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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednetdoy, July 11, 1973 THI LETHMIDOI HtUlD In high gear... Hell's By TIM REITERMAN OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Hell's Angels have kicked into high gear. Once content to invade email towns and rough up other motorcycle clubs, the Angels now have become uhat police and informants describe as a full-blown mob. They are reported to have handled of dollars in narcotics, killed informers and obtained police favors by trading guns and explosives. Authorities say the Angels designate "hit issue them weapons from club ar- mories and other them to kill informers and others. "They have no destiny in towards a "good time Angels have evolved into a mob of killers and pushers life except getting loaded on drugs and selling them to keep from going to former Angels vice-president George (Baby Huey) Weth- em, a police informant, said in an exclusive written inter- view. "Now it seems they don't draw the line on what they'll do to accomplish this." On Halloween Day, 1972, a grim picture emerged. Three Angels were ar- rested in the slayings of two bikers whose rotting corpses were excavated from Weth- ern's ranch, a reputed Hell's Angels burying ground near Uriah, Calif. Authorities say death contracts were put out on the Wethern family after he agreed to testify about the club's criminal activities. The California attorney-gen- eral's crime report has de- scribed the Angels "be- coming large-scale organized crime It also quoted United States customs estimates that the 300-mem- ber California clan shipped more than million in nar- cotics from the West Coast to the East Coast during one three-year period. In Oakland, high-ranking Angels have faced trial in the murder of a Texas drug dealer found in the bathtub of a burning home. The Angels have been cast as killers and thugs, anti-so- cial folk heroes and matinee idols, patriots and racists. But certain aspects of their image never change: cham-whipping toughness, unpredictability and frightening loyalty to their or winged skull emblems worn on denim jackets. Two things have kept the club together: snarling bikes or low, rakish and tuned for speed; and Ralph (Sonny) Barger, the Angels' Angel. "It was Sonny who got my first motorcycle running for says Wethern in his handwritten reply to questions submitted to federal author- ities and relayed to him by U.S. marshals. "In those days it was just a bunch of guys riding m.c.'s (motorcycles) and having a good time. "The first time I put on the colors, I felt proud because it brought attention from'out- siders and a sense of belong- ing." But when Wethern, 33, a bearded 270-pound man, re- joined the club after a few in- active years in OK mid-1960s, he found the Hell's Angels had become a full-time job. "My activities consisted of trying to nave a good time, getting loaded on marijuana and drugs, and dealing in he said. Barger, 34, a former ware- houseman who has played bit parts in movies about the An- gels, has been president of the dub for years. He evokes almost rabid loy- alty from his brethren and -is described as shrewd, in- telligent, efficient and a man of his bikers, nar- cotics agents and lawyers alike. One of the bodies found on Western's ranch was that of a shot in the head. The other two were the bodies of Georgia men, cyclists who hung around with the Angels before disappearing 1% years ago. One Angel was convicted of murder in the Georgia bikers' deaths, another pleaded guilty to charges of being an ac- cessory to murder, a third is awaiting trial and three oth- ers are being sought. Charges against Wethern, 33, and his blonde wife Helen, 29, were dropped in exchange for testimony. 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