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Showing posts with label Hells Angels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hells Angels. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Are the #Bandidos Motorcycle Club the #Mafia on Two Wheels?

A federal jury will begin deliberating Tuesday whether the top two former national leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club headed a racketeering conspiracy and authorized or sanctioned members to commit extortion, robbery, assault, drug dealing and murder.

In closing arguments Monday of the nearly three-month trial in San Antonio, prosecutors painted Jeffrey Fay Pike, who was national president of the Bandidos from 2005 until January 2016, and then-vice president John Xavier Portillo, as crime bosses of a secretive gang of outlaw bikers who claimed Texas as their territory. But lawyers for Pike, 63, of Conroe, and Portillo, 58, of San Antonio, countered that the defendants headed a fraternal, social club of motorcycle enthusiasts, and that the group had some “bad apples” who committed crimes for which neither Pike nor Portillo are responsible.

"In their world, these defendants were kings,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Fuchs told the jury. “They led the Bandido nation ... where power, respect and territory mattered more than anything. ... It was under the direction of these two defendants, under the culture these two had built and sustained, that the Bandidos maintained that feeling of superiority.”

Fuchs argued that Pike and Portillo set wheels in motion that resulted in crimes like the killing by Bandidos of a man in Austin in 2006 who reportedly was trying to set up a chapter of the Hells Angels and intimidating, extorting or beating rival bikers over territory or wayward Bandidos who got crossways with the leadership.

“These kinds of acts are expected because that’s the Bandido way. That’s the culture,” Fuchs said. “This is the mafia on two wheels.”

Fuchs said the prosecution’s evidence showed Portillo served as a buffer, helping distance Pike from criminality. Fuchs said Pike sometimes met in secret with confidants like Portillo, and added that communication was compartmentalized — information was shared only with those who needed to know.

During the trial, three former national sergeants at arms — Justin Forster and Johnny “Downtown” Romo of San Antonio and William Gerald “Big G” Ojemann of Houston — testified about the inner workings of the Bandidos and how they carried out orders from Pike and Portillo for assaults, discipline and intimidation.

Pike and Portillo are named in a 13-count indictment. Both are charged with racketeering conspiracy, including authorizing attacks that included the December 2014 death of Geoffrey Brady, a supporter of the rival Cossacks Motorcycle Club who was beaten and shot at a Fort Worth bar by members of the Bandidos’ Fort Worth chapter.

Pike and Portillo are also charged with murder and use of a firearm in the aid of racketeering murder of the 2006 shooting of purported Hells Angels member Anthony Benesh. The two ex-leaders also are charged with passing down orders for a “war” against the Cossacks, who had been wearing patches on their vests saying “Texas.”

Among those assaults was a Cossack who was stripped of his biker vest after being beaten with a claw hammer west of Fort Worth in March 2015, the beatings of Cossacks members at a bar in Port Aransas in August 2015 and an unsuccessful attempt to find Cossacks in Crystal City, also in fall 2015.

The ex-Bandidos leaders are also accused of ordering Bandidos to go to Odessa as a show of force against the Cossacks in April 2015. Law officers said more than 200 Bandidos showed up, though police warned Cossacks before to leave the area and no confrontation ensued.

That incident took place five weeks before the infamous May 17, 2015, shootout involving Bandidos, Cossacks and police at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco in which nine bikers were killed and 20 others were injured.

“These defendants are not charged in that,” Fuchs said. “But it is important that a Bandido was killed there because it provides context to everything that happened afterwards. The intent was retribution.”

Portillo is also charged with murder in the January 2002 shooting death of Robert Lara, who had reportedly killed a Bandidos member months earlier. Portillo is also charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

If convicted, the pair could face up to life in federal prison without parole.

Pike’s lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, and Portillo’s lead attorney, Mark Stevens, cautioned the jury to not convict their clients based on “guilt by association” or “guilt by lifestyle.”

“In any group, there’s going to be some bad apples, but that doesn’t make the entire group a criminal enterprise,” DeGuerin said. “The Bandidos are not on trial”

DeGuerin called Pike a good family man who is not guilty.

“It is not enough that he is simply president of the Bandidos (to convict Pike),” DeGuerin argued. “He has to have some knowledge and intent. There was no evidence of that.”

DeGuerin said Pike was “an agent of change” who tried to reform the Bandidos by bringing in more mainstream members of society and doing away with how the club referred to women as “property.” DeGuerin also said Pike split the club’s U.S. chapters from those in Canada, Europe and Australia because he disliked that they had done some “bad things.”

DeGuerin and Stevens each attacked the credibility of the government’s key witnesses, claiming they lied and implicated Pike and Portillo so the witnesses could avoid charges or long prison time for crimes that included murder.

“Without those witnesses, there’s not much meat on the bone,” Stevens said.

Stevens argued that there was no physical evidence to prove Portillo was involved in most of the crimes listed in the indictment. But Stevens said Portillo, who was convicted of possession of less than a gram of cocaine in 2006, admits to one of the charges — being a felon with a firearm — because agents found guns in Portillo’s Southeast San Antonio home when they arrested him in January 2016.

Stevens also said Portillo won’t challenge evidence that white powder agents found in the raid was 1 ounce of cocaine, but Stevens left it to jurors to decide if Portillo is guilty of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, or a lesser included offense of simple possession.

“John Portillo did not murder anybody,” Stevens said. “He’s not a big time drug dealer and he was not at war, in the offensive sense, with anybody.”

