Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods

Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods

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by Alex Caine

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"Alex Caine started life as a working-class boy who always thought he'd end up in a blue-collar job. But after a tour in Vietnam and a stretch in prison on marijuana-possession charges, he fell into the cloak-and-dagger world of a contracted agent or "kite" : infiltrating criminal groups that cops across North America and around the globe were unable to penetrate…  See more details below


"Alex Caine started life as a working-class boy who always thought he'd end up in a blue-collar job. But after a tour in Vietnam and a stretch in prison on marijuana-possession charges, he fell into the cloak-and-dagger world of a contracted agent or "kite" : infiltrating criminal groups that cops across North America and around the globe were unable to penetrate themselves." Befriend and Betray gives a candid look behind the scenes at some familiar police operations and blows the lid off others that law enforcement would much prefer to keep hidden. And it offers an unvarnished account of the toll such a life takes, one that often left Caine wondering who he really was, behind those decades of assumed identities. Or whether justice was ever truly served.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Chilling and gritty, this new account by Caine, an undercover police agent for 25 years, showcases his skills as a shrewd chameleon who could infiltrate any group while tallying their vices and offenses. Following stints in Vietnam and behind bars, he teamed with the cops to penetrate the criminal netherworld populated by cruel Asian triads and street gangs battling for territories and riches. Caine, a tough cookie, was recruited by all of the federal enforcement agencies to get the goods on the big four outlaw bike gangs-the Hells Angels, the Bandidos, the Outlaws and the Pagans-and some of his exploits are the stuff of high-tension torture and lawlessness. His resourcefulness is uncanny, as is his sheer will to survive as he matches wits with a group of Russian mobsters and lawmen on the take. It's to Caine's credit that he lived to tell this riveting tale of bloodshed and corruption. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—Working for everyone from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Caine spent 25 years infiltrating and taking down dangerous criminal groups. He did anything and everything he could to work his way into them: he dealt drugs, sold T-shirts, and even promoted rock-and-roll concerts. After building personal trust, he used his contacts with the inner members of a group to create a solid court case and make sure as many as possible wound up in jail. But the book works as more than a portrait of organized crime—it is also the author's personal story. Readers see him struggle many times with the complex, conflicted emotions of making friends with criminals while maintaining the secret intent to take them to jail. There are also powerful moments showcasing difficulties in his marriage—often caused by his career—as well as personality conflicts with his government handlers. Caine knows how to tell a story and doesn't waste a single dramatic moment. Immediately enticing and gripping all the way through, this volume will appeal to fans of true crime and anyone looking for a unique biography.—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Infiltrator-for-hire Caine writes with disarming candor about going undercover everywhere from Newfoundland to Hong Kong. The child of a broken family in a small Quebec town, he was a directionless 20-year-old ne'er-do-well when he signed up in 1969 to fight with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam. A horrific tour of duty, which saw him coordinating extrajudicial assassinations and accidentally killing at least one civilian, left him prone to detachment, something he put to use after returning to Canada. Accidentally getting too friendly with a Vancouver criminal, he informed the police; but instead of giving him a reward, the Mounties signed him up as an informant. The investigation widened into an international operation that sent Caine flying to Hong Kong (along with plenty of cops looking for a taypayer-funded vacation) to move higher up the Triad's chain of command. After that, he became an undercover mercenary specializing in biker gangs. Caine's unassuming demeanor made him fit in better than the undercover officers who overdid it. Indeed, he displays considerable contempt for cops who relish playing the bad boy, portraying one police ambush he witnessed as little more than a gangland hit. Most of the narrative details his work inside the Bandidos, a Pacific Northwest gang, and a long assignment with the Hell's Angels in California. Along the way he also describes operations involving Toronto gangs and the KKK. His personal life suffered from all the role-playing: "My mind is really a graveyard for all the people I've been," he writes. Two marriages broke up, and an investigation involving a family member estranged his sisters. Unlike ATF special agent Jay Dobyns (No Angel, 2009),Caine remains resolutely unromantic about his targets and has no problem doing exactly what the book's title directs. A refreshingly open and clearheaded account of the dirty side of law enforcement.
From the Publisher
“Alex Caine’s memoir of his life as a confidential informant is one of the most engaging tales ever told about the deep infiltration of organized crime. His revelations are extraordinary; his story gripping. I couldn’t put it down.” —William Marsden, coauthor of The Road to Hell and Angels of Death

