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 one of Bolan’s six-part series, Plante described his early life and how he came up with the plan to get close to the Angels. In part two, Plante talks about how he was able to use his connections as a bouncer to befriend associates of the East End Hells Angels and work his way into the legendary clubhouse.
How does a regular guy set out to infiltrate the Hells Angels on his own?
Micheal Plante decided the first thing he should do was go buy support shirts at Hi-Way Choppers, a Burnaby motorcycle shop owned by John Bryce, president of the Hells Angels’ East End chapter.
Support shirts have slogans indicating the wearer’s enthusiasm for the Hells Angels.
Some say “Support East End” or “Support Nomads,” specifying a certain chapter. Others say, “Support the Red and White,” another phrase that refers to the Hells Angels.
Plante would wear one of his new shirts a couple of times a week to Fitness Quest, a gym then located near Sixth and Cambie – just two blocks from the Vancouver police station.
He knew from a friend that lots of Hells Angels and their associates worked out there, including John Punko, Ronnie Lising, Juel Stanton and a man named Caine Munoz, who along with Lising had recently been convicted of trafficking cocaine.
Plante became friendly with the people he met at the gym, but he was hardly getting close. Things got easier when he was offered a job in late 2001 at the Marble Arch, the Richards Street strip club in which two East End Angels had been caught selling coke.
“Nothing was really happening through the gym,” Plante recalled. “The Marble Arch is where it all went down.”
Hells Angels frequented the Marble Arch and Plante soon started seeing people he knew back in his days as a bouncer at the Burnaby nightclub Coconuts.
A biker associate came in one night, totally drunk and on a rampage. The same man had terrorized strippers at the Cecil Hotel, who all worked for Louie Robinson, then a senior East End Angel and half-brother to Bryce.
“I grabbed him and said, ‘Get the hell out of here.’ I threw him out,” Plante said of the troublemaker. “I guess they heard – because things travel – ‘Oh yeah, there is a doorman at the Arch who slapped him on the head and threw him out the back door.’”
Robinson came by to say he was grateful.
“What built the myth of Mike the doorman was when Louie Robinson and Randy Potts walked in the next night,” Plante said.
Robinson rarely went to downtown hot spots. “For Louie to walk into a bar, holy shit, right?”
At first Potts, who had started the formal program to become a Hells Angel, didn’t recognize his old friend from the Dell Hotel in Surrey, where Plante had been a bouncer in the early ’90s. But when he did, he filled Robinson in on Plante’s history and said they all had to get together.
“And that was the beginning of my infiltration of the East End Hells Angels. From there, Randy and I started working out at Fitness Quest,” Plante said.
When the gym sessions began, Potts wanted steroids to get bigger faster. Plante obliged. He had always shared steroids with his bodybuilding pals.
But then Potts began working out at the East End clubhouse at 3598 East Georgia.
The next time Plante saw Potts, he asked him why he wasn’t coming to the gym anymore.
“He says he is working out with Louie and then he goes, ‘Yeah, Louie wants to meet you,’” Plante recalled. “So Louie comes to the Marble Arch again on a Friday night now in front of everybody. And he sees me and this is a big thing — in front of all these people who work in this bar — him and I go have a meeting and we shake hands.”
Robinson asked for Plante’s help with his workout program. And that’s how the would-be police agent would make his way into the inner sanctum.
“He was a clubhouse guy,” Plante said of Robinson. “He was Hells Angel 100 per cent. They love their clubhouse. They love it. That’s the place. That’s their place. Out of 24 hours, Louie was probably there 18 hours a day.”
Inside the clubhouse
The Marble Arch was sold in mid-February 2002 and the new owner said there would no longer be strippers. He closed it to renovate. Plante was out of a job. Suddenly he had lots of time to spend with his new biker friends.
Robinson invited him out to dinner at the Kobe Steakhouse. Afterwards it was drinks at Brandi’s, the downtown strip club that would become the scene of brawls between bikers and United Nations gang members.
Plante couldn’t believe it when he got to walk right into Brandi’s wearing his trademark long shorts because he was with Robinson.
“Everyone is in their suits and ties. I show up in my shorts. They are not going to tell Louie’s friend anything. Nobody said no to that guy.”
Within a week or two, he was finally in the clubhouse.
“I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Whoa, f–k.’ You look around and you see all the Hells Angels stuff,” he said. “OK, so this is real, I am inside the clubhouse. I am in the clubhouse. This is kind of like wild.”