Thursday, December 07, 2017

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia - A Quality Work by @NateHendley

From the James gang to Nicky Barnes to John Gotti, the American gangster has become an iconic outsized American archetype, with the real criminals sometimes rivaling their fictional counterparts—like the Corleones and the Sopranos—for their ability to captivate the public and attain genuine folk antihero status.

A detailed compendium of American gangsters and gangs from the end of the Civil War to the present day.

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia, ranges from Western outlaws revered as Robin Hoods to the Depression’s flamboyant bootleggers and bank robbers to the late 20th century’s drug kingpins and “Dapper Dons.” It is the first comprehensive resource on the gangster’s historical evolution and unshakable grip on the American imagination.

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia, tells the stories of a number of famous gangsters and gangs—Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the Black Hand, Al Capone, Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels, the Mafia, Crips and Bloods, and more. Avoiding sensationalism, the straightforward entries include biographical portraits and historical background for each subject, as well as accounts of infamous robberies, killings, and other events, all well documented with both archival newspapers and extensive research into the files of the FBI. Readers will understand the families, the places, and the times that produced these monumental criminals, as well as the public mindset that often found them sympathetic and heroic.

Features

  • Comprises 50 alphabetically organized entries on American gangsters and gangs from the post-Civil War era to the present
  • Offers a wealth of primary sources, including newspaper articles dating back to the 1880s and FBI files obtained by the author
  • Includes photographs of prominent American gangsters and the aftermaths of their crimes
  • Presents a glossary of gangster slang, past and present
  • Provides a comprehensive index

Highlights

  • Spans the whole history of the gangster in the United States, from the post-Civil War era to the present
  • Features the insights and writing skills of an accomplished author of crime books
  • Makes the connection between gangsters from different eras
  • Dispels a number of misconceptions about gangsters and the destruction they cause

Nate Hendley is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Canada. His published works include Greenwood's Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography, Crystal Meth: North America's #1 Drug Problem, Al Capone: Chicago's King of Crime, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, and Edwin Alonzo Boyd: Life and Crimes of Canada's Master Bank Robber.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Iced: The Story of Organized Crime In Canada

If police really want to end the gang war raging throughout the Lower Mainland, they might want to have a sit-down with the Hell's Angels.

That is one of the more provocative suggestions by criminologist Stephen Schneider, who has written a new book called Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada.

"The most powerful criminal group in B.C. is probably the Hell's Angels," Schneider said. "They have a lot of ties to the United Nations gang, so they could possibly step in and end the violence."

Born and raised in Richmond, Schneider now teaches criminology at St. Mary's University in Halifax. He went to Steveston secondary. His parents, Werner and Shirley, still live in Richmond.

In an interview with the News, Schneider said organized crime has deep roots in Canada -- largely tied to smuggling -- and is not going to go away.

"If you are going to outlaw certain vices and certain substances that are in high demand -- like cocaine or marijuana -- you're going to have organized crime, and you're going to get violence. And you just have accept this is the reality."

Not that Schneider believes legalizing drugs is necessarily the answer. But neither is what he calls "ad hoc, piecemeal" laws like the Conservative government's new crime bill, which includes minimum sentences for some crimes.

For one thing, punitive measures don't have much of a deterrent on the lower echelon criminals who carry out the grunt work for organized crime, largely due to their upbringing. "It may deter you and me, but it is not going to deter the chronic offender," he said.

The biggest impact of the crime bill may be on prosecutors. "The prosecutorial services are just completely overwhelmed," he said. "By bringing in minimum sentencing, what you've done is create even more work for the prosecutors."

Richmond has been spared the recent spate of gang slayings, although it still has a significant organized crime presence, Schneider said.

The gangs here are largely Asian -- not surprising, given its demographics, he added.

Schneider said he is surprised by all the "hand-wringing" over the recent spate of gang-related shootings in the Lower Mainland.

The public is reacting like this is something new, when in fact gang wars have been erupting in Canada for the last couple of decades, he said. "It was ignored and downplayed by police officials and politicians for years, and now it's caught up to us and sort of bit us on the ass," he said. "Now we're dealing with the aftermath of a lot of neglect."

Schneider said there has been more gangland violence in the last 20 years than any other period in our history.

He blames the recent trend, in part, on a rising "underclass" that has produced a generation of young men coming from poverty and broken homes who are easily drawn into the criminal lifestyle.

He said the few countries that have had success fighting organized crime are countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland, which have put resources into addressing the root causes of crime. "They're fairly crime-free because they have such a strong social welfare system."

Schneider has studied the roots of organized crime in Canada and found they go back as far as the 17th century, when pirates operated of the Atlantic coast.

The one constant in organized crime here is smuggling.

Canada was the back door for smuggling booze into the U.S. during prohibition. And whereas today B.C. is famous for its marijuana, at the turn of the century B.C. was famous for producing opium.

With three vast coastlines to police, Schneider said Canada simply does not have the resources to stop the smuggling of drugs, or any other contraband, that fuels organized crime.

He concedes there may be some legitimacy to the criticism -- the U.S. being our harshest critics -- that Canadian laws and immigration policies are too lax and help fuel the drug trade that is the bread and butter for organized crime.

"I do believe that the lenient prosecution of marijuana traffickers may help the proliferation of the industry," he said. "But on the converse of that, there's no evidence whatsoever that strong punitive penalties have any impact on organized crime. If that were the case, then China and the United States and Russia would be the most crime-free countries in the world and they're not."