“Caine is the ultimate actor, inhabiting roles as a big-time drug dealer, border runner, money launderer, hit man, rock-and-roll promoter—all while working as one of the most audacious undercover informants of all time. He turned infiltrating organized crime into an art form. He could easily have become a master criminal himself. Luckily, he worked for the good guys. Amazingly, he survived his encounters with the Hong Kong Triads and Bandidos bikers and the KKK and has returned to tell his fascinating and nearly unbelievable true-crime story.” —Guy Lawson, coauthor of The Brotherhoods

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Product Details

Random House of Canada, Limited
Publication date:
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5.63(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.09(d)

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Befriend and Betray

Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods

By Alex Caine

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2008 Alex Caine and Aranteli Productions
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6557-6


Lots of people don't grow up into the life that's expected of them. Farmers raise children who end up as artists. Factory workers have kids who become research scientists and university professors. Thugs and criminals have grown up in the silver-spoon homes of diplomats, lawyers and doctors. Still, there probably aren't many apples that fall as far from the tree as I did. I might as well have landed in a completely different orchard.

I was born into a working-class family in Hull, Quebec, virtually in the shadow of Canada's Parliament — high on a cliff across the Ottawa River, looking down at us — but a world away. It was a French-speaking lumber- and paper-mill town where the Catholic Church continued to call most of the shots but the brothel and tavern still had their places.

My dad didn't work at the mills but at the municipal plant that did double duty as Hull's water filtration works and a generating station for electricity. He'd got the job a year or two after coming home from World War II and shortly before I was born. Prior to the war, music had been his life, and he'd got by playing banjo and guitar at countless weddings and parties. But he came home from the war with my mother — whom he had met in Halifax, his naval base on his way to and from Europe — and he needed real work. He got the gig thanks to a connection made by his brother Alfred, whom we always knew as mon'onc Fred.

My family seemed to be set with all the makings for a life of postwar prosperity and happiness — steady employment, family, peace. Except there was one problem, or maybe three: my mother was half Irish, half Indian, and she didn't speak a word of French.

In the Québécois world of my father's family, almost nothing was worse than being English. The English were Protestant conquerors, occupiers and carpetbaggers all rolled into one. They were the bosses, and thus the people who dictated that the French made less money and didn't get the management or foreman jobs.

But being Irish or Native — or a combination of the two — was worse than being English. The Irish were seen as bottom-feeders, willing to work for nothing and steal French jobs. The fact that the Irish were Catholic helped a little perhaps, but their church was over in Ottawa — more evidence that they were stooges of the English. Indians, meanwhile, were looked down on by everyone, for whatever reason was handy. They were drunks, or poor or didn't speak French. And even if many of them were Catholic too, well, they were really still heathens at heart.

Maybe his eyes had been opened by his time overseas in the navy, because my father was able to see beyond these prejudices. Otherwise he would never have married Mary O'Connor and brought her home. Especially considering she already had a child, James, by a Swedish sailor who had passed through Halifax and shipped out before he knew she was pregnant. Mon'onc Fred, along with his wife, Émilienne, who for us were the very embodiment of class and dignity, also remained above such pettiness.

But not so my father's mother and his sisters Cécile, Irène and Laurette. They had all the time in the world and all the room in their hearts for Mary's half-Swedish son, but none for Mary herself. She was isolated and ostracized, ridiculed and marginalized by the very people whom, in that sort of community, she needed most to look out for her.

For the first six years of my life, however, this was largely invisible to me. We lived in a little house in a part of town called Wrightville but which the locals knew as Ragville because of the rag recycling factory that employed many local women. In socio-economic terms, it was the wrong side of the tracks, definitely, but in terms of community it was a perfectly fine place for my parents to set about having five kids of their own. I was the third, born on a December evening in 1948 after a snowstorm had buried Hull under a foot of snow.