The walls on both floors of the Vancouver special on East Georgia were covered in photographs of Hells Angels’ parties and events. There were memorial gifts with the HA logo from other chapters around the world.
The upper level had a living room, kitchen, office and bedroom with a comforter made by a member’s girlfriend from Hells Angels T-shirts.
The ground level had the gym and the bar with a giant East End sword hanging above it, as well as a closed-circuit monitor for the outside security cameras. The furniture was black leather.
“They love pictures of themselves. So there are pictures everywhere,” Plante said. “There’s a wall where they have the meeting table. It is the remembrance wall of all the Hells Angels that have died.”
At first, his only job was to work out with Robinson. Soon he was assigned menial tasks: stocking the bar, cleaning the house, doing security.
“Every day for two years I had to clean that house. It was like, ughh, I hated it,” he said.
He also did security for “church”, the regular closed-door meetings of full-patch members at the clubhouse. Plante would collect their cellphones before they went in and he would guard the building to ensure there were no interruptions.
Robinson got him a bouncer job at the Cecil in the late spring of 2002, so he had some cash coming in. Plante knew the HA wanted him for muscle. There had been incidents in downtown clubs where “roided out” rival gangsters had outmuscled the older HA crews.
But there was drama within the Hells Angels, too, in which Plante would become embroiled whether he liked it or not. At one point in the fall of 2002, Jamie Holland, then a prospect in the elite Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels, was with his friend Caine Munoz and Plante at the No. 5 Orange. Munoz asked if the Nomads’ prospects had to “clean toilets” like the East End guys had to do.
“And Jamie goes, ‘No, we don’t clean toilets, man. We are gangsters. We don’t do that stuff,’” Plante said.
Plante mentioned the perceived slight to Potts the next night and Potts promptly reported it to East End sergeant-at-arms Tom Gillis.
The ensuing drama lasted for weeks as leaders of both chapters called in everyone involved to give their statements. Munoz was denying the comment, as was Holland. At one point someone on the Nomads’ side tried to clandestinely tape Plante contradicting his earlier story. He didn’t.
Because of the controversy over the toilet comment, Plante met senior Hells Angels for the first time, among them Bryce and senior Nomads member Gino Zumpano.
It ended up blowing over and both Holland and Potts got promotions a few weeks later — Holland became a full-patch and Potts a prospect. (Both have since left the club.)
It was after the tension over the comment that Plante made his first unreturned call to police.
He had no specific contact so he called a general number.
“It just snowballed so quickly. I am nobody. Who am I? I went from nothing and now I am knee-deep in this shit. It was crazy,” Plante said. “In my own head, I am thinking maybe I bit off a little more than I can chew. Maybe it is time for me to head.”
But he stayed and things got even more bizarre.
In January 2003, a drunken Potts was beaten up by a Surrey drug dealer and his prospect’s vest was taken. His truck and keys to the East End clubhouse were also snatched by the man. This was serious business for the Hells Angels and senior members became involved to get everything back, Plante said.
Potts got slapped around by his biker superiors for letting it happen. And, Plante said, Potts was ordered to kill the drug dealer for what he did.
“He was told to take care of him. No ifs, ands or buts about it. They supplied him with the guns. Randy was in charge of the East End arsenal. We had a snub nose .38. We had a .45 with a silencer and we had an Uzi with a silencer.”
Plante was told to go with Potts to stake out the target’s house. “I never figured he would do it, right?”
Pressure to kill
Night after night they waited, for weeks. Nothing happened.
“And it became more and more apparent to me that he was no killer, right?” Plante said. “I am thinking ‘OK, perfect — I will go sit in the woods with you at night time, Randy, because nothing is going to happen.’”
Potts started getting pressure from his HA bosses.
“They started putting the screws to him — ‘Hey, when are you going to go kill this guy?’”
Potts told Plante he had realized he couldn’t do it and wanted Plante to shoot the man instead.
Plante said he didn’t know what to do, so he jammed the Uzi so it wouldn’t work. He pulled a balaclava over his face and went to confront the dealer. His plan was to scare him with the Uzi and nothing more, Plante said.
“I say, ‘Listen buddy, get the f–k out of town. We don’t ever want to see you again.’ What does he do? He pulls a gun on me. I am like, are you serious? Wow. So I had the snub nose as backup. I have never shot a gun in my life. So I shoot up in the air. I blow up half my eardrum. So he shoots back at me. It whizzes by my head,” Plante said, recounting the story he later told police.
“He runs out through this crack house. Eight people start running out of this house. I fire two more shots in the air and I run.”