If there is any hope of ending the current gang war in B.C., it may come -- ironically enough -- from organized crime itself. "Quite frankly, law enforcement is quite limited in what they can do," Schneider said.

Gang wars draw a lot of heat, and sometimes prompt the more powerful organized crime leaders to step in because it is bad for business.

In the 1990s, a biker war in Quebec resulted in 160 deaths.

Schneider said it is widely believed that it was Montreal Mafia boss -- Vito Rizzuto -- who stepped in and helped put a stop to the killings. And in the 1980s, Schneider said it is believed some high-powered crime bosses from China intervened in a gang war raging in Vancouver among Asian gangs.

He said the Hell's Angels may well be the organization best position to put a stop to the blood feud going on.

He believes B.C. has been spared the kind of biker wars Quebec has suffered because the Hell's Angels are in control here. "There was never any biker war in B.C. because the Hell's Angels were the only biker gang in town. They controlled everything."

Thanks to Nelson Bennett

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Organized Crime, Led by Hells Angels, the Mafia, and Street Gangs, Dominates Towing Industry via Violence

It often starts with a vaguely menacing phone call, meant to deter newcomers from doing business in a certain area of the city. Then come the violent threats, trucks set alight, garages vandalized and even people beaten up, in some cases.

Those are the kinds of stories Montreal Inspector General Denis Gallant heard while conducting an investigation into the city's towing industry, which he likened to the wild west.

The best way to deter organized crime from infiltrating the industry, he said, is to implement a controlled system across the 19 boroughs. "We'll have more regulations, and organized crime will say, 'I don't want to go in that business anymore because there's no value for us,'" he said.

Gallant got more than 100 tow-truck operators to confide in him about the violence and intimidation they encounter daily from the Hells Angels, the Mafia and street gangs. He said he heard about tow-truck business owners compelled to pay protection money to organized crime or threatened when they tried to tow cars in areas run by other companies. "Honest people don't want to continue business in Montreal because they're scared," he said.

Gallant blames the situation on the fact that the towing business is a "lucrative" one, and boroughs no longer designate a specific company for police and firefighters to call when there's an accident or a driver's car is seized.

Under the old contracts, tow-truck operators would get a fixed price of around $100 for a towing job, but in the absence of those contracts, the cost of towing has skyrocketed.

Gallant said he spoke to someone who paid $400 to have his car towed four kilometres.

"Organized crime [is] there for only one thing — make money, and good money," he said.

Gallant wants the city to return to that controlled system, which would include mandatory background checks and impose a set price on towing jobs.

Mayor Denis Coderre says before the city can harmonize the regulations, it needs the province to pass a decree, something he doesn't expect to take long.​

Thanks to CBC.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Assassinations & Firebombs on Rise as Mobsters Fight to be Boss, Hells Angels could be Winner

Once feared and respected within the underworld, Montreal's Mafia has become a shadow of its former self as rival clans battle each other to see which Mob boss will become the city's next godfather.The civil war within the Montreal Mob is being played out in a series of assassinations and, increasingly, firebombings of businesses linked to Mafia associates.

Police suspect Mafia activity was behind at least 13 firebombings in the greater Montreal region last year, almost double the seven they identified in 2015, said a communications officer for the Montreal police.

The latest case of Mafia-linked arson may have occurred Monday morning, when a strip mall in Laval's Vimont neighbourhood went up in flames. Police are describing the fire as "suspicious."

Among the four businesses that were destroyed was Streakz Coiffure, a hair salon owned by Caterina Miceli. Another one of Miceli's salons was firebombed last week.Miceli is married to Carmelo Cannistraro, who was arrested in 2006 as part of an RCMP-led crackdown on the Mafia.

RCMP documents submitted to Quebec's Charbonneau inquiry list Cannistraro as an associate of Frank Arcadi, one of the Mafia bosses in the Rizzuto clan.


The spate of firebombings has been accompanied by a series of grisly killings around the Montreal area, largely targeting those linked to Vito Rizzuto, the one-time godfather who turned the city's Mafia into one of the most successful organized crime operations in North America.

Rizzuto, known as the Teflon Don, pleaded guilty in an American court to racketeering charges in 2007 in exchange for a 10-year sentence in connection with the 1981 murders of three alleged gang leaders at a New York social club.He died of natural causes in 2013, 15 months after his release from a Colorado prison. Other members of his clan haven't been so fortunate. 

Last October, Vincenzo Spagnolo was shot to death at his home, also in Laval's Vimont neighbourhood. Organized crime experts say Spagnolo, 65, served as the right-hand man to Rizzuto. At the time, provincial police said Spagnolo's death appeared to be the result of a "settling of accounts" within the Mafia.

Last May Rocco Sollecito was gunned down while driving his BMW SUV through Laval.

He was suspected of acting as an adviser to Vito Rizzuto's son Leonardo, who allegedly took over from his father. The younger Rizzuto is currently behind bars, awaiting trial on gangsterism and drug-trafficking charges.

Leonardo's brother, Nick Jr., and grandfather, Nicolo, were shot dead in 2009 and 2010 respectively. 


​In the early days of the bloodletting, it was unclear to observers who was behind the violence: street gangs, the Hells Angels and Mafia clans from outside the city were all tossed around as possibilities. But Pierre de Champlain, a former organized-crime analyst for the RCMP, increasingly believes the violence is coming from within the Montreal Mafia's own ranks.