By necessity, we spent much of our childhoods outside — the walls of the tiny house were too close together to contain us all except when we were sleeping. There, among other kids, our being half English wasn't an issue because we spoke French as well as any of them and because there were enough of us and we were tough enough. But since at home we all spoke English with my mother, my dad included, she never learned much French. Not speaking French (and being Irish and Indian) meant she didn't make any friends. And even if my aunt Cécile spoke good enough English to be employed across the river as a civilian employee of the Royal Canadian Navy, she made no effort to include my mother in the wider family life.

Cécile lived in the house in which my father had grown up, along with her sisters Irène and Laurette, my father's youngest brother Laurent and my grandmother. The house was in downtown Hull, and remained the family gathering place. Every Sunday, after Mass and a quick stop at home to change out of our church clothes, we'd head over to the house for a late lunch and a long afternoon of playing. For the first few years of my life my mother dutifully came along, but the tradition must have been not just excruciatingly boring for her but all the more isolating. By the time I was five, she stopped accompanying us on the Sunday outings.

Not long after, she disappeared for a spell, and then another. In the summer of 1955, when I was six and a half, my mother split for good. We were left entirely in the dark about why she had gone, where, or whether she would ever be coming back. It sounds like a bad cliché, but she went to the movies and never came home — or at least that's what the adults told us.

Right from the start we sensed that this time her disappearance might be final. Our aunts started coming over, managing the household and telling us and anyone else who cared to listen "bon débarras" — "good riddance to bad rubbish." There was no blame placed on my father, even if at the very least he had been blind to my mother's unhappiness and deaf to her desires to move back east. Instead, my aunts just made it clear to everyone that they were now going to clear up his mess.

Within a week, all the arrangements had been made. Our house would be sold. My two brothers, Jim and Pete, then aged eleven and nine, would move with my dad into the family home. My two younger sisters, Norma and Pauline, four and three respectively, would go live with a family my dad knew in a small town a few miles away. The middle kids, my sister Louise and I (aged six and seven), would be sent to St. Joseph's Orphanage in Ottawa.

I wasn't told of the arrangements until the morning of the day we were to be shipped off, so I had no time to plan an escape. After my dad took me into the kitchen to tell me what was happening, I just bolted. I headed to a secret hiding place my brother and I had in some nearby woods. I figured I'd wait awhile then sneak back into the house and live there by myself till my mom came to get me. But soon enough my two brothers came and dragged me back home. The orphanage had sent a car to pick up Louise and me. Just before we were driven off, my oldest brother, Jim, gave me his golf ball. I kept it for years.

Louise and I were just being warehoused at the orphanage; my dad had told the nuns he fully expected to be in a position to take us back in a matter of months. He'd bring us toys on occasion, but most importantly he brought us hope that we'd soon be getting out. In mid-September of our second year, after a week or so of school, my father came and retrieved us — but not to take me home. There still wasn't room.

Instead I was sent to live with a colleague of my father's, Doyle Parent, his wife and their countless kids. Their house had no room for another child — all the boys slept in one room, all the girls in another — but Doyle and his wife were big-hearted and generous. Life there was a chaotic but pleasant adventure after the orphanage.

The proximity to the rest of my family was also a big relief. I was just a couple of street corners away from the family home. Still, I wasn't a regular visitor for reasons that would be considered bizarre today: my family's house was actually in St. Bernadette parish while the Parents' house was in St. Rédempteur parish. In those years, the parish where you lived dictated more than just what church you went to. For the women, it determined which grocery store they shopped at. For the men, it made the difference between taverns. And for kids, it determined who your friends were, what pool hall you frequented, what girls you could pursue, even what streets you could walk without fear of being harassed and chased back to safe territory.

So, even if we all went to the same school, as soon as the bell rang at the end of the day we kept within our little tribe.

Still, if necessary, you could change parishes without much hassle. And the younger you were, the easier it was. So after about a year at the Parents' I gave up membership in St. Rédempteur parish and joined St. Bernadette.

