Federal Racketeering Charges Brought Against 42 Members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
Las Vegas, Nev. - Forty-two members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) have been indicted in the United States District Court in Las Vegas on federal racketeering and firearms charges stemming from the violent confrontation between HAMC and Mongols motorcycle club members at Harrah's Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, on April 27, 2002. Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, announces that on Tuesday, December 2, 2003, the United States Grand Jury returned an 11-count Indictment against 42 defendants. Each defendant is charged with 10 counts of Violence in Aid of Racketeering and one count of Using and Carrying Firearms During and In Relation to Crimes of Violence. The Indictment remained sealed by the Court until this morning to permit agents to execute arrest warrants for the defendants in Nevada, California, Arizona, Washington, and Alaska. Agents also executed search warrants at the residences of each defendant and at Hell's Angel's Clubhouses in Nevada, California, Alaska, Washington, and Arizona. As of yesterday evening, 33 of the 42 defendants had been arrested without incident. Arrest warrants for the remaining nine defendants remain active. Items seized in the searches included numerous firearms, methamphetamine, bulletproof vests and stolen vehicles. The defendants will have initial appearance hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judges in the Districts in which they were arrested, and they will then be transferred to the District of Nevada for arraignment and trial.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants were members and associates of the HAMC, which operated throughout the United States and other countries of the world, and whose members engaged in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, battery resulting in serious bodily harm, robbery, extortion and narcotics distribution. According to the Indictment, the HAMC maintained "chapters" (clubs) in 23 states and approximately 25 foreign countries. Each chapter typically has elected officers and operates under bylaws which require members to pay dues and attend weekly meetings. It is alleged that the members of the HAMC functioned as a continuing unit for common purposes, which included making money through extortion, robbery, and drug trafficking; protecting the power, territory and profits of the HAMC through intimidation, threats of violence, assaults and murder; promoting and enhancing the reputation of the HAMC; and keeping victims, potential informants, witnesses and the public-at-large in fear of the HAMC through threats of violence.
The Indictment alleges that the HAMC had a long and violent history with the rival motorcycle club, the Mongols, and that prior to the April 2002 Laughlin, Nevada incident, violent encounters had occurred between the two groups in San Diego and Modesto, California, and Reno, Nevada.
The Indictment alleges that from April 25 through April 28, 2002, the 20th Annual Laughlin River Run was held in Laughlin, Nevada. More than 60,000 people attended the event, including members of the HAMC and the Mongols. On April 26, 2002, several minor arguments and assaults occurred between members of the HAMC and Mongols in Laughlin. At approximately 2:16 a.m. on April 27, 2002, several "groups"of HAMC members who were staying at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, traveled on their motorcycles to a bar located in Harrah's Casino in Laughlin. The HAMC members and associates were carrying guns, knives, hammers and wrenches in their hands or under their clothing. When the HAMC members arrived in the bar area, they were approached by Mongols members. Shortly thereafter, an HAMC member kicked one of the Mongols members, and other HAMC members and associates then assaulted Mongols with dangerous weapons, including firearms, knives, hammers and wrenches, and sought to murder or seriously injure Mongols members. The alleged assaults that occurred in the bar area at Harrah's and specified in the Indictment, include the shootings of Richard Nolan, Enrique Munoz, Bengy Leyva, Davey Camargo, and Mel Ramirez; and the stabbings of Raymond Santos and Roger Pinney.
Each assault charge carries either a five or 20-year maximum statutory penalty of imprisonment, and the firearms charge carries a minimum mandatory statutory penalty of 10 years in prison, to be served consecutively to all other counts (See Attachment B).
This case is being investigated by Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Detectives with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Johnson and Andrew Duncan.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. v. Charles Acosta, et al.
ATTACHMENT A - DEFENDANT FACT SHEET
|Defendant Number & Name||Age||Residence||Custody Status|
|1. Charles Acosta||28||Stockton, CA||Warrant Pending|
|2. Robert Anello||49||Petaluma, CA||Arrested|
|3. Ron Arnone||39||Tacoma, WA||Arrested|
|4. Matthew Carlock||29||San Pablo, CA||Warrant Pending|
|5. Jeffrey Carney||42||Kirkland, WA||Arrested|
|6. Matt Comach||38||Novato, CA||Arrested|
|7. Rodney Cox||41||Phoenix, AZ||Arrested|
|8. Frederick Donahue||38||Rodeo, CA||Warrant Pending|
|9. Steve Eades||39||Marinez, CA||Arrested|
|10. Montgomery David Elliott||50||Anchorage, AK||Arrested|
|11. Maurice Eunice||52||Lakeside, CA||Arrested|
|12. Raymond Foakes||40||Petaluma, CA||Arrested|
|13. Shawn Frazer||33||Pinole, CA||Arrested|
|14. James Hannigan||36||Mountain View, CA||Arrested|
|15. Justin Harrah||33||Watsonville, CA||Arrested|
|16. Keith Hixon||29||Auburn, CA||Arrested|
|17. Wayne Hodges||52||San Francisco, CA||Arrested|
|18. Eiland Hogan||22||Roseville, CA||Warrant Pending|
|19. Michael Hurn||53||Anchorage, AK||Arrested|
|20. Charlie Hyde||49||Simi Valley, CA||Arrested|
|21. Ricky Jenks||26||Already in Washington||State Custody|
|22. Patrick Kalabolas||55||Las Vegas, NV||Warrant Pending|
|23. Edward Laigo||55||Atwater, CA||Arrested|
|24. Daniel LaJocies||40||Modesto, CA||Warrant Pending|
|25. Dale Leedom||41||Two Rivers, AK||Arrested|
|26. Jesse Mahon||24||Carmichael, CA||Warrant Pending|
|27. Jorrg Maykopf||Germany||Warrant Pending|
|28. Michael Mills||45||Wenatchee, WA||Arrested|
|29. Jeff Morales||45||Corona, CA||Arrested|
|30. Steven Pearce||49||Silverdale, WA||Arrested|
|31. Sohn Regas||36||Reno, NV||Arrested, Released|
|32. Daniel Roay||45||San Pablo, CA||Warrant Pending|
|33. Calvin Schaefer||34||Chandler, AZ||Arrested|
|34. Donald Smith||53||Bullhead, AZ||Arrested|
|35. Michael Smullen||46||Pinole, CA||Arrested|
|36. William Spearman||61||Anchorage, AK||Arrested|
|37. David Steely||36||Concord, CA||Arrested|
|38. George Walters||47||Kingman, AZ||Arrested|
|39. John Ward||42||Phoenix, AZ||Arrested|
|40. Brian Wendt||26||Tulare, CA||Arrested|
|41. Brian Wolff||40||Spokane, WA||Arrested|
|42. Jeff Zarate||52||Los Angeles, CA||Arrested|