Sunday, 10 March 2013

Chain Of Evidence

Chain of Evidence is a book about an early attempt by the Police to gather incriminating evidence against local Hells Angels in an area of California.  To do so would have required an officer to infiltrate local bikers but there were no undercover men available, so the cop looking to run the operation had to look for an alternative approach.

    An opportunity came along when a huge and imposing biker called Clifford Mowery, who was incarcerated awaiting charges that would see him go inside for a few years.  But contrary to the notion that professional criminals, and in particular British criminals, is that a few years in jail would not bother them, many do cut deals.  Mowery was to go and get about in biker bars, with a female officer posing as his girlfriend.  This female officer was Victoria Seel, a tall blonde, who had a steady nerve.  They slowly made contacts and drug buys, and though Mowery played up a few times and he was threatened with return straight to jail, he was making progress.  Because of his intimidating size and demeanour, Mowery was a sought after man for various clubs as he was perfect for muscle.

    After so long, cracks started appearing in the personality of Victoria Seel and she asked to drop out of the investigation.  This was accepted and numerous arrests were made and many were jailed.  Both Seel and Mowery had to give evidence, and so their cover had to be blown.  Both had contracts put out on their lives and descriptions of them put up in biker bars throughout California.  Victoria Seel moved away for safety, and Clifford Mowery went down to Oklahoma, to work in the oilfields for a couple of years.  However, Mowery inexplicably made a return to California and ended up being killed in a bike smash.  The cop who was in charge, believed somebody collected on the contract offer.

    I remember back in 1976, before the summer, a chopper magazine that had an anti-crash helmet protest article with pictures.  One was a huge biker with a blonde wearing shades and a bandana.  In Chain of Evidence, photos of Mowery & Seel out about, made me realise that the magazine picture back in `76 was them.  Pays to have a good memory.