The Rizzutos, originally from Sicily, took charge of the Mafia after wrestling power away from the Cotronis, from Calabria, in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Nicolo Rizzuto managed to successfully transfer the crown to his son, Vito. Under their leadership, de Champlain said, Montreal became an important hub in the international drug trade, a way-station for cocaine on its way to the U.S. But Vito's death created a vacuum. And the ongoing violence is a sign no one has been able to establish himself as a strong leader in his place, someone capable of earning the respect of the various factions within the Mob.

"We may suspect at the moment that the so-called Calabrian faction has an advantage because the Sicilian factions have been severely hit with casualties over the last years," de Champlain said.

"So you might think that the Calabrian factions might be behind these fires, but that doesn't mean the Sicilians are not responding to this."

As the war wages within the Mafia, if indeed that is what's happening, other organized crime groups have been able to reassert themselves.

This has notably been the case with the Hells Angels, which — after being weakened by police arrests and internal conflicts of their own — have emerged once again as a force within Quebec's underworld.

"There is no war against them, and they are not at war with anyone," de Champlain said.

"The longer their war goes on, the more the Mafia is weakened."

Thanks to Jonathan Montpetit.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Former Boss of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club forsees Hells Angels Takeover of Chicago

“God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t.”

That’s the menacing motto of the Outlaws motorcycle club, formed in the Chicago area in 1935, now with chapters and thousands of members around the world. But in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, a former Outlaws leader says the group isn’t nearly as fearsome or dominant as it used to be in Illinois. “The times have changed,” says Peter “Big Pete” James, 62, who lives in the west suburbs. “Somehow, there’s no testosterone out there.”

James hung up his Outlaws vest — black leather with a skull and crossed pistons patch — last year amid an internal dispute with other local leaders and his own ongoing fight with cancer.

Contrary to the biker rumor mill, James isn’t returning to the fray, he told the Sun-Times. His wide-ranging interview was unusual because so-called “1-percenter” bikers generally are loath to talk publicly about their business.

Watching from the sidelines, James says that maybe the biggest indication his old club is slipping involves the rise of the rival Hells Angels motorcycle club, which he believes is poised to overtake the Outlaws as the big-dog biker group in the Chicago area — an unthinkable development not long ago.

He predicts — but insists he isn’t advocating — renewed conflict between the two groups resulting from the shifting dynamic.

An attorney for the Outlaws responds only, “There wouldn’t be any comment at this time.” The Hells Angels didn’t respond to inquiries.

Back in the 1990s, the Outlaws and Hells Angels — both which have weathered intense federal prosecutions and allegations they’re nothing more than gangs on wheels involved in drug dealing and mayhem — were locked in “war” in Chicago, as the Hells Angels made a foray into the region, the Outlaws’ long-established turf.

After a series of bombings, shootings and stabbings, the rival clubs formed a fragile truce. The Hells Angels, formed in 1948 in California, gave up their attempt to put a clubhouse within the Chicago city limits and, instead, planted a flag in Harvey, remaining there today.

Since then, the Outlaws have maintained a stronghold in Chicago, with a South Side clubhouse at 25th and Rockwell and a North Side clubhouse on Division Street. It also has several other chapters in northern Illinois.

As regional vice president, James had domain over all of them and also was president of the North Siders. In all, he says there were maybe 100 hard-core members in northern Illinois. But James says smart moves by the Hells Angels — plus waves of prosecutions, poor leadership by some current Outlaws and changing times and attitudes — have changed things.

For one, James says local Outlaws are less willing to take orders from the top. “It used to be the boss’ word was law,” he says. “He says, ‘Ride off the cliff,’ and guys would ride off a cliff. The quality of the members has gone down.”

Fear of prison has also had an impact on some local club leaders, according to James, who’s critical of his old group for not being “entrepreneurial.”

Unlike the Outlaws, Hells Angels members are Internet-savvy, with the group’s local Facebook page accumulating more than 29,000 “likes” and the club selling T-shirts and other merchandise on its website. The Hells Angels also have made money by holding parties at its Harvey clubhouse and at bars in the Chicago area, according to James, who says the club welcomes “civilians” and members of smaller biker clubs to their parties.

“The Outlaws are losing out on the party money,” he says, along with the chance to market themselves and gain supporters.

Chicago-area law enforcement officials periodically have cracked down on both clubs. They say they’ve been preoccupied with other groups in recent years — especially the African-American gang factions behind Chicago’s staggering 50 percent rise in murders this year.

It was more than a decade ago when federal authorities charged Melvin Chancey, the former president of the Chicago-area Hells Angels, with racketeering and drug trafficking.

The last major Chicago law-enforcement crackdown of the Outlaws was more than five years ago. Chicago Outlaws member Mark Polchan was convicted of orchestrating a 2003 bombing outside C & S Coin Operated Amusements, a video-poker business in Berwyn that reputed mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno wanted to destroy to protect his own gambling interests. The pipe bomb blew out windows and damaged the building.

Polchan, who also was accused of fencing stolen jewelry for the mob at his Cicero pawnshop, was sentenced in 2011 to 60 years in federal prison.

James describes Polchan as his one-time “confidant” and says, “I love him.”

He says he has continued to receive occasional visits from federal agents looking for information on the biker world that he says he’s unwilling to give. “I try to be polite, to a point,” he says.

He figures his former club isn’t engaged in criminal activity at the same level as in the old days. Drug dealing, he says, worries graying members who don’t want to face a prison stretch lasting decades.

