Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated Americas Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by William QueenIn 1998, William Queen was a veteran law enforcement agent with a lifelong love of motorcycles and a lack of patience with paperwork. When a confidential informant made contact with his boss at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, offering to take an agent inside the San Fernando chapter of the Mongols (the scourge of Southern California, and one of the most dangerous gangs in America), Queen jumped at the chance, not realizing that he was kicking-starting the most extensive undercover operation inside an outlaw motorcycle gang in the history of American law enforcement.
Nor did Queen suspect that he would penetrate the gang so successfully that he would become a fully patched-in member, eventually rising through their ranks to the office of treasurer, where he had unprecedented access to evidence of their criminal activity. After Queen spent twenty-eight months as Billy St. John, the bearded, beer-swilling, Harley-riding gang-banger, the truth of his identity became blurry, even to himself.
During his initial prospecting phase, Queen was at the mercy of crank-fueled criminal psychopaths who sought to have him test his mettle and prove his fealty by any means necessary, from selling (and doing) drugs, to arms trafficking, stealing motorcycles, driving getaway cars, and, in one shocking instance, stitching up the face of a Mongol ol lady after a particularly brutal beating at the hands of her boyfriend.
Yet despite the constant criminality of the gang, for whom planning cop killings and gang rapes were business as usual, Queen also came to see the genuine camaraderie they shared. When his lengthy undercover work totally isolated Queen from family, his friends, and ATF colleagues, the Mongols felt like the only family he had left. I had no doubt these guys genuinely loved Billy St. John and would have laid down their lives for him. But they wouldnt hesitate to murder Billy Queen.
From Queens first sleight of hand with a line of methamphetamine in front of him and a knife at his throat, to the fearsome face-off with their decades-old enemy, the Hells Angels (a brawl that left three bikers dead), to the heartbreaking scene of a father ostracized at Parents Night because his deranged-outlaw appearance precluded any interaction with regular citizens, Under and Alone is a breathless, adrenaline-charged read that puts you on the street with some of the most dangerous men in America and with the law enforcement agents who risk everything to bring them in.
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Charles Falco went undercover in three biker gangs, all of which have deep roots here in Southern California, and lived to tell the tale. In fact, he wrote a book about it. Now in the Witness Protection Program, Falco chatted with us via phone from an undisclosed location about his time as an outlaw rider. I think most [of the people in biker gangs] are miserable men who stick to the drugs and the alcohol. CF: How crazy the undercover operation is.