Space opened up for me at the Charbonneaus'. They were good friends of the family. They also had a mess of children, but they were older by then and beginning to move out. Which meant that I could move in, as I did in the late summer of 1957, just before I was to enter grade three.

Once at the Charbonneaus' I might just as well have been back in the family home, I was there so often. And indeed I did move back in permanently the next summer when my uncle Laurent died.

I didn't have any illusions that everything would be splendid once I moved back to the family home. I knew my aunts well enough for that. There were upsides, especially living under the same roof as my brothers and having their friendship and support on the street. But tensions between me and my aunts didn't take long to grow more pronounced.

They constantly put down my mother. Any time we did something they didn't approve of, they would say in a disgusted voice, "Mary tout chié" — meaning more or less "You're shit just like your mother."

It was during one tirade that I learned belatedly that my mother was half Irish and half Native. The news had a different effect on me than my aunt intended. All of a sudden I felt special, not English or French but something different.

We'd got our first television when we were living on Rouville Street. Back then channels used to broadcast an Indian-head test pattern when they had nothing else to air. I was intrigued. I started imitating the stoic look of the TV Indian and would practice my version of it on the grown-ups. Whenever they would come down on me for whatever reason, I would glare at them. "R'garde-moi pas avec tes yeux tueurs!" my aunt would yell. "Don't look at me with those killer eyes!" And then my dad would order me: "Pis change ta face!"

My imitation of the Indian head — and the impact it seemed to have on people — got me interested in facial expressions and body language and what effective and subtle ways they were to communicate. This likely had a lot to do with the fact that I had always been short and slight and knew that, if I was going to be noticed, let alone impress people, I would have to do it in a way that didn't involve puffing out my chest and standing tall. So I began to work on developing my own non-verbal ways of sending a precise message, whether through an almost imperceptible tilt of the head or a small hand gesture. I also started to study everyone I met to read what they were saying through their movements. I wasn't necessarily seeing things that other people didn't see, or even picking up non-verbal messages that they were missing, but I was indexing these sorts of subtle cues. Facial expressions and the like became, in that sense, a third language for me, one that everyone spoke but didn't necessarily understand, one in which very few people could tell a lie, but I certainly could.

It didn't, however, help relations with my aunts. I wasn't any more rebellious or up-to-no-good than Jimmy or Pete, but I was more defiant. Jimmy, when confronted with a misdeed, would fold and apologize profusely; Pete would deny everything. I, on the other hand, wouldn't speak and just took my licks. After one Friday night blowout Aunt Cécile declared that on the following Monday she would report me to the local priest. Given the weight that the Church swung in Quebec until the late 1960s, the priest was more than just a confessor and sermonizer; he was also an adjudicator and dispenser of community justice. As such, he was only called upon in very serious circumstances. So I knew what Cécile's threat meant — and it scared me half to death. As an "incorrigible" I would likely be sent to a reform school such as the notorious Mont St-Antoine in Montreal. The Mont was run by "the brothers" and the physical and sexual abuse going on there was legendary, even back then. A friend had spent six months there. When he came back, he showed us the scars on his back from being whipped by a motorized contraption the brothers had rigged up to carry out their punishments for them.

So, the next morning, Saturday, I got up early, went into Cécile's purse, took forty dollars and left. A friend put me up in his house that night and the next, but on Monday morning his mom forced me to leave. I didn't have my books and wasn't in the frame of mind to attend school anyway. So I faked my father's signature on a note claiming I was sick, met up with Pete on the way to class and had him deliver it. If I hadn't done that, the truancy cops would have been looking for me and that would have meant the Mont for sure.

It was February and very cold. My dad had an old car in the backyard that he cannibalized for parts, and after a day of lying low I spent most of the night in there. My father and aunts had to know I was in the car — it was just outside the kitchen window and the kitchen was the busiest room of the house. But they let me sleep there anyway, thinking, I suppose, that it would teach me a lesson. I never forgave them for that.

The second night, I found two blankets on the back seat. Pete had left them there. The next day we met up and he told me of a rooming house across from the local arena that would rent to anyone. The rooms were furnished and cost ten dollars a week. With some of the money from Cécile's purse I paid for two weeks and settled in.

