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Friday, July 19, 2019

Pagan's MC: Ruling could toss out evidence in case

Providence, R.I. (July 19, 2019) BTN —In what could be a major blow to a criminal case that targeted two motorcycle clubs, a judge ruled a mass of wiretapped phone conversations should be tossed from trial.

The decision came after defense attorneys successfully argued the wrong judge signed off on an extension of the order to authorize wiretaps in the case.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel ruled in favor of the defense, saying the wiretap extension was improperly signed off on and the evidence at the center of the case for many of the defendants could not be used at trial.


In May, state police, along with federal and local authorities, arrested 50 people in what authorities called the single largest take down in R.I. State Police history.

The raids were the result of a year-long investigation called Operation Patched Out, which focused on two motorcycle clubs – the Pagans and Kryptmen – operating in northwestern Rhode Island.

Related | Rhode Island grand jury indicts MC members and associates

Among those arrested was Deric “Tuna” McGuire, who police identified as the head of the Pagan's motorcycle club. McGuire was hit with 221 drug-related counts.

It’s unclear how much of the evidence could be affected. Kristy dosReis, a spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Neronha, did not answer that question, but said in an email, “We respect the court’s decision in this case and intend to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.”

At issue is who signs off on the paperwork that allows investigators to listen in on phone conversations. By law, the presiding justice of the Superior Court is authorized to do so. In this case, Presiding Justice Alice Gibney did OK the order on the original request, but was unavailable when detectives asked for an extension.


Legal experts say the next senior-most judge is then supposed to take the responsibility, but defense attorneys in the biker case say that didn’t happen.

Prosecutors argued Gibney assigned a different judge because there was a conflict of interest with the next jurist in line. But the argument didn’t resonate with Vogel, who issued her decision from the bench.

Veteran defense attorney Jack Cicilline represents McGuire and was one of the attorneys who spotted what they saw as a mistake in evidence gathering and filed the motion. His son, John M. Cicilline, represents Yevgeniy Mazo, of North Providence – known as “the Russian.” John Cicilline said he believes it will be a “significant amount” of the evidence that will have to be tossed from the case.

“This ruling could impact 20-something defendants,” said Cicilline.

Some defendants had already pleaded no contest in the case.

At the time of the arrests, the state police said several rival clubs were competing for turf in Rhode Island, “resulting in increasingly violent confrontations – including three shootings that were never reported to law enforcement.”

Because of the growing tensions, Lt. Col. Joseph Philbin said at the time the decision was made to execute the search and arrest warrants. Police said they obtained the warrants with evidence detailed in a 1,300-page affidavit, including thousands of phone conversations and text messages.

The Raids took place in several communities, including Woonsocket.

It is unclear when the state’s high court will take up the appeal.

SOURCE: WPRI 12

Another suspect arrested in Pagan's MC assault

Charleroi, Pennsylvania, USA (July 19, 2019) BTN -A 10th suspect has been arrested in a brutal assault by alleged members of the Pagan's Motorcycle Club at a Charleroi social club in April.

Online court records indicate the suspect who solicited the assault, Brian A. Keruskin, 57, of Charleroi, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and sent to Washington County jail without bond.


Testimony at a preliminary hearing that morning for six other suspects in the case showed that Keruskin talked on the phone after the assault at the Slovak Club with the man who let the group of Pagan's into the bar at 700 McKean Ave.

“I told him it was really bad,” Zachary Yagnich, 26, a club officer testified about his conversation with Keruskin.

“I was scared,” he said.

Prosecutors have not revealed a motive in the April 18 assault of Troy Harris, who had left the Pagan's to join a rival group known as Sutars Soldiers.

Related | Pagan's MC members charged


Harris suffered severe trauma to his head, causing him to have a stroke and cognitive problems, his wife, Michele, testified Tuesday.

District Judge Larry Hopkins, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, found sufficient evidence to hold the six suspects for trial, and he sent them all back to area jails without bond.

