- The Washington Times - Monday, April 10, 2006

LONDON, Ontario — Canadian police arrested five persons on murder charges yesterday for one of Canada’s worst mass killings and said eight men found inside vehicles on an isolated farm over the weekend were affiliated with a biker gang.

Police called the killings “an internal cleansing” of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, and Detective Ross Bingley of the Ontario Provincial Police said investigators don’t think a biker gang war is imminent.

“This is an isolated incident with ties to the Bandidos,” Detective Bingley told reporters.

Police said they arrested five persons at a modest, two-story farmhouse about six miles from where the bodies were found in four vehicles Saturday morning on a farm in Shedden, Ontario, about 90 miles northeast of Detroit.

The victims died of gunshot wounds, police said. Autopsies were being performed yesterday.

The rural area where the bodies were found has had problems with motorcycle gangs but generally is considered low-crime compared with other parts of Canada, in particular Quebec, where biker violence is more common.

Police said Bandidos member Wayne Kellestine, 56, would be charged with eight counts of first-degree murder.

Also arrested and charged with eight counts of murder were Eric Niessen, 45; Kerry Morris, 56; Frank Mather, 32; and Brett Gardiner, 21. The four were not members of the Bandidos.

All five suspects were either from Moncton, Ontario, or the Dutton-Dunwich area, a small farming community in southwestern Ontario between London and the U.S. border. Police said Mr. Gardiner had no fixed address.

Victims who were either full or associate members of the gang were listed as George Jesso, 52; George Kriarakis, 28; John Muscedere, 48; Luis Manny Raposo, 41; Francesco Salerajno, 43; Paul Sinopoli, 30; and Michael Trotta, 31. Victim Jamie Flanz, 37, was named as a “prospective” member. All were from Ontario.

The gangland-style killings are the biggest mass murder in Canada since spurned husband Mark Chahal went on a shooting rampage in 1996 in Vernon, British Columbia, killing nine persons, including his estranged wife and himself.

Police Detective Don Bell also described the shootings as an “internal cleansing” within the gang. He said U.S. intelligence indicates the killings were internal to Canada and not related to any rift with U.S. members of the Bandidos. He said the Canadian arm is composed of former Quebec gang members, such as the Popeyes and Rock Machine.

Police showed off two black leather Bandidos vests with a caricature of a bandit wearing a sombrero and holding a handgun and said the public should note if they come across bikers wearing the garb.

“It should be noted that these men are criminals,” Detective Bell said. “They are not the motorcycle enthusiasts they portray themselves to be.”

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