Superseding Indictment Returned by Federal Grand Jury in Hells Angels Prosecution
Las Vegas, Nev. - The Federal Grand Jury in Las Vegas has returned a Superseding indictment against 44 members of the Hells Angels in relation to the violent confrontation between members of the Hells Angels and Mongols Motorcycle Clubs in Laughlin, Nevada, on April 27, 2002, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
The 32-count Superseding Indictment was returned by the Grand Jury on Tuesday, October 25, 2005, and has been sealed to allow investigating agents to execute arrest warrants. It adds two new defendants, RICK FABEL, age 48, of Spokane, Washington, and JASON PETERSON, age 31, of San Francisco, California, to the original 42 defendants charged in December 2003, as well as additional charges for attempted murder and using firearms to commit violence. Each defendant is charged with 19 counts of Violence in Aid of Racketeering (VCAR), 13 counts of Using and Carrying a Firearm During and In Relation to a Crime of Violence, and Criminal Forfeiture.
The Superseding Indictment alleges that the defendants, members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HMAC), conspired to assault and to attempt to murder Richard Nolan, Bengy Leyva, Enrique Munoz, Benjamin Silva, Raymond Santos, Roger Pinney, Davey Camargo, Mel Ramirez, and John Tully, at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, on April 27, 2002. The victims were either shot or stabbed, and one was struck in the head with a crescent wrench. The Superseding Indictment includes 12 additional counts of Using and Carrying a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence, for each assault and attempted murder committed with a firearm.
The Superseding Indictment alleges that the HAMC has 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 on several occasions between the two groups.
The Superseding 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 at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino or other locations 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. Three members of the Hells Angels and one member of the Mongols were killed in the incident.
If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison on each VCAR attempted murder charge; up to 20 years in prison on each VCAR assault charge; and a 10-year mandatory minimum period of imprisonment on each firearm charge.
Defendant FABEL was arrested without incident earlier this week in Spokane; defendant PETERSON was arrested without incident today in San Francisco. The first 22 defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the Superseding Indictment on Wednesday, November 16, 2005, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. The second 22 defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the Superseding Indictment on Thursday, November 17 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan.
Defendants ARNONE, EUNICE, COX, FOAKES, HANNIGAN, HARRAH, LEEDOM, REGAS, SCHAEFER, SMITH, and SMULLEN, are currently scheduled for trial beginning January 23, 2006. No trial dates have been set for the remaining defendants.
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.