Seele's cover story was that she was Mowery's girlfriend, a rich divorcing woman who was selling drugs to her housewife girlfriends until her property settlement. The alibi also helped her retain her innate gentility, although she had to defer to Mowery in the presence of the men and women with whom she sat around bars and downtrodden trailers.
To the surprise of the undercover team, Mowery came to Seele's rescue a couple of times and made it clear to other bikers that, unlike many of them, he would not be sharing his woman with the club. It did not hurt that Mowery's 6-feet-4 body was scarred from past battles. Carlander once watched him at a motorcycle swap meet in L.A. take on all attacking bikers with a chopper kickstand--while a knife was dangling out of his side.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday September 19, 1994 Orange County Edition Life & Style Part E Page 2 Column 1 View Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
"Chain of Evidence"--A story in Friday's Life & Style section about a book called "Chain of Evidence" incorrectly reported a Drug Enforcement Administration agent's name. It is Ralph Lochridge.
Despite the generally bad treatment most biker women receive, Seele managed to actually enjoy a big bar party one night in which she won the wet T-shirt contest after various Hells Angels soaked her top.
"I was young; I was naive, what can I say? I would never do it again today," Seele says with a sigh.
The undercover team knew that one day it would end, as many such operations do, when they suspected someone was on to them. It happened to Seele one night while she and Mowery were buying drugs in a couple's home. The woman had been in jail while Seele was working there. Seele was sure she had been recognized; the operation was over that night.
Seele slept for long periods and did not leave her house. Days later the sweep began.
On April 14, 1977, then-deputy district attorney Ron Kreber (now a judge) presented his evidence before an Orange County grand jury, which returned 57 indictments for 77 alleged felons. All but one of the Hells Angels made bail, and he was extradited to Connecticut on a fugitive warrant for murder.
The biggest Angel they captured was Michael Lee (Bruno) Mason, owner of a Santa Ana motorcycle shop in which the undercover officer bought drugs. The secretary-treasurer of the L.A. chapter, he was said to lead the budding Orange County chapter.
The day original target Glore got out on bail, his body was found with 12 bullets in it in the home where he had kept files of every Hells Angel member in the U.S. and Europe. From his home, officers had also taken extensive records relating to Hells Angels that, the book says, were "a huge windfall of otherwise impossible-to-get information about the inside operations of a secret criminal enterprise."
An Angels hit-man was allegedly brought out from New York to take out the cops and Mowery, who was hidden in a series of motel rooms until after he bravely stared down courtrooms packed with bikers and testified against them.
Seele never did testify, and the media helped protect her identity by never using her or Carlander's real names or photographs.
Carlander minimizes his role in the case and is circumspect about his private life, which is less elaborated upon than Seele's in the book.
"She and I, we'd go around on some things, but she did a dynamite, dynamite job," Carlander said with obvious fondness for a friend of 18 years. "She was a great partner."
Nine months ago, Carlander transferred to a lower-profile job, waiting out his retirement as sergeant of inmate transportation. The father of two girls and a boy, Carlander is looking forward in 360 working days to a life of golf, betting the ponies and playing with his grandchildren.
The book, he says, will in some small way give them a legacy and something for which they can be proud of him.
"Can't ask for more than that," he adds.
After two months off to recuperate and consider her future, Seele realized she had an even more promising future with the sheriff's department. She had spent only 10 months working in the women's jail--where female employees were then stuck--before assignment to a special burglary team, and she clearly proved her skills in the biker case. Sheriff Gates told the "Chain of Evidence" author that, had she stayed with the department, she'd be running it today.
But Seele had no interest in being at a desk, being a boss. She felt she had already cheated fate on the streets.
"I thought, 'let's not push the odds.' I made it through this. I learned that I had some abilities under pressure that I no way knew I was capable of. I had received a tremendous gift and opportunity from the department, but I couldn't really use it at the department."
So Seele quit and changed her name, moving with her husband to another state. Just as she launched her own business, which involves "risk management and consulting," she discovered she was pregnant. She would have three children, the oldest now 12. After a seven-year break, she has returned to her business, now that all of her children are in school.
For months after the busts, she kept her .38 revolver on the shower ledge. Once she almost drew down on her husband, who came home from work early one afternoon while she was bathing. She has guns locked away now.
Her kids know Mom was a cop, but they'll have to wait a while to watch her videotaped TV appearances or to read "Chain of Evidence."
"They won't be reading the book for at \o7 least\f7 a couple more years," she says. "Oh, Lord, no. But I'll save an autographed book for them. Autographed, 'From Mom.' "
Cliff Mowery left California, too, bound for a job in the Oklahoma oil fields. But upon his return to California a while later, he "died in a mysterious motorcycle accident," the book publicist said in a dramatic whisper.
The book ends with Mowery's death in an apparent freeway motorcycle crash, but the implication is clear: It might have been a retribution killing for his work as an informant. But there is no proof of that.