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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Outlaws MC member denied club’s seized property

Outlaws MC member denied club’s seized property

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA  (August 24, 2016) – A member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who wanted to intervene in a forfeiture action involving paraphernalia bearing the Outlaws insignia couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a federal court was incorrect in denying his motions.

The FBI with search warrants raided the Outlaws’ clubhouses in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne in 2012 and seized numerous items bearing the Outlaws name, such as vests, flags, and signs. All members of the Indianapolis chapter were criminally charged, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charges. All but one pleaded guilty, and as part of the plea agreements, each agreed to forfeit the Outlaws paraphernalia seized by the FBI.

Motorcycles seized during a 2012 raid of the Outlaws MC clubhouse in Indianapolis, IN

Bradley W. Carlson tried to intervene while the government was in the process of finalizing the forfeiture with the last Outlaws defendant. The government sought to dismiss the motion as untimely as the final forfeiture orders had already been issued. Carlson contended that he had a property interest in all of the paraphernalia and the government failed to provide him with direct notice of the forfeiture actions. He claimed that he had been elected by the collective membership of the club to protect, manage and oversee all memorabilia of the Outlaws, and that the property is not owned by the individuals but collectively by the members.

The government provided notices to all of the defendants and also posted notice of the forfeitures on the official government forfeiture site for 30 days. The district court denied Carlson’s motion as well as his motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Federal Civil Procedure Rule 59(e).

“Although he has alleged an understanding that property cannot be transferred to non-members, he does not identify what type of interest, if any, in that property was retained by the Outlaws –whether an option to purchase back, a right of first refusal, a termination of bailment or least, etc. – and whether that interest is a legal interest that grants standing or an equitable or other interest that does not,” Judge Ilana Rovner wrote. “He fails in fact to cite to Indiana law at all to establish the legal interest in the property despite recognizing that property interests are defined by state law.”

The judges also rejected Carlson’s request that the court hold in a criminal forfeiture, an assertion of ownership, without more, is sufficient to alert the government that he has a property interest in the items as against those who were in possession of the items and conceded their forfeiture.

“Carlson has failed to identify the origin of the items or allege the Outlaws relationship at its inception, and the district court properly held that Carlson was not entitled to individualized notice,” she wrote in United States of America v. Joshua N. Bowser, et al.; appeal of:Bradley W. Carlson, 15-2258.

Cruising along

A couple of club members sharing a trike 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hells Angels MC still in the city

2006 raid effectively spelled the end of the Thunder Bay chapter

THUNDER BAY, CANADA  (August 23, 2016) – Thunder Bay police say despite a raid  10 years ago that shut down the local chapter, the Hells Angels motorcycle club continues to have a presence in the city.

Spokesperson Chris Adams told CBC News there are still members of the organization in town, but they're connected with the Hamilton chapter.

"The Hells Angels obviously still see Thunder Bay and the members here as having some viability and I'm sure they would like to see their full chapter status back at some point," he said.

Police spokesperson Chris Adams said the Hells Angels have their eye on the city as a lucrative place to do their drug trade

He also expressed concern that the city could become the site of "turf wars" between rival groups.

"Any time you have the potential to make money illegally, you're going to have these groups sort of butting heads from time to time," Adams said.

"We're fortunate we haven't seen a full turf war here but the potential exists and this is definitely what we're concerned about."

The Hells Angels Ontario logo appeared at a building on Simpson Street in Thunder Bay. 

The group's Thunder Bay chapter was effectively shut down in 2006 after a large-scale investigation, involving city and provincial police, as well as the RCMP, led to several arrests and the seizure of the organization's club house on Heron Street. Thunder Bay police also raided a Simpson Street building in 2014 they claimed was a club house for the group.

Looking at a 'potential marketplace'

City police have said the area is a lucrative market for the drug trade, and Adams said the Hells Angels motorcycle club continues to eye Thunder Bay because of it.

"They essentially are looking at their potential marketplace, and when there's vacuums that are created from time to time, with organized crime, other groups come in and try and fill that vacuum."


Friday, August 19, 2016

Rhode Island cops nervous with feuding MC’s

Outlaws moving into Hells Angels territory

PROVIDENCE, R.I.  (August 18, 2016) – Law enforcement officials are concerned a feud between two outlaw motorcycle clubs in Rhode Island is a tinderbox on the verge of exploding into a violent turf war.