Even if things seem more low-key, though, “It doesn’t mean there’s not violence,” James says. “It’s just not as flagrant.” But there have been reports of Outlaws roughing up members of weaker Hispanic biker clubs in the Chicago area since James left. The apparent aim: to force them to ally more closely with the Outlaws, which has long enjoyed a “support system” from other clubs.

James says there’s nothing wrong with building alliances, but it’s stupid to enlist “Neanderthal” methods, adding, “They’re not thinking it through.”

James says that when he was in charge, he created a confederation of dozens of biker clubs, part of an effort “to change the stereotype.”

He says the TV show “Sons of Anarchy,” which aired on FX from 2008 to 2014, popularized but also caused headaches for “1-percenter” biker clubs — so-called for representing the 1 percent of bikers supposedly involved in crime.

“I watched the show,” he says, laughing. “It was like an Outfit guy watching ‘The Sopranos.’ Kind of a joke.”

Fans of the show about a criminal biker group in California formed their own clubs and made pilgrimages to the Outlaws clubhouse on Division Street to ask James to “sanction” them. James says he refused to avoid giving the feds a reason to charge him with racketeering.

He says those newbies might dress the part and ride around on Harleys but don’t share 1-percenters’ “toughness.”

Jay Dobyns got a firsthand look at the 1-percenter lifestyle when he infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona as an undercover ATF agent in the early 2000s. No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels.

“These guys are not book smart but have their Ph.Ds in violence and intimidation,” says Dobyns, now retired and living in Arizona. “I think the term ‘brotherhood’ is very easily thrown around in today’s society. We hear it and use it a lot. They take it to a life-and-death level. When I was with the club, there were guys who would have stepped in front of a bullet for me. Now, they want to put a bullet in me.”

Dobyns says he crossed paths with Chancey — “one of the true believers that the elimination of the enemy was a critical part of the mission, the survival of their own club. In that area, the enemy was the Outlaws.”

The continued animosity between the Hells Angels and Outlaws makes James’ recent friendship with George Christie an unlikely one. Christie is a former high-ranking Hells Angels leader who left the group in 2011 and was “excommunicated.”

Christie and James both have appeared on CNN to offer their expertise on biker life and both wrote books on the subject — James’ memoir is expected to be released next year.

James says the main reason he wrote the book was to show how far things have slipped in what he regards as a once-noble brotherhood and to spur change in leadership and attitudes among the Outlaws in Illinois.

“It used to be guys banded together who believed in something, and they had fun,” James says. “There’s no brotherhood left in the Outlaws any more.”

He says the Outlaws in Chicago have a choice to make as their rival grows and encroaches. “The choice is fight or flight,” he says. “They know the Angels will push them out of town. Who’s going to light the match?”

James says he won’t be on the front lines if that happens. Last year, he had his “God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t” tattoo covered up with a new design. “I’m borderline ashamed already to say I was once one,” he says.

Thanks to Robert Herguth and Frank Main.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hells Angels Biker Gang Readying a Comeback

The weekend funeral of a Hells Angel member provided valuable information for law enforcement officers monitoring the group's attempt to rebuild after being decimated by arrests, said several organized crime experts.

Kenny B├ędard, 51, had only recently become a full member of the biker gang when he was killed in a road accident in New Brunswick last month.But his newcomer status didn't seem to matter to the hundreds of gang members who gathered at a church in Pointe-Saint-Charles for the funeral on Saturday. 

The funeral doubled as a strategic bit of theatre, said one expert, who pointed out the gang has been in restructuring mode since a large police operation in 2009 that led to the arrests of more than 150 members.


"It was a chance for the bikers to show that they're close to each other and at the same time, a demonstration of their strength to other bikers who are their enemies," said Pierre de Champlain, a historian of organized crime in Montreal.

"It shows, 'Us bikers, we are in control of the territory in terms of the sale of drugs.'"

On Saturday, police officers could be seen taking footage of gang members gathering outside the church — a sign, said another expert, that law enforcement is readying itself for the gang's resurgence."These guys are returning," said Guy Ryan, a former organized crime investigator with Montreal police. "They will start reconquering their territory and selling drugs."

Several experts noted the Hells appeared to be no longer keeping a low profile, as they had in the years after Operation SharQc in 2009.

Sylvain Tremblay, a former provincial police officer, believes the gang was emboldened by the failure to prosecute some of the more high-profile cases that stemmed from those arrests.

Five Hells Angels picked up in 2009 on murder and conspiracy charges were released last year when a judge ruled the Crown had violated rules on sharing evidence with the defence."We could say that 2016, even the end of 2015, saw the return of the Hells Angels," Tremblay told Radio-Canada. "I think we'll be seeing them more and more in Quebec."

Thanks to CBC.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Former Olympian, Current Hells Angel, Shot while Riding Motorcycle

Phil Boudreault, the Sudbury boxer who became an unlikely hero at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta and a longtime, high-ranking Hells Angels member, was reportedly shot while riding his motorcycle near Lachute, Que. on Saturday morning.

Sources say he suffered a punctured lung in the attack, which officers from the Surete de Quebec believe was linked to organized crime.

Police have not named the shooting victim, but according to QMI Agency, sources have identified him as Boudreault, a 41-year-old Sudbury native and vice-president for the Hells Angels Ontario Nomads who had been living in Quebec.

According to QMI, SQ spokeswoman Audrey-Anne Bilodeau said "the motorcyclist was seriously injured and was rushed to a hospital, but there is no fear for his life."

