What is being hailed as the “largest federal bust of alleged g*** activity in Indianapolis’ history,” just went down at the Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s clubhouses in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Gary.
Evidently SWAT members cleared the way this morning for FBI and local authorities to come in and search the clubhouses and surrounding blocks. Evidence was boxed up and motorcycles removed from the premises’, but with the court documents remaining sealed, we are unsure as to exactly what the feds are looking for. However, we do know that there were 43 arrests warrants issued and ranges in charges from Racketeering to Mail Fraud. We also know that more than 300 federal and local law enforcement agents were involved in the bust.
More info as it becomes available… there will be a new conference at 2pm local time.
Outlaw BikerComments Off on Biker Club Members Arraigned in Federal Court
RICHMOND – It took more than an hour, but more than two dozen men appeared in U.S. District Federal Court in Richmond yesterday to be arraigned on a variety of charges related to outlaw motorcycle gxxx activity in the region.
The men – standing before the judge one at a time, and being led into the courtroom in small groups – included Jack “Milwaukee Jack” Rosga – whom federal officials in indictments described as the group’s national president and two local men Charles “Chuck” Barlow, 43, and Dennis “Chew Chew” Haldermann, 45 both from Chesterfield.
Barlow and Haldermann were listed in the indictments as alleged members of the allied Pagans Motorcycle Club. According to a federal indictment, the biker gxxx operated in Petersburg.
Halderman n was charged in count three of the indictment – violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity. The indictment charges nine others with this offense, which involves an alleged assault against the Desparados Motorcycle Gxxx on or about March 14, 2009. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison.
Haldermann was one of two that appeared in court yesterday in civilian clothes instead of a prison jumpsuit because he is free on bond.
According to the indictments, Outlaws and Pagans members set a trap and assaulted rival Hell’s Angels and Desperados Motorcycle Club members at “Cockade Bar” – later confirmed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia to be Cockade City Grill.
On March 14, 2009, three members went into the bar in “colors” – a vest signifying membership in the club. One man stood outside the bar in colors as a lure, while three other Outlaws members were waiting inside without the vests. Several others waited outside to trap rival bikers inside the bar, where they were assaulted.
The fight spilled into the parking lot, where guns were drawn. Local police arrived and ended the standoff, the indictment says. They seized a knife and brass knuckles from one Outlaws member.
Federal District Judge Henry Hudson warned Haldermann that he must abide by the release agreement and meet the next court date.
Barlow was also one of the 10 charged with violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity for his alleged role in the assault against the Desperados Motorcycle Gxxx in March 2009.
Petersburg appears to be at the center of much of the activity of the Outlaws outlined in the indictment.
The indictment says that in July of last year, Rosga ordered a crowd of Outlaws at the Petersburg Clubhouse to shoot Hell’s Angels and other rivals.
In October, members meeting at the Petersburg Clubhouse discussed assaulting Hell’s Angels over a recent attack in Florida that sent two Outlaws to the hospital. Following a shooting attack of a Hell’s Angel in Maine, a member asked about staying at the Petersburg Clubhouse to avoid attention up north.
As recently as February of this year, the Petersburg Clubhouse – the location of which was not revealed in court documents – allegedly took delivery of illegal gambling machines from North Carolina. In March, 0 of gambling proceeds were transported from Petersburg.
The indictment also says drugs flowed through the Petersburg Clubhouse. A member allegedly sold 66 Oxycodone pills and six muscle relaxers in October 2009. On the same day, an undercover agent purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine, which was then taken by Outlaws. In March 2010, an undercover agent purchased 2.85 pounds of marijuana at the cost of ,680 from a fellow Outlaw. That Outlaw was later stopped attempting to transport another five pounds of marijuana from Montana to Virginia.
