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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Six Members And Associates Of The Hells Angels Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Racketeering, Narcotics, And Money Laundering Offenses

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI’), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging six members and associates of the Hells Angels with various racketeering, narcotics, and money laundering offenses, including the assault of a rival gang member with a hammer.

 

THOMAS SCHMIDT, JOSEPH KAPLAN, JOHN CALVACCHIO, JEFF AMATO, and GARY PAGANELLI were taken into federal custody this morning and were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy. MICHAEL PICCIONE was taken into federal custody this morning near Los Angeles, California, and will be presented later today before a magistrate judge in the Central District of California. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, through the sale of cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana and their violent conflict with rival gangs, members of the New Roc Hells Angels wreaked havoc on the streets of Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. Together with our law enforcement partners, we are determined to combat gang and drug violence throughout the Southern District of New York.”

 

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Violent gangs such as the Hells Angels often use violence and intimidation as a means to establish themselves or protect their ‘turf.’ In this case they allegedly used those tactics by attacking a rival gang member with a hammer in the middle of a restaurant and placing innocent people in danger. Regardless of the name these men operate under, the FBI Westchester Safe Streets Gang Task Force works daily to remove these alleged violent members of our society and to create a safer community for everyone.”

 

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains federal court[1] and in court proceedings:

 

The New Roc Hells Angels were a criminal enterprise that operated principally in and around Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, from at least 2008 up to and including August 2014. The New Roc Hells Angels’ objectives included narcotics trafficking, extortion, money laundering, contraband cigarettes, prostitution, and altered motor vehicle parts.

 

Members and associates of the New Roc Hells Angels engaged in acts of violence against rival gang members. One of these acts was a December 2012 gang assault committed against a rival motorcycle gang – the Diablos – where members and associates of the New Roc Hells Angels beat a member of the Diablos on the head with a hammer at a restaurant in Poughkeepsie, New York, while innocent bystanders were dining. This violent act was to retaliate against the Diablos, who had encroached on the territory controlled by the New Roc Hells Angels, and otherwise to promote the standing and reputation of the New Roc Hells Angels among rival gangs.

 

Count One of the Indictment charges THOMAS SCHMIDT, the former Vice-President of the New Roc Hells Angels, with participating in a racketeering conspiracy.

 

Count Two charges SCHMIDT and JOSEPH KAPLAN with assault in aid of racketeering activity in connection with the December 2012 assault of a member of a rival gang.

 

Count Three charges SCHMIDT, MICHALE PICCIONE, JOHN CALVACCHIO, JEFF AMATO, and GARY PAGANELLI with participating in a narcotics conspiracy, in connection with the distribution of cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana.

 

Count Four charges SCHMIDT and PICCIONE with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

 

Count Five charges PAGANELLI with possessing with intent to distribute and distributing cocaine.

 

Count Six charges AMATO with possessing with intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine.

 

* * *

 

Charts containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

 

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.

 

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney John P. Collins Jr. is in charge of the prosecution.

 

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

 

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTIES

1

Racketeering conspiracy

 

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

THOMAS SCHMIDT

Life in prison

 

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

2

Assault in aid of racketeering activity

 

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3)

THOMAS SCHMIDT

JOSEPH KAPLAN

20 years in prison

3

Narcotics conspiracy

 

21 U.S.C. § 846

THOMAS SCHMIDT

MICHAEL PICCIONE

JOHN CALVACCHIO

JEFF AMATO

GARY PAGANELLI

Life in prison

 

 

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

4

Money Laundering

Conspiracy

 

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)

THOMAS SCHMIDT

MICHAEL PICCIONE

 

20 years in prison

5

Possessing with Intent to Distribute and Distributing Cocaine

 

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(C)

GARY PAGANELLI

20 years in prison

6

Possessing with Intent to Distribute and Distributing Methamphetamine

 

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(C)

JEFF AMATO

20 years in prison

 

DEFENDANT

AGE

RESIDENCE

THOMAS SCHMIDT

52

Staten Island, NY

JOSEPH KAPLAN

30

Valhalla, NY

MICHAEL PICCIONE

33

Arieta, CA

JOHN CALVACCHIO, a/k/a “Uncle”

53

Kent, NY

JEFF AMATO

50

Mamaroneck, NY

GARY PAGANELLI

47

Cortlandt Manor, NY

 

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated March 16, 2017