Sudbury sources have also identified Boudreault as the man who was shot.

Gord Apolloni, head coach at Top Glove Boxing Academy in Sudbury and Boudreault's former trainer, said he received calls on Sunday confirming the news. "He was going to a bike show near Montreal," Apolloni said. "He was lucky that his girlfriend didn't get shot, because she was on the back of the bike."

Apolloni said he was told Boudreault's injuries were serious and that he might have shrapnel in his spine.

Apolloni said he hasn't seen or spoken with Boudreault in some time, but said "it was a scary thought, knowing he could have been killed." "He has gone off on his own at this point, but I still remember Phil the way that Phil was at the Olympic Games. I still remember him living on his own and trying to clean his life up. That's how I remember Phil."

Police were called at around 10:30 a.m. about an incident on Bethany Road. A man was found lying in a ditch, his motorcycle at his side.

The assailants reportedly fled in an older, gray-blue SUV, which police are trying to locate.

"We heard maybe 10-15 shots," a witness, who did not want to be identified, told QMI Agency in French. "After that, there was a truck that passed us quite quickly and he left."

CTV News in Montreal reported a resident who lives nearby and who did not want to be named said he heard bangs and then a series of rapid-fire shots. He ran to the road and found the biker in pain and lying on the road with a woman at his side, CTV reported.

A second motorcyclist who was riding with them came and dragged the victim away to a ditch, the resident said. The resident spoke to the victim – an anglophone – who told him he is a member of the Hells Angels, CTV reported.

Boudreault had been seen last November at a funeral for one of the founding members of the Hells Angels in Montreal, Lionel Deschamps, in Repentigny, Que., QMI reported, and wore a jacket emblazoned with a Nomads "vice-president" badge.

Dubbed "The Sudbury Sensation," Boudreault represented Canada in the light welterweight division at the 1996 Summer Olympics and became a hero both locally and nationally for a time for his spirited showing in Atlanta.

Since then, however, he has spent much of his time getting in trouble with the law, including a brutal bar attack in 2005.

In 2013, he told a Sudbury court he planned to leave Sudbury after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for violating his long-term supervision order. "My wife is a schoolteacher," Boudreault said after receiving the jail term. "We're moving. We're out of here … I will pack my bags and be out of this community for good … "I have overstayed my welcome, obviously.”

The former boxer was declared a long-term offender in August 2005, after he was found guilty of a vicious assault on a Valley East father and son in March, 2004. One of the victims suffered a broken jaw in three places, the loss of some teeth and part of his jawbone, and bruised ribs.

In August 2007, Boudreault was placed on a five-year long-term supervision order after completing a two-year prison term for the assault. The Crown had sought to have him declared a dangerous offender.

Boudreault made several attempts to resume his boxing career and compiled a 5-1 record as a professional, but couldn’t stay out of legal trouble.

"I still believe I can perform on the world stage,'' Boudreault told The Star during a training session at the Valley East Boxing Club's facilities in 2009. "I'm not saying I'm going to win a world title, but I believe I can compete at that level.''

Less than a year later, Boudreault was in jail in Sudbury.

Boudreault impressed boxing aficionados with his performance at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, finishing fourth in his weight class and coming within a whisker of winning a bronze medal. Many observers believed he should have won a medal, but was shortchanged by the judges' decision in his final bout.

Thanks to Sudbury Star.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

President of Hells Angels Convicted

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced that Richard W. Mar, 64, of Monterey, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $2,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that, from 2002 through July 2010, Mar – the President of the Hell’s Angels, Monterey (California) Charter at the time – supplied significant quantities of methamphetamine to a methamphetamine trafficking network operating in the Western District of New York.  The leader of the network was James H. McAuley, Jr. – a member and Vice President of the Rochester Hell’s Angels.  During the conspiracy, McAuley and other members of the conspiracy traveled to the Monterey, California, on numerous occasions to obtain pound-size quantities of methamphetamine from Mar, in exchange for cash. The methamphetamine was be transported and/or shipped from California to the Rochester area, where other members of the conspiracy would sell and distribute it to their customers.

In April 2007, McAuley was arrested on federal racketeering charges in the Northern District of New York. After his arrest and incarceration, McAuley continued to maintain control over the methamphetamine trafficking operation. Mar, acting at the direction of McAuley, distributed pound-size quantities of methamphetamine to McAuley’s wife, Donna Boon. Boon and other members of the conspiracy sold and distributed the methamphetamine to individuals in the Rochester area, Genesee County, and other locales. Mar, who admitted to trafficking up to 15 kilograms of methamphetamine during the course of the conspiracy, continued to supply the methamphetamine trafficking network until July 2010.

The plea is part of a larger investigation that resulted in the indictment and arrest of members and associates of the Rochester and Monterey (California) Hell's Angels for drug trafficking and racketeering-related offenses in February 2012. Seven defendants – including Mar – were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. All of the defendants – Mar; McAuley, Boon; Gordon L. Montgomery; Jeffrey A. Tyler; Richard E. Riedman; and Paul Griffin, have been convicted. Judge Siragusa sentenced Griffin to probation and Riedman to 37 months in prison; the remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing.