Potts was supposed to be waiting for Plante, but had taken off in the vehicle. Plante was choked.
“I could have gotten killed. I didn’t realize how crazy these people are. If you were at my house sticking an Uzi in my face, I would be like, see you later,” he said. “Apparently the next day, it was the laughing stock of Surrey because it was amateurish.”
The dealer was later shot nine times, but survived. No one was ever charged. “I personally didn’t do it, but I had knowledge of it,” Plante said.
Even with all his years working in rowdy bars, Plante was shocked at the front-line meth trade in Surrey that he got to know through Potts. Meth cooks, who were often also users, had names like Skinny Curtis, Ponytail Rick and Crazy George.
When they wanted fast cash, they would “trunk” people — literally put them in the trunk of a car until a friend would pay some cash for their release. It was a violent, dirty world and one that Plante soon wanted to escape. He made another call to a general police line after his involvement in the crack house shooting.
Again, he left a message but never heard back. (Police would later search for Plante’s messages, but didn’t have specific enough information about the dates and numbers he called to find anything.)
“I saw the writing on the wall and it was like, no one has called me back from the police. I am literally getting involved in killings now. This is f–ked up. This is not what I want to be part of,” Plante said.
“We are literally talking a year and a half since I decided to get my ass off my couch and get involved in this thing. And now I am basically a Cosa Nostra kind of guy. This is too much for me. I have anxiety. I started not taking care of myself. My blood pressure was getting through the roof.”
On the May 2003 long weekend, he went with the HA on their annual Kelowna trip. He still didn’t have a Harley or even know how to ride a motorcycle, but he got a ride up in one of the vehicles. Afterwards, Robinson asked Plante to drive his truck back from the Okanagan.
“I was getting dizzy. I just thought it was my anxiety, right? It turns out I had a blood clot in my eye.”
A doctor later told him if the clot had hit his brain, he would have been dead. He had emergency surgery. It reinforced his decision to get away from the Hells Angels.
A proposal for police
But leaving was harder than he thought. Louie Robinson was still ordering Plante around. He was getting the infiltrator to watch his son, Lloyd (Lloydsie) Jr., who was on bail on one set of charges when the police started looking for him for an assault.
“He is telling me I have got to go up to Penticton to hide the kid out.”
Plante said he called Crime Stoppers from a gas station en route to the Okanagan. He gave the vehicle plate number and said the younger Robinson was inside, but they didn’t get pulled over.
While in Penticton, Plante had to fly down to Vancouver to see his doctor about his damaged eye, which still had a patch over it.
Back in the Lower Mainland, he received a call from Potts, who asked him to go pick up a Vancouver businessman named James Betnar at his downtown office and take him to see David O’Hara in Langley.
O’Hara was then a Mission HA member and he wanted to talk to Betnar about money he believed he was owed.
Plante made the trip with Potts’ friend Chris Hackel, who had an ankle injury at the time. They waited outside O’Hara’s house while Betnar went in.
“We hear screaming,” Plante recalled. “Betnar comes out. He was all beaten up.”
O’Hara told Plante and Hackel that they were to collect $20,000 from Betnar that night.
“We are driving. We are actually tending to the guy’s wounds and saying, ‘Are you OK, buddy? Do you want some water?’ It was just ridiculous,” Plante said.
They took Betnar to a downtown hotel, where the businessman called a friend to bring some cash. The friend called police instead.
Plante was eating a shrimp sandwich from room service and Hackel had a cold beer on his sore ankle when they heard the sirens. Police broke down the door and arrested them for extortion.
Plante landed in Vancouver police cells. He assumed he would be out by morning, thinking Betnar would explain it was a misunderstanding, so he bedded down. “All of a sudden, they say, ‘OK Plante, let’s go’ … They transfer me over to RCMP holding cells in Surrey. I think, ‘This isn’t good.’”
Two Mounties took him to be interrogated. He said he didn’t want to talk about O’Hara and what had happened with Betnar.
“I don’t want any deal,” he said.
Instead, Plante laid out for police the plan he hatched 18 months earlier in his New Westminster apartment: “I am on the verge of becoming a Hells Angel. I work out with Louie Robinson. You have got my wallet. You have seen that I have a club card with all the contacts on it for East End,” he said.
“I am offering you something better — full infiltration.”
Return for Part Three in the series on Monday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. PT.
Insidetheangels.com is part of Vancouver Sun Sites, A division of Postmedia Newspapers 2013.