The other tenants were hookers, a couple of old winos and maybe a crook or two. I was the only child. For my first few days there I continued lying low and keeping to myself, venturing out occasionally but spending most of the time in my little room alone. Pete brought me my books and some more clothes, so I was able to get back to school. And after a week or so a friend brought me a bike. He said he'd found it but didn't really expect me to believe him. Wherever the bike came from, riding it around was better than walking, even in the snow.

By that time I had got to know many of my neighbors in the boarding house, especially the working girls. They'd leave their doors ajar and go from room to room to socialize. It was a couple of days before I talked to any of them. Then an older woman with puffy, bleached blond hair and far too much makeup knocked on my door. She was tall and very solid — not fat, just solid — and, standing there at the door wearing a floor-length pink bathrobe, she struck me as something between forbidding and outright scary. She held a plate of food in one hand.

"Have you eaten?" she asked. I said no and she handed me the plate. "My name is Lorraine. I'm in room seven," she said, and left.

I cleaned the plate and returned it to Lorraine. On her turf she took the opportunity to ask me some questions and I spilled the beans. It felt good to open up to someone, and we talked for what seemed like hours. Beneath her tough, all-business exterior, Lorraine was still tough and no-nonsense. It was clear she'd had a hard life full of betrayal, disappointment and probably violence. But she took me under her wing without expecting a thing in return, and looked out for me as well as any of my various mother figures had up to that point.

After that first meal she always made sure I was getting enough to eat. Most of the girls, coming home after a long night working, would bring home food. On Lorraine's instruction — she definitely called the shots, to the extent that in retrospect I think she was more of a madam than a hooker herself — they always brought extra for me. Breakfast was often roast chicken and french fries instead of cereal and toast, but that was fine by me.


Excerpted from Befriend and Betray by Alex Caine. Copyright © 2008 Alex Caine and Aranteli Productions. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Spikeritz More than 1 year ago
I got through the first chapter and fignured out the author is a bold face liar. He claims to be a USMC Vietnam Vet. He claimed to be in Special Forces and a part of the Pheonix Program (CIA Program). Lets start there since I quite reading the book. He claims as an enlisted man his MOS (Military occupational specialty) is 18A. An 18A is an Army Officer MOS for a Special Forces OFFICER. The 18 series MOS in the USMC is a tank driver. He refered to Special Forces Assessment and selection (SFAS) as Special Forces Selection and Assessement or as he refered to it as SFSA. Wrong again. He claimed this training continued until he got into country. SFAS was not even implemented until the late 70s or early 80s. Based on these facts I quit reading the book. If he lied about this what else did he lie about? The guy is an SF want-a-be and full of dung. Based on this I think he is incapible of telling the truth. I am not a pissed biker but a pissed retired US Army Colonel. When I pick up a book that is non-fiction I don't expect to read fiction. The publisher should do better research. They dropped the ball on this one.
Doug783 More than 1 year ago
I have read several books of written by foreign & domestic Law Enforcement Agents No Angel by Jay Dobyns, Running with the Devil by Kerrie Droben, Under & Alone and Armed & Dangerous by William Queen; while they are all very good books, great in fact. They don't try to over glorify what it is that the L.E.A. did, they tell as true a tale as can be done without putting the teller in a legal bind. The reader is shown that what these men and women do is not pretty and can have lasting effects on their & their family's lives. I liked Mr. Caine's book because it shows a story of a man who got dealt a bad hand and was able to make the best of it. Alex Caine is many things, a world class martial artist, a writer, a government approved con man, a top notch informant, a convicted criminal, a winner & loser in all things life. But above all he is a hero. He has made more sacrifices both personally & professionally in the name of honor, integrity, loyalty, & faith than any one man or woman should ever be asked to. If you were only going to read one book about an agent who assisted in taking down an Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang, I would absolutely suggest reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While most of this book is entertaining it is obvious that there is quite a bit of embellishment. Best read in the frame of mind of a story- not as historical fact.
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For the injured. There is a traning ground behind the hospital. There is a weapons rack beside the training grounds.
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