For All Nails #183: Wheeler Wars
by Noel Maurer
(Inspired by Dave Barrington and dedicated to Henrik Kiertzner)
- From the Statist
- 9 July 1976
Wheeling and Rotting
From start to finish, it was no ordinary murder trial. Southern Vandalia's state government set up an elite squad of top prosecutors. It even paid jurors three times the going rate. Maybe that was why it took 11 days of sequestered deliberations and a judicial admonition to try harder. Still, in the end, on May 5th, the jury convicted Mauricio "El Madrazo" Parado, a leader of the Southern Vandalia chapter of the appropriately named Vandal wheeler club, of ordering the killing of two prison guards.
Southern Vandalians saw this as a big victory in the state's battle against organised crime, and hope others will follow. Over the next two years dozens of Mr Parado's underlings will face murder and drugs charges. The state has even built a special courthouse in St. Louis, costing N.A. £1.1 million and linked by an underground tunnel to the prison where the defendants are held.
Behind these trials lies one of North America's bloodiest and longest crime wars. More than 160 people have died since January 1 of this year, and at least as many have been injured, as the Vandals have brutally sought a monopoly over Southern Vandalia's trade in marihuana and cocaine. They have been resisted, just as brutally, by the "Maquina," a loose federation of wheeler clubs with suspected links to the Orange Order.
The "Wheeler War" has sparked public fascination, but also outrage. It has prompted the confederation government to pass increasingly tough anti-drug and anti-club laws, the most recent legislation coming after a crime reporter was shot to death. On several occasions the conflict has been declared over, either by police or by the warring parties themselves. But each time the killings resumed: the bitterness is deep, and profits of tens of millions of pounds a year are at stake.
In fact, the war may be spreading. In June, a member of the Hun club was killed in a bust-up with Vandals outside Baton Rouge, Georgia, while last week four members of the Vandal and Goth clubs died in a shoot-out at a wheeler gathering in Birmingham.
In Southern Vandalia, unaccustomed to violence, police have often seemed powerless against the wheelers. Special task-forces drawn from Confederation and local forces have disintegrated in bickering. About 95 percent of murders in Southern Vandalia are normally cleared up. But in the wheeler war, the figure "isn't even 10 percent", says Commander Andrew Stoppard, the top homicide officer in the Southern Vandalia State Militia. "Either we catch them on the scene, or you can forget about it".
Indeed, the case against Mr Parado was cracked by the Mexican Constabulary, not the CBI or the Vandalian militia. Mexican federal agents in Monticello FN1 apparently turned Charles Silvestre, a known Platonist. Constabulary sources say that Mr Silvestre became an informer after being told by the Jefferson branch of the Vandals that he could never become a full member because of his sexual preferences. Mr Silvestre's evidence gave Mexican agents the location of the club's main counting house in Lincoln, FN2 which was processing almost N.A. £100 million a year. The Mexican attorney general, Arthur Luria, turned this information over to the Southern Vandalian militia, which raided the house and made more than 120 arrests, including Mr Parado.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the war is over. Ultimately, as long as the CNA pursues a policy of prohibition while sharing a border with a country where marihuana is legal and cocaine widely tolerated, the lucrative (and violent) underground trade will continue. More worrisome is the corrosive effect of the wheeler war and drugs trade on North American institutions. When Mexico's master milly was asked why he turned his information over to Southern Vandalian officials rather than the Confederation Bureau of Investigation, Mr Luria hinted at CBI incompetence, or worse yet, corruption. "Most of our eastern compatriotas are dedicated and hard-working, but that place is as leaky as a sieve. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Or at least in the state of North American law enforcement.
Forward to FAN #184 (The Statist): How You Like Them Oranges?
Forward to 17 July 1976: Thunderstruck.
Return to For All Nails.