The Outlaws moved into Virginia in 2006 after coming to an accord with the Pagans Motorcycle Club. Members must be men over age 21 who own a domestic motorcycle. They attempted to expand their profile with a “show of force” of national members, along with Pagans, at a Cycle Expo in Richmond. However, law enforcement refused entry to many Outlaws and diffused the threat. In 2007 and 2008, Outlaws threatened members of the Virginia Raiders, Black Pistons and Merciless Souls Motorcycle Club, affiliates of the Hell’s Angels.
The Outlaws website lists chapters in Petersburg and Northern Virginia. The indictment reads that property in White Post, Va., near Winchester, was seized, along with dozens of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The Outlaws, formed in Chicago in the 1930s, are longtime rivals of the Hell’s Angels, adopting the slogan “Angels Die in Outlaw States – Adios.” The Hell’s Angels, Pagans, Outlaws, and Bandidos are considered the biggest motorcycle gxxxs by the FBI.
Much of the information that led to the indictments was told to an undercover Outlaws member in the Petersburg Clubhouse.
All 25 of the men that appeared in court yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and requested a jury trial.
They will all appear in court on Oct. 20 for the start of what prosecutors are estimating will be a two-week trial.
The 12-count indictment – which was returned on June 10 – charges that the men participated in a criminal enterprise that engaged in a wide range of crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, robbery, extortion, witness intimidation, narcotics distribution, illegal gambling and weapons violations.
Last Monday federal prosecutors filed a motion in the Ramon Rivera v. Ronnie Carter etc. et al. civil case asking Judge Cooper to dismiss the Rivera suit. The motion asks for a hearing on December 14th. The government argues that Rivera’s suit should be dismissed on grounds that it is moot – which is to say that there is no longer an actual legal controversy between the government and unindicted members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club over whether they may or may not wear the club’s patch and top rocker.
Throughout the 13 months of this case, the government has sought to criminalize membership in the motorcycle club: To in effect secure an unconstitutional Writ of Attainder against the Mongols Motorcycle Club. The government’s original strategy was to seize the name Mongols and the Mongols logo. As part of his plea deal, former Mongols President Ruben “Doc” Cavazos claimed he owned the Mongols trademarks and then gave them to the government.
Did Doc Own The Marks
Federal police then proceeded to seize every piece of Mongols memorabilia they could locate. Rivera, who was not indicted, then enlisted the assistance of the San Diego office of the American Civil Liberties Union to make the government stop.
Last July 31st, Judge Cooper ruled that the government could not seize the trademarks because Doc Cavazos said they could.
“Even if the Court were to accept the Government’s evidence that Ruben Cavazos controlled the use of the mark during his tenure as National President,” Cooper wrote, “there is no support for the notion that a defendant’s control of property belonging to a RICO enterprise is sufficient to establish a forfeitable ownership interest in the property. In addition, there is no evidence that Ruben Cavazos owned a majority interest or any interest in the Mongol Nation that would equate to an ownership interest in the mark. There is no evidence that Shotgun Productions, LLC ever used the mark as a collective membership mark – to indicate membership in an organization substantially similar to that of the Mongol Nation. The purported assignment to Shotgun Productions, LLC is therefore without legal effect. Moreover, the Government’s evidence demonstrates that the Mongol Nation began using the collective mark in approximately 1969, and either Mongol Nation or Mongols Nation, Inc. continues to use the mark to identify their members. The Mongol Nation and Mongols Nation, Inc, by virtue of having used the collective membership mark since 1969, having registered the mark in 2005, and having continued use of the mark to identify members of the club, have acquired and maintained exclusive ownership in the collective membership mark at issue.”
Are Mongols Fair Game
In a direct rebuke of the ATF Agents who have been stealing patches, tee-shirts and memorabilia from Mongols members and sympathizers the judge wrote, “…even if the Court were to assume that the collective membership mark is subject to forfeiture, the Court finds no statutory authority to seize property bearing the mark from third parties…. only defendants’ interests in the RICO enterprise and the proceeds from their racketeering activity are subject to forfeiture.”
Then Judge Cooper went on to explain that she would probably never allow the government to seize the Mongols marks.
