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Friday, April 6, 2018

Raptor police tackle NSW bikie conflict

Newcastle, AU (April 5, 2018) BTN — Thirteen alleged outlaw motorcycle club members have been charged after raids in the NSW Hunter region with a specialist police squad staying in town to stop what's being called the biggest bikie conflict in NSW.

Thirty-one properties, from Muswellbrook to Newcastle, were targeted in Thursday's large-scale sting involving more than 280 police officers cracking down on the escalating conflict between rival clubs - the Finks and the Nomads.



Weapons, explosive detonators, guns, drugs and reptiles were seized, while 11 of those arrested were charged with participating in a criminal group and two were charged with drug offences.

Strikeforce Raptor, the squad of officers most reviled by the OMCG underworld, will remain in the region to support local police until the conflict ends.

The raids follow an investigation into the ongoing "civil war" between the two clubs, believed to have begun in late 2016, when a former Nomads bikies switched allegiance by "patching over" to the Finks.



There have since been a string of incidents, from assaults to drive-by shootings and firebombings, each more serious than the last.

In an affidavit tendered to the NSW Supreme Court last week, Sergeant Gary Broadhurst said the Hunter conflict was the most significant bikie war occurring in NSW.

The 13 men charged were granted strict conditional bail, with nine scheduled to appear at Newcastle Local Court on May 3 and the remaining four due to appear at the same court on April 26.


Free Souls MC member charged with rape and kidnapping

Spokane, WA (April 5, 2018) BTN — A member of an Oregon motorcycle club is facing accusations in Spokane of rape, kidnapping and showing a woman videos appearing to depict murder.

Roger L. Heuberger, 40, was arrested Sunday after a woman said she was sexually assaulted, injected with drugs and cut while tied to a chair inside a hotel room off Division Street. At his first court appearance Monday, prosecutors charged Heuberger with third-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and possession of meth and heroin. A judge set bond at $25,000.


The woman told police that on March 28 or 29, she and another friend went with Heuberger and a fellow member of the biker club Free Souls – which is based out of Oregon – to Liberty Motel, 6801 N. Division St., where the four “partied,” according to court records.

The next day, she said Heuberger got upset because his girlfriend went with the biker friend to Coeur d’Alene. Court documents say Heuberger and the alleged victim went back to the hotel, where she said she was told to take off her clothes because Heuberger thought she was wearing a wire.

According to court records, Heuberger then tied her to a chair with a rubber cord and injected her with heroin, according to court records.


While she was under the influence of the drugs, she told authorities that Heuberger brought out a laptop and played a DVD that appeared to show the “killing of women and children.” The woman said it showed a male “who looked similar to Roger” taking victims “into the woods and then murdering them.”

Court records say Heuberger then started cutting the woman on the arm. After allowing her to get up from the chair, he proceeded to rape her.

After several hours of captivity, the woman was able to convince Heuberger to let her leave the motel room to get food, court records say. The two went to Taco Bell across the street, where she locked herself in the bathroom and refused to leave.

Two days later, she contacted police while staying at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital, where officers interviewed her and found wounds consistent with being choked, cut and sexually assaulted.

On Sunday, police served a search warrant on the motel room, where they found several plastic baggies floating in the bathroom’s toilet. They found other white bags in a box, a black pistol, syringes and a computer with a DVD that could contain the footage described by the victim, according to the warrant.

Heuberger’s friend and fellow club member from Vancouver, Washington, was interviewed by police, and said he was gone at the time of the alleged crimes. He has not been arrested. His car was seized for evidence.

Heuberger has no criminal history in Spokane County. According to a search of Marion County, Oregon, jail records, the 40-year-old was arrested and charged with assault and harassment in June 2017.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Photos of bikers taken by cops allowed court says

Orange County, Florida (April 5, 2018) BTN — Fighting a bill that would have allowed Floridians to openly carry guns, two Orange County sheriff’s officers in 2011 moved forward with a plan to give lawmakers a glimpse of some people who might be able to pack heat publicly.

