Vice President of Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Charges
FRESNO, Calif. — Michael Shafer, 33, of Modesto, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Shafer was the Vice President of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Modesto in 2019. As part of a years-long investigation into the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, investigators obtained a court-authorized wiretap for Shafer’s phone. The wiretapped calls and messages showed that Shafer was conspiring to distribute marijuana and heroin. Specifically, in April 2019, Shafer conspired with a former Hells Angels member who was incarcerated in Pleasant Valley State Prison to smuggle heroin into prison.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Modesto Police Department, the Turlock Police Department, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson and Laurel Montoya are prosecuting the case.
Shafer is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Oct. 22. Shafer faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and a $5 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.