The suspects who were charged with attempted homicide and other offenses are: Corey Volk, 24, of West Newton; Paul Cochran, 54, of Charleroi; John Sadvary, 39, of Penn Hills; Matthew Vasquez, 30, of Monessen; Joshua Pagliei, 43, of Monongahela; and Jason Huff, 40, of Plum.

Washington County Judge John F. DiSalle has scheduled a bond reduction hearing for the suspects at noon today.

Yagnich also faces an attempted homicide charge, and he has waived his case to court. Vasquez’ fiancée at the time, Jamie Granato, is awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges including conspiracy.

Keruskin and another suspect who was arrested in the case this week, Joseph Olinsky, 45, whose address was not immediately known, are scheduled to appear for a preliminary heating at 10 a.m. Aug. 7 before Hopkins.

All of the cases remained sealed Wednesday.

Keruskin was sentenced in October 2002 to 27 months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to one felony count of assault with a dangerous weapon, online court records show.

He was among 73 Pagan's who carried out a surprise attack on a group of Hells Angels at a motorcycle and tattoo exposition in Long Island in February of that year. One member of the Pagan's died in the attack.

SOURCE: Observer-Reporter

Last suspect arrested in Hells Angels meth bust

Modesto, California, USA (July 19, 2019) BTN — Michael Pack, 32, a prospect with the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, has been arrested in connection with an alleged methamphetamine distribution ring.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said that Pack was subsequently arrested after federal agents failed to locate him during a June 25 sweep that netted club president Randy Picchi, 61; his wife, Tina Picchi, 51; and Michael Mize, 61. Pack, a Modesto resident, was arraigned in federal court in Fresno on Tuesday.



Related | Modesto Hells Angels President Arrested




Search Warrants Executed at Seven Locations

Officers executed search warrants at seven locations June 25 in Stanislaus County, including the Hells Angels clubhouse in Modesto.

Court documents allege that Randy Picchi led a drug conspiracy and directed his wife to regularly deliver drugs to Mize and others in Ceres. Randy Pichi also enlisted Pack to help obtain methamphetamine on at least one occasion. Pack was stopped by law enforcement officers and was found with 499 grams of meth on him.

In addition, the court documents allege that Randy Picchi directed Tina Picchi to drive from Modesto to Redding to deliver meth to a customer. On the way, Tina Picchi was stopped by law enforcement and found with approximately 4 ounces of meth, which she had wrapped in a plastic glove and hidden in a cup of soda.

Defendants Face 10-Year Minimum Sentences

This case involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the IRS Criminal Investigation, the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, the Modesto and Turlock police departments, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Highway Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson and Laurel Montoya are prosecuting the case. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.

SOURCE: GV Wire

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pagan's MC members charged

Charleroi, Pennsylvania, USA (July 17, 2019) BTN - Six members of the Pagan's Motorcycle Club have been charged with attempted homicide after allegedly attacking a former member inside a bar in Charleroi, authorities said.

Surveillance video of the attack, which happened in April inside the Slovak Club, was shown in court Tuesday as the six men faced a judge.


The video shows the victim and his wife sitting at the bar. When the men walked in, the victim can be seen reaching out to shake hands before being punched, kicked and stomped on.

The attack lasted less than a minute, police said.


The victim, a former local chapter president of the Pagan's who is now with another motorcycle club, was flown to a hospital. He continues to recover.

Defense attorneys for the suspects argued Tuesday that the video does not capture what is happening on the ground.

The victim’s wife testified she crawled between the suspects’ kicking legs in an attempt to get to her husband.

“I went for my gun because I was afraid they were going to kill him,” she said.

The victim’s wife said her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury, two broken eye sockets, a broken nose and had a stroke. He now walks with a cane.

All six men charged in the attack are being held without bond. In addition to attempted homicide, they are charged with conspiracy.

Two more members of the Pagans have been arrested and their hearings are in August.

SOURCE: WPXI