Rochester Hell's Angels member Robert W. Moran, Jr., a/k/a Bugsy, was convicted of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity. Gina Tata was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to the conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity.  Defendant Timothy M. Stone was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to the assault.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Hell’s Angel Pleads Guilty To Armed Assault

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced that Robert W. Moran, Jr., 63, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Gina Tata, 52, also of Rochester, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the crime of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity. That charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $125,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that on May 31, 2006, Moran – a member and officer of the Rochester Hell’s Angels – assaulted a patron at Spenders Bar on Lyell Avenue in Rochester with a baseball bat. The defendant beat the patron in the head and body after the patron made disparaging remarks about motorcycle clubs, including the Hell’s Angels. At the time of the assault, Moran was a member of the Rochester Hell’s Angels, which was an enterprise the members of which were engaged in racketeering activity, including drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit murder. The defendant committed the assault in order to maintain his position in the Rochester Hell’s Angels.
     
Gina Tata, who was the bartender at Spenders Bar at the time of the assault, tried to help Moran escape arrest and prosecution for the assault. After hearing the comments made by the patron, Tata called a member of the Rochester Hell’s Angels, leading to the eventual beating of the victim by Moran.  In the aftermath of the attack, Tata took several steps to help Moran avoid apprehension by law enforcement authorities, including lying to the police about the identities of the perpetrator of the assault. Tata also counseled another eyewitness to not give the police a good description of the perpetrator and to not identify Moran. Also, in the early morning hours after the assault, Tata let an associate of the Rochester Hell’s Angels into Spenders Bar to retrieve a hard drive containing recordings of the interior surveillance cameras at the bar. In May 2007, a year after the assault, Tata lied to the FBI about the perpetrators of the assault, describing them as tall, young Hispanic males, and falsely told the FBI that she used the phone at Spenders Bar only to call 911 and the owner of the bar.

These pleas are part of a larger investigation that resulted in the indictment and arrest of members and associates of the Rochester and Monterey (California) Hell's Angels for drug trafficking and racketeering-related offenses in February 2012. Hell's Angels President Richard W. Mar, and Jeffrey A. Tyler, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Five other defendants – Henry McCauley, Donna Boon, Paul Griffin, Richard E. Riedman, and Gordon L. Montgomery – were convicted for their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy. Judge Siragusa sentenced Griffin to probation and  Riedman to 37 months in prison. McCauley, Boon and Montomgery are awaiting sentencing. Another defendant, Timothy M. Stone, was convicted and of being an accessory after the fact to the assault and conspiracy, and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hell’s Angels Associate Sentenced For Destroying Evidence

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced that Timothy M. Stone, 36, of East Rochester, NY, who was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to an assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, was sentenced to 12 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that in the late night hours on May 31, 2006, a male patron at Spenders Bar in Rochester was assaulted with a baseball bat. At the time, Spenders Bar was equipped with interior surveillance cameras that recorded the area in the bar where the assault occurred. The recordings were stored on a computer hard drive. In the early morning hours on June 1, 2006, Stone – knowing that others had committed the assault with the baseball bat in aid of racketeering – went to Spenders Bar, forcibly removed the hard drive, and took the hard drive from the bar. The defendant later destroyed the hard drive and the baseball bat used to commit the assault to assist the perpetrators of the assault in order to prevent their apprehension by the police.

This case was part of a larger investigation that resulted in the indictment and arrest of members and associates of the Rochester and Monterey (California) Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, for drug trafficking and racketeering-related offenses in February 2012.  Monterey (California) Hell's Angels President Richard W. Mar, Rochester Hell's Angels members James H. McAuley, Jr., of Oakfield, NY, and Jeffrey A. Tyler, of Rochester, and Donna Boon, of Oakfield, NY, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Three other defendants – Paul Griffin, of Blasdell, NY, Richard E. Riedman, of Webster, NY, and Gordon L. Montgomery, of Batavia, NY – were convicted for their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy. Griffin was sentenced to probation and Riedman to 37 months in prison. Montgomery will be sentenced on May 3, 2016.

Rochester Hell's Angels member Robert W. Moran, Jr., of Rochester, along with Gina Tata, also of Rochester, are charged in the same indictment with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, and McAuley, Moran and Tata are charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity.  In addition, Tata is charged with being an accessory after the fact to the assault and conspiracy.

A jury trial for the remaining six defendants – Mar, McAuley, Moran, Boon, Tyler and Tata – is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2016, before U.S District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Leader of Hells Angels Pleads Guilty to Federal Crimes in Connection with Brutal Assault

The leader of the Salem Chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to criminal charges in connection with the assault and maiming of a former member of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club.

Sean Barr, 50, of Lynn, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to conspiring to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering, maiming in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and assault resulting serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering. On Feb. 5, 2015, three co-defendants, Marc Eliason, 37, of Lynn; Robert DeFronzo, 47, of Saugus; and Brian Weymouth, 42, of Danvers, pleaded guilty to similar charges. Eliason and DeFronzo were members of the Salem Hells Angels and Weymouth was a member of the Red Devils. The Red Devils Motorcycle Club is a support club of the Hells Angels.

Barr, Eliason, DeFronzo and Weymouth were involved in luring the victim, who was targeted for failing to follow orders issued by the Salem Hells Angels, and assaulting the victim. The victim was targeted because he failed to assault a former member of the Salem Hells Angels, who had been “put out bad” from the Hells Angels. At the Byfield clubhouse, the victim was surrounded by the defendants and beaten. During the assault, Barr used a ballpeen hammer, a favored weapon of the Hells Angels, to maim the victim by breaking a number of bones in the victim’s hand. Eliason and Weymouth then stole the victim’s motorcycle.