In June, the Rhode Island State Police organized a meeting between 13 local police departments as well as representatives from the Massachusetts and Connecticut state police amidst growing tensions between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws motorcycle clubs.

Lt. Christopher Zarrella, head of the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence Unit, said the Outlaws recently moved into Rhode Island, which has traditionally been an area solely controlled by the Hells Angels.

“The Outlaws have never been in Rhode Island,” Zarrella said. “Bikers are very territorial. Like any gang … people own their turf, and outlaw motorcycle gangs are no different.”

According to police officials interviewed by Target 12, the Outlaws moved into a clubhouse in Woonsocket in the spring of 2014. The Hells Angels have had a clubhouse in Providence for years.

“[The Hells Angels have] controlled this area for a while,” said East Providence Police Lt. Raymond Blinn. “Now the Outlaws – which they have always had a feud with – have moved into this area.”

“It’s bravado,” Blinn added.

And there already have been some clashes.

A West Warwick police report from July 7 revealed an argument inside a Dunkin’ Donuts in the middle of the afternoon quickly escalated into a fistfight.

The report said a biker from an affiliate of the Hells Angels walked into the coffee shop and spotted a member of the Outlaws and an argument immediately erupted. Before the manager could ask them to leave, fists started to fly. One biker pushed the other “onto a dining area table causing its leg to collapse and causing damage to the table.” Both men were arrested.

One week later, a Woonsocket detective pulled over a truck and discovered a member of the Outlaws with a “large cut on his forehead” that needed medical attention.

“Prior to this motor vehicle stop it was known there was [a] large altercation earlier in the night in West Warwick involving the Outlaw MC and Hells Angels MC,” the reports states.

A police log from West Warwick states calls were pouring into police “reporting 20 bikers fighting in the roadway with bats and wrenches.”

Zarrella said there is “unquestionably” a threat to public safety.

“When there is violence there is collateral damage and that is where the threat to civilians is,” said Zarrella.

Two Rival Groups

“Where there are a greater number of motorcycle gangs in the same area, you’re going to have more problems,” Zarrella said. “I think what you’re seeing in other parts of the country where there are these clashes between rival groups is something you are going to potentially see here in Rhode Island, because Rhode Island is now a territory occupied by two rival groups.”

And it’s not just fights that could lead to outsiders getting hurt. According to a Rhode Island State Police report, a civilian motorcyclist unaffiliated with either gang was seriously injured when a member of the Outlaws driving a truck slammed on his brakes, causing the biker to crash into the back of the truck.

The driver of the truck was acting as a “follow” vehicle, riding behind a pack of Outlaws making sure no other vehicle penetrated their ranks, according to the report.

When the trooper approached the injured motorcyclist, who was thrown from his bike, the rider was “screaming in agony.”

“I observed [the rider] to have road rash all over his body and it appeared his teeth went through his upper lip,” the trooper wrote. “I observed his collar bone was broken and his shoulder was out of place.”

The driver of the pickup truck, Spencer Gould of Biddeford, Maine, was identified as a “full patch” member of the Outlaws and charged with driving to endanger. Three passengers in the truck were also identified as members of the Outlaws.

“Although the above occupants advised they were passengers inside Gould’s vehicle at the time of the crash they all refused to cooperate and provide police with witness statements,” the report said.

“Because of something a group of outlaws were doing caused an accident and an innocent motorcyclist was badly injured because of that,” said Zarrella.

Keeping Watch

Target 12 asked to interview leaders from both the Outlaws and Hells Angels, but lawyers for the clubs declined the request.

Police officials said they have increased their monitoring of both groups and are watching for any large gatherings that could lead to violence.

“We do our best to keep tabs and maintain some degree of intelligence up to date,” Zarrella said. “Local law enforcement has been very, very good about aggressively policing their towns with respect to outlaw motorcycle gang activity.”

Zarrella said authorities believe both the Hells Angels and Outlaws have been increasing their memberships in recent months. He said there are also smaller motorcycle clubs that align themselves with one of the two organizations, making it harder to track how many members there are statewide.

“You’ve got some 30-plus organizations affiliated with the two main outlaw motorcycle groups in Rhode Island,” Zarrella said. “That’s a lot of groups for a state this size.”