The officers pulled together booking or driver’s license photos of “one percenters” — members of motorcycle clubs — who might be able to openly carry guns and provided the photos to the Senate Judiciary Committee.



In the end, lawmakers did not approve a broad open-carry proposal for people with concealed-weapons licenses. But the use of the photos led to a lawsuit that resulted this week in a federal appeals court rejecting arguments by three members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club that the officers had violated a privacy law in using the photos.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Michael Fewless, who in 2011 was captain of the governmental affairs section of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and lobbied the Legislature, and John McMahon, an intelligence agent who selected and emailed the photos to Fewless.

The civil case focused heavily on whether the officers violated a federal law known as the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and whether an exception for government agencies included being able to use the information for lobbying purposes. The appeals court Monday upheld a lower-court ruling that said the exception covered lobbying and concluded that Fewless had been representing the sheriff’s office when he provided the photos to senators and staff members and when he referred to them during a committee meeting.

“(The) record reflects that Fewless used the photos while acting on behalf of the OCSO (Orange County Sheriff’s Office) in the course of carrying out the OCSO’s lobbying function,” said the 10-page ruling, written by Judge Harvey Schlesinger and joined by judges Charles Wilson and Susan Black. “The photos were delivered to the committee and were seen only by legislators and staff members. Fewless merely referred to the photos in the course of his testimony before the committee. Thus, the distribution of the photos related directly to Fewless’ lobbying efforts.”

A brief filed last year on behalf of three bikers who were plaintiffs in the case, Leslie Baas, Tracy Osteen and Doyle Napier, said the way the photos were used was not legitimate.

“To start with, it is undisputed the disclosure of the plaintiffs’ driver’s license photographs had nothing to do with any criminal behavior on the part of the plaintiffs which might be a legitimate subject of legislative or public interest, let alone law enforcement inquiry,” the brief said. “Indeed, the disclosure had nothing whatsoever to do with the plaintiffs at all but rather had the admitted purpose of propagating a ‘counter-stereotype’ to rebut a stereotype utilized in lobbying efforts by a pro-gun lobbyist with no affiliation to the plaintiffs that an open carry bill would benefit ‘bankers and executives’ who might be charged with a crime if the concealed weapons they were carrying were accidentally exposed. 

To put it succinctly, the defendants (Fewless and McMahon), with the intention of creating ‘poster children’ for denial of a bill the defendants disliked, took it upon themselves to expose the ‘highly protected’ information of private persons who were believed to be law abiding … based upon a non-criminal private association (i.e. motorcycle club membership) and, most outrageously, the stupefyingly superficial criterion of an ‘intimidating’ appearance in the opinion of the officers.”

But in addition to ruling that the exception to the federal privacy law covered lobbying, the appeals court said the officers were entitled to what is known as “qualified immunity.”

“There is no case law clearly establishing that Fewless’ use of the photos was impermissible,” wrote Schlesinger, a federal district judge who was designated to serve on the appellate panel. “Moreover, appellants (the plaintiffs) were required to show that no reasonable officer in the officers’ position could have believed that he was accessing or distributing the photos for a permissible use under the DPPA (the federal law). Appellants failed to make that showing. Appellees (the officers) are therefore entitled to qualified immunity.”


Monday, April 2, 2018

Unsolved: Murder of Daytona Outlaws MC member 'Louie Da Lip'

Daytona, Florida (April 2,2018) BTN — “Louie da Lip,” a felon accused by a courtroom witness of assaulting and battering a woman inside a locked room, met his own violent end one year ago.

Detectives learned quickly that the known member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s Daytona Beach chapter, aka Christopher Keating, was likely killed by someone in the rival Pagan’s motorcycle club.

Police also knew Keating, 59, had a criminal history. He was killed during a fight near the doorway to an alley inside a bar.