“At the June 22 hearing,” she wrote, “the Government revealed for the first time that the mark it sought to forfeit was a collective membership mark. Previously, in its Ex Parte Application for Post-Indictment Restraining Order, the Government (in this case ATF Case Agent John Ciccone) referred to the mark simply as a trademark, which was ‘purportedly for use in commerce in connection with promoting the interests of persons interested in the recreation of riding motorcycles.’ In contrast to commercial trademarks, which are used in commerce and generally not entitled to full First Amendment protections, collective membership marks are used by members of an organization to ‘indicate membership in a union, an association, or other organization.’ The use and display of collective membership marks therefore directly implicate the First Amendment’s right to freedom of association. The Supreme Court has recognized that ‘implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment’ is ‘a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.’ This right is crucial in preventing the majority from imposing its views on groups that would rather express other, perhaps unpopular, ideas.’ Furthermore, clothing identifying one’s association with an organization is generally considered expressive conduct entitled to First Amendment protection…. If speech is noncommercial in nature, it is entitled to full First Amendment protection, which prohibits the prior restraint and seizure of speech-related materials without a judicial determination that the speech is harmful, unprotected, or otherwise illegal.
Did Cooper Make Up Her Mind
“Prohibiting speech of this nature constitutes an attack on a particular viewpoint. In Sammartano (v. First Judicial District Court, in and for the County of Carson City) the Carson City courthouse enacted a rule to prohibit admission of those with ‘clothing, attire or colors which have symbols, markings or words indicating an affiliation with street gangs, biker or similar organizations,’ because ‘such clothing or attire can be extremely disruptive and intimidating, especially when members of different groups are in the building at the same time.’ The Ninth Circuit reasoned that the rule singles out bikers and similar organizations for the message their clothing is presumed to convey, and held that the rule impermissibly discriminates against a particular point of view – the view of biker clubs as opposed to garden clubs and gun clubs. In this case, the Government targets an even narrower group of individuals, a single motorcycle club. In addition, the Government has been seizing property, which imposes a greater restriction on individual rights than the denial of access to a public facility. Accordingly, the seizure of property bearing a Mongols membership mark should be considered viewpoint-discriminatory. The Government’s ability to seize property bearing the trademark acts as a prior restraint and cannot stand without a judicial determination that the speech is harmful, unprotected, or otherwise illegal. No such determination was ever sought by the Government, and no such determination was ever made by the Court.”
The government has been fighting the judge on this for the last three and a half months. Government prosecutors have blatantly stalled. They have accused the judge of “premature adjudication.” In the motion filed this week, the government makes two arguments, one old and one new. The old argument is that Rivera “lacks standing” because he was not indicted.
They Will Not Do It Again Maybe
The new argument is very cute and sophistical. In an exhibit to an attachment to the motion, federal forfeiture attorney Steven R. Welk states that:
“Within days of the issuance of this Court’s July 31, 2009 Order Granting Preliminary Injunction in the action entitled Rivera v. Carter…I instructed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to suspend execution of the seizure authority of items bearing the trademarks restrained in this Court’s Amended Order Restraining Trademark issued October 22, 2008 as against individuals who are not defendants in this action. I have been informed by ATF that national enforcement of the seizure provisions of the Amended Order as against non-defendants was suspended in early August of 2009 and shall remain suspended pending further instructions from my office. I will not instruct any law enforcement agency to resume seizure activities against non-defendants pursuant to the Amended Order without a further order from this Court.”
What the argument boils down is that the government is no longer breaking the law so there is no reason for the court to redress the harm it did when it was breaking the law. And, the argument continues, the government will not “resume seizure activities against non-defendants…without further order from this court.”
What goes unsaid, of course, is that the court will still be there next April when the criminal trial is now scheduled to start. Judge Cooper, who has already told the government not to do what it wants to do, will only be in charge of that court until March 15th. And, maybe the new judge will agree with the government.
The government still clearly intends to try to seize the Mongols name and patch. If that was not the case the government would not have filed its motion last Monday.