The charging statutes provide a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on the charge of conspiring to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering; 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on the charge of maiming in aid of racketeering; 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on the charge of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; and 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on the charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering. Pursuant to their respective plea agreements with the government, and pending acceptance by the district court at sentencing, Barr and Eliason have each agreed to sentences of 97 months in prison, and DeFronzo and Weymouth have each agreed to sentences of 57 months in prison.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tonight, @JayDobyns, Author of "No Angel", Discusses his Hells Angels Undercover Journey on Crime Beat Radio

Jay Dobyns, author of No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels, discusses his book tonight on Crime Beat Radio.

Getting shot through the chest as a rookie ATF agent, bartering for machine guns, throttling down the highway at 100 miles per hour, and responding to a full-scale, bloody riot between the Hells Angels and their rivals, the Mongols...these are just a few of the high-adrenaline experiences Jay Dobyns recounts in this action-packed, hard-to-imagine yet true story of how he infiltrated the legendary Hells Angels.

Dobyns leaves no stone of his harrowing journey unturned. On biker runs and at gang clubhouses, between rides and riots, Dobyns befriends bad-ass bikers, meth-fueled "old ladies," gun fetishists, psycho-killer ex-cons, and even some of the "Filthy Few" - the elite of the Hells Angels who've committed extreme violence on behalf of their club. Eventually, at parties staged behind heavily armed security, he meets legendary members like Chuck Zito, Johnny Angel, and the Godfather of bikers, Ralph "Sonny" Barger.

To blend in, Dobyns gets "sleeved" (full-arm ink). To win their respect, he vows to prove himself a stone-cold "killer". Hardest of all is leading a double life, torn between devotion to wife and children and his pledge to become the first federal agent to become a fully "patched" member of the Angels' previously-impregnable ranks. His act is so convincing that he comes within a hairsbreadth of losing himself. Eventually, he realizes that as he's been infiltrating the Hells Angels, they've been infiltrating him. And just as they're not all bad, he's not all good.

Reminiscent of Donnie Brasco's uncovering of the true Mafia, this eye-opening portrait of the outlaw biker world is one of the most in-depth since Hunter Thompson's seminal work. "No Angel" viscerally describes the seductive lure of criminal camaraderie for men who would otherwise be powerless, marginalized outsiders. Here is all the nihilism, hate, and intimidation, but also the freedom and brotherhood of the only truly American brand of organized crime.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lorne Campbell, Satan's Choice and #HellsAngels to be Discussed on Crime Beat Radio

On May 16thUnrepentant: The Strange and (Sometimes) Terrible Life of Lorne Campbell, Satan's Choice and Hells Angels Biker, Lorne Campbell and Pete Edwards discuss their book, Unrepentant: The Strange and (Sometimes) Terrible Life of Lorne Campbell, Satan's Choice and Hells Angels Biker on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

John "Big Man" Venizelos Scheduled to Plead Guilty to Narcotics Trafficking, #BonannoCrimeFamily #HellsAngels

A Bonanno crime family associate charged with joining a Canadian drug lord to become one of New York City's largest marijuana suppliers is scheduled to plea guilty to narcotics trafficking charges.

John "Big Man" Venizelos, 33, is believed to have secured a plea deal from Brooklyn federal prosecutors that will significantly reduce his time in prison - averting the life sentence he faced if convicted at trial, sources said. But because Venizelos honored the mob's omerta code of silence and refused to hand over information to the feds, sources said, he's expected to face approximately 10-14 years in prison when sentenced eventually by Brooklyn federal Judge Raymond Dearie.

Venizelos - who sports horn-rimmed glasses and wears Ralph Lauren Polo ensembles - held a "straight job" before his arrest managing "Jaguars 3", a Brooklyn nightspot run by Vincent "Vinny Green" Faraci, a Bonanno crime family soldier. The nightclub, located in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, attracts patrons that have included several cast members of "The Sopranos” — including Tony Sirico, who portrayed the fictional mob family's “Paulie Walnuts”.

It was his sideline as an alleged drug trafficker, however, that attracted attention to Venizelos. He was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents earlier this year and charged with being one of the biggest New York customers of French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer.

Cournoyer - who is awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court - allegedly lies at the center of $1 billion narcotics ring and operated through alliances he created between the Hells Angels, the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel, the Bonanno crime family, and the Montreal Mafia, The Post first reported.

Only weeks after Venizelos' arrest, federal prosecutors accused him of trying to intimidate witnesses who might testify against him.

Prosecutors say Venizelos sent encrypted BlackBerry messages to a colleague explaining that Cournoyer had bankrolled a special "murder fund" to underwrite hits against informants in the high-profile international narcotics case.

Prosecutors also say they seized letters written by an unnamed colleague of Venizelos that discussed the Bonanno associate’s ties to organized crime - including references to sit-downs with captains in various New York La Cosa Nostra families The DEA also utilized informants to secretly record tapes of Venizelos discussing drug deals, officials said, and then seized a number of unlicensed handguns when they searched Venizelos' residence.

John Meringolo, a New York Law School professor who represents Venizelos, initially insisted that the $100,000-plus seized by feds at Venizelos' residence wasn't drug money - it was simply cash for tipping exotic dancers at the "Jaguars 3" club.

Meringolo told the judge today that he had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and the judge adjorned the hearing until Wednesday on procdural grounds.

Cournoyer's attorney, Gerald McMahon, says he plans to vigorously fight the case against the French Canadian at an upcoming trial this summer.

Thanks to Mitchell Maddux.


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