Police have video of the incident and witnesses called 9-1-1, one of whom gave a vague description of the suspect.


Twelve months later, the case remains unsolved.

“We will be able to (solve it) one day,” Daytona Beach police Chief Craig Capri said. “This one will take time, but we’re working hard on it.”

At least one federal law enforcement agency is assisting in the investigation. Police spokeswoman Lyda Longa wouldn’t identify which.

When an ambulance showed up the night of April 3, 2017, at Crook’s Den, 126 Orange Ave., Keating was lying in the alley outside the rear door. His heart stopped after he got to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Detectives have said they don’t think Keating was armed when he was stabbed.

Witnesses told police that an “altercation” took place inside the bar involving Keating and two other men. Then, toward the rear of the bar the unrest continued and spilled into the alley. That, police said, is when Keating was stabbed.

The tussle in the caused damage to the bar and a water pipe that ran along the ceiling was nearly ripped down. The video from inside the bar was obtained by law enforcement and has never been released to the media.

One of the witnesses who called 9-1-1 said the man with the knife left on a motorcycle before police arrived. He was described as “bald.”

Keating lived in the Lake Ashby area near New Smyrna Beach. His run-ins with the law were long ago, according to court records. He was one of 14 who were arrested as part of a racketeering case by the federal government in 1983. The ensuing trial lasted a month and every defendant, except one, was convicted of various crimes. Keating was convicted of conspiracy and racketeering charges and served less than four years in prison.

All of the defendants were a member of the Outlaws MC, considered one of the largest motorcycle clubs in the world in terms of membership.

One of the witnesses at the trial 35 years ago told jurors she had been falsely accused of stealing drugs from the Outlaws. Her punishment was to be in a locked room with Keating, who beat her and threatened her with a gun, according to a Miami Herald story at the time.

Not long after Keating was killed, a person in Daytona Beach was found wearing a Hells Angels T-shirt. The Hells Angels is perhaps the best-known of outlaw motorcycle clubs and considered a bitter rival of the Outlaws. The man wearing the shirt found himself surrounded by Outlaws, who set out to intimidate him, police said.


Daytona Beach police Detective Iriabeth Lee said the Outlaws are the alpha motorcycle club throughout Florida. Any perceived invasion on the part of the Hells Angels is seen as a threat.

“If you know anything about the Hells Angels, you know they’re as big as the Outlaws and they don’t like them at all,” she said.

“From what I understand that guy was not a Hells Angel,” Lee continued. “He said that (the shirt) was given to him. He did not understand that was not allowed.”

No arrests were made in the incident.

Since then, there have been no public displays of unruly behavior by Outlaws or any other motorcycle club in or around Daytona Beach, but violence has erupted in other places across Florida during the past year and authorities have said that Outlaws have been challenging members of other motorcycle clubs to either join their ranks or submit to their dominance.

Last April, someone wearing a Kingsmen Motocycle Club jacket was shot in the back after he came out of a gas station in Leesburg. Police said he was killed because he refused to take off his jacket. The demand came from the Outlaws. They ordered him to his knees and held a knife to his throat. The Outlaws had set up a perimeter around the gas station. It was described as a “coordinated attack” by 15 members, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

In December, Paul Anderson, 44, was gunned down by two people while sitting in his pickup truck on State Road 54 near the Suncoast Parkway, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. Three people were arrested in that killing. Deputies told the local media they were members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club.

Some motorcycle clubs make up the one kind of organized crime that has been exported out of the United States. Other forms have either been imported, as in the Sicilian Mafia, or homegrown and contained.

Members of some motorcycle clubs have committed murder, rape and other violent crimes and they have a history of degrading women and even killing children, said Charles Berard, a criminal investigator from Wisconsin who has studied outlaw motorcycle clubs for more than three decades.

“These are not people you want your kids to emulate,” Berard said.

“These are people that are dangerous and people that have a continuing commitment to crime in small communities and large communities.”