You can read my write-ups about the Mongols MC and their plight by following the links below:
The true heroes that keep it all going will one day receive glory in heaven –Rico
Scott Di Lalla and Zack Coffman of One World Studios bring us what is perhaps the best of the best in home grown biker documentaries. Choppertown, The Sinners was produced in 2005 and focuses on the build of Kutty Noteboom’s Evo, the Sinners’ Special. Along the way, we are introduced to the men that make up the elite group of bikers who are bestowed the privilege of wearing the Sinners patch on their backs. And we, as a tremendous pool of citizens, get to wish and dream that we could someday be accepted into the fold.
Viewers are immediately pulled into the timeless look of the video. American Cars and bikes from the 40’s and 50’s are met with British imports from the 60’s and 70’s in a mishmash of color, black and white, and low contrast sepia toned footage. Camera angle and points of view through car windows, at ground level, and from unexpected perspectives keep the scenes flowing along and keep the viewer interested in the camera work as well as the action being captured.
Interviews are engaging and allow us a little insight into this group of young men who have come together in such a way as to rival any family or brotherhood. Wives and girlfriends may or may not understand entirely the love these guys feel for one another, but they sure do throw their support into the ring… as if they really had much choice in the matter.
Members of the club come from all walks of life and are bonded by a love of bikes, cars, and music. Many of the members are musicians and their flavor of punk rock and rockabilly can be heard throughout the film. We even have the opportunity to see some of them perform as the group gets together to see a brother play in a show, or the band sets up at the garage for a get together.
And the garage is where it’s at. The theme of the film is the build of Noteboom’s bike and we get to hear a bit of the life and love philosophy of some of the members as they explore the build of a timeless machine that is infused with the soul of parts older than the man who will ride it. Oh, and there is beer… a bit of beer… lots of beer… you can’t build a bike without it.
Choppertown is a film I have lived with for a while and it still excites me as much as the first time I watched. I bought my first copy in 2005 after it was released. There was a lot of buzz on the message boards like the Jockey Journal about the debut, and then all you saw for months were posts from people around the country and world who desperately wanted to join up and be included… of course, that’s not the way it works, but I think that the documentary was a tremendous success simply based on this reaction.
About six months ago, I was sent a second copy of the film (I had since lent my original to a brother who lent it to a brother who… you get the idea). I popped it in and was just as entranced as the first time I saw it. I again wanted to get to know everyone on a personal level. Luckily for me, this time around I was able to throw in the companion disk, Choppertown From The Vault. This DVD goes right along with the first film and lets us see a little more. Shot at the same time, the second film does not feel like sloppy seconds. In fact, it does a nice job of letting us see more of what goes on in the garage, hear more of the music the members are responsible for, and lets us into their lives for a couple more hours.
So, what to do?? Order yourself both of these DVDs and get some of the boys over to watch with you… just be sure that you leave some time to get out into the garage or hop on the bikes and blow around town together. You will be inspired.
Love, Respect, and, in the words of Scott and Zack, “Stay Independent,”
— Be sure to check out the social networking site, www.ChoppertownNation.com. Here you will be able to connect with like-minded individuals and shop for the very best in chopper, biker, and kustom kulture flicks… the store here rocks! After doing a little shopping, look me up and send me a friend request! See you on the board.
According to federal court documents, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, past President of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, and several other members, have entered a guilty plea to one count of racketeering and faces a life prison sentence.
That charge and several others are contained in a 177-page indictment filed against Cavazos and 78 other defendants. The federal case details a pattern of murder, attempted murder, drug dealing and racially motivated attacks. It also alleges that Cavazos sought to join an alliance with the Mexican Mafia to garner profits from trade in illegal drugs.
As part of his guilty plea (Cavazos) agreed to the forfeiture of all right, title and interest in certain assets acquired or maintained by him… including… the `Mongols Registered Trademarks’ or `marks.’”
Cavazos was arrested after a three-year undercover investigation ended in October of 2008. During a nationwide, federal sweep targeting members of the outlaw motorcycle club, authorities arrested 61 people in Southern California.