ran. He also had to explain his disappearance to his fellow Angels.
“I had to go and eat shit for the next month – I had to go talk to everyone. I had to get yelled at by Louie (Robinson),” he said. “I had to go stand in the clubhouse, in front of every East End guy and tell my story.”
After it all, the Hells Angels told Plante and Potts to “take care of the guy that I had the problem with. We were supposed to get rid of him, like kill him,” Plante said.
The drug trafficking ramped up during Plante’s final three months as an agent in late 2004 and early 2005.
Not only had he done deals with Randy Potts, Ronnie Lising and John Punko, but he had purchased several kilos of cocaine from Jonathan Bryce Jr., son of the East End president. Two of the transactions took place in the clubhouse, a total violation of HA rules.
Plante, Bryce Jr. and Norm Cocks were all official “friends” trying to get promoted to “hangaround,” the next level in the program, which means a leather vest and a “flasher” – a small badge saying “East End.”
Throughout December 2004, Plante was called on to do extra clubhouse duties — bartending at Christmas parties, getting members drugs when they wanted to party and making sure they got home safe and sound.
Cocks was the first to get his flasher, at the Dec. 23 party to mark the chapter’s 21st anniversary. Bryce Jr. — who had been expecting his — was angry. Plante calmed him down.
Plante also tended bar on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. until 11 a.m. A week later, he did security at the Drake, as Damiano Dipopolo put on a party there.
“I worked that all night. So I have been busting my balls. I have been doing crazy stuff, right?” he said.
A few days later, he had to babysit Punko in the clubhouse when he was partying there.
“He says, ‘Mike, order some girls’ … I order these girls and the girls show up,” Plante said.
Punko ended up yelling at them and they left a few minutes later and $600 richer.
“After they left, he was angry and he cut everything. He cut pictures. He cut the wires. He cut the Christmas tree. He cut everything. He leaves – I drive him home – then I have to go back and clean up the clubhouse.”
Plante continued to be an enforcer, whom club members like Jean Violette turned to when they wanted muscle.
On Jan. 20, 2005, Violette asked Plante to come along as he and Bryce Jr. went to beat up North Vancouver drug dealer Glen Louie, who had been invoking the Hells Angels’ name with his own clientele even though he had no formal association with the bikers.
The thumps and slaps of Louie’s assault were captured on Plante’s recording device.
The next night was church. Plante was sure he would finally get his flasher.
“I am thinking, ‘If I don’t get this flasher tonight, I am out of here.’”
One Angel voted against Plante. Bryce Jr. got his.
Some of the other Angels told Plante not to worry, that he would get it in another two weeks.
“But I was done.” He couldn’t see himself taking orders from the much-younger Bryce Jr.
“Plus I had big arguments with the cops that week. We are butting heads. My anxiety was through the roof. I said, ‘I am done.’”
Even though Plante had threatened to quit before, this time the police believed him.
Tune in for Part Five in this six-part series Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.
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