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Cedric Baxter Smith, one of 17 full-patch members of the Vancouver chapter of the Hells Angels, has not been heard from since May 2008

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cedric Baxter Smith, one of 17 full-patch members of the Vancouver chapter of the Hells Angels, has not been heard from since the 2008 May long weekend.His last credit card transaction was May 21, and there has been no activity in his bank accounts or cellphone. He is presumed to have been killed, perhaps by Hells Angels associates, after Smith fell for the ruse of an undercover RCMP officer in a covert drug operation. Dubbed Project Essen, it led to the arrests of 10 gang members in 2005, including Smith and Norman Krogstad, president of the Vancouver chapter.Smith's beloved car collection, possibly worth more than $1 million, will be auctioned off in Calgary on April 24 and 25. Among them is a 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood that was used at the ceremonial opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. As befitting a Hells Angels biker, many of Smith's 11 vehicles are Al Capone-era "gangster" cars, including a black 1936 Cadillac, a dark maroon 1936 Lincoln and a dark blue 1938 Buick.Smith's vehicles will be sold along with 26 more antique autos from two other estates. The 37 vehicles represent what Car Crazy auction house owner Harold Heninger says might be "the finest collection of vintage autos ever offered for sale in Alberta."Heninger says Smith's vehicles could sell for between $50,000 and $100,000 each.
But he is uncertain what they might fetch in the current economy.
"There is no reserve. They will all be sold," he says.Heninger, whose auction service (www.carcrazy.ca) has been operating for 20 years, previously sold Smith's 1934 Pierce Arrow-- "the Bonnie and Clyde car" -- for $100,000. Another Pierce Arrow is available at the auction. Mark Smith, who was in Calgary this month, said he has no idea what happened to his brother and won't speculate. The family, he said, had no choice but to sell Cedric's cars, even though his brother cannot be declared legally dead under B.C. law until seven years after his disappearance.Cedric, who never married and had no children, did not own the property where the cars were housed and the family had to clear them out, says Mark. Cedric's three siblings say they plan to put the proceeds from the auction into an account in their brother's name and hope that one day he shows up.Mark says Cedric was a skilled auto body repairman who built his car collection for more than 30 years. The family says they do not condone his Hells Angels affiliation and were shocked to learn of his arrest in 2005 at age 55 for drug trafficking. When arrested, police found $73,000 in cash at his home.Smith was cultivated by the RCMP undercover agent for two years, beginning in 2003, who was soon buying kilos of cocaine from the senior Hells Angel member. Smith was convicted and sentenced to four years in jail. Released early on good behaviour, he had been out of jail for about year when spotted by his Hells Angels brethren. A chapter member phoned RCMP to say that Smith had met "with foul play."
Before his disappearance, Smith had taken responsibility for his crimes and knew he could not go back to selling drugs, Mark says.
Heninger says it is obvious from the condition of the vehicles that Smith was meticulous about his restoration work."He apparently took all the door locks apart, polished all the screws, and put them back together. His buddies say he was crazy about it. When he was working on a project, he'd live on nothing but Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts until he finished. He was a bit obsessive."

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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