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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mongols MC found guilty of racketeering

Santa Ana, California (December 13, 2018) BTN — A federal jury on Thursday found the Mongol Nation motorcycle club guilty of racketeering, siding with prosecutors who said it operated as an organized criminal enterprise involved in murder, attempted murder and illegally distributing methamphetamine and cocaine, authorities said.

The Mongol Nation, called a violent biker gang by prosecutors, was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy.



Still to be determined is whether the Mongols, dubbed “the most violent and dangerous" biker gang in the country, will forfeit "any and all marks" that include the organization's logo — the word "Mongols" and a drawing of a Genghis Khan-styled rider on a motorcycle.

Related | A Motorcycle Club can’t conspire with itself
Related | Jesse Ventura defends Mongols MC in federal court
Related | Mongols MC: Feds going after clubs colors at racketeering trial


The verdict gets prosecutors a step closer to their goal of seizing their trademark patch, which is big businesses for the gang, according to court filings.

Higher-ups in the estimated 600-person club "will frequently bear patches that indicate they are officers in the enterprise," and they earn those patches through violence and mayhem, prosecutors say.

The verdict will not mean prison time since it is against the organization, not individuals, but the group could be subject to criminal fines, according to court documents. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 8 to argue forfeiture issues.

A request for comment from the attorney listed as representing the Mongol Nation in court documents, was not immediately returned. An email to a person listed on the Mongols' website was also not returned Thursday.

"The Mongols Gang is a violent, drug trafficking organization that advocates and rewards its members and associates for committing violent crimes, including, and specifically, assaults and murders, on behalf of the gang and in order to promote what the gang terms 'respect,' prosecutors wrote in one court filing.

In another filing, they said the club's "'Mother Chapter" may award a "skull and crossbones" or "Respect Few Fear None" patch to members who have committed murder or engaged in acts of violence on behalf of the gang.

Prosecutors said in court documents that the Mongols are a nationwide organization, but approximately 400 of its 500 to 600 members are believed to be located in Southern California, and some of its members are current or former members of Los Angeles County street gangs.

Defense lawyers have said the motorcycle group is simply a loose configuration of riders in the Southwest, not an organized criminal enterprise. They also have maintained that the government doesn't have the right to seize the patches of members who haven't been involved in any criminal activity.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles has been trying to go after the patches for a decade.

Then-U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien first announced the unusual legal bid after 79 members of the gang were indicted in 2008.

SOURCE: NBC News

Iron Horsemen MC member killed in home invasion

Cincinnati, Ohio (December 12, 2018) BTN — A man was shot and killed while breaking into a home in Whitewater Township early Wednesday, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Investigators identified him as Andrew Naegele, 26. That homeowner, John Heard, is now charged.


Heard, called 911 and reported that he had shot a man in the chest as he was breaking into his home on Ohio 128 near Cilley Road just before 1 a.m.

During the 911 call, Heard said that the man he shot and killed was a member of the Iron Horsemen motorcycle club who also came to his house on Monday night to "rough him up," but he didn't know him.

"I told him to leave, leave, leave," the man said on the call to 911. "And he come at me and he knew that I had a gun. And he kept coming. I had to shoot him.”

Deputies interviewed the homeowner. They say Heard admitted that Naegele was his drug dealer there to collect money he owed for methamphetamine.


Heard has been taken to jail on a gun charge. He's not allowed to have a gun due to a previous conviction.

Deputies say they're still investigating whether additional charges will be filed.

Detectives are also trying to find a pickup truck seen by witnesses leaving the home immediately after the shooting. They don't have any information about make, model or color.

SOURCE: Local12

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Feds betting Mongols MC will not survive

Santa Ana, California (December 11, 2018) BTN — When federal prosecutors finally managed to put mobster Al Capone behind bars, it wasn’t for murder or bootlegging, but tax evasion.

Fast forward several decades and government lawyers in Southern California say a similarly novel tactic could be the key to taking down the Mongols, a motorcycle club that has long been targeted by authorities for killings and drug trafficking. Instead of tax returns, the court battle this time will be won or lost in the decidedly unexciting trenches of trademark and forfeiture law

Law enforcement officials announce the arrests of members of the Mongols motorcycle club in 2008. 

If the government prevails in a racketeering case in Orange County against the group’s leadership, prosecutors plan to seek a court order to seize control of the club’s coveted, trademarked insignia, which its members wear emblazoned on the back of their biker jackets.

Related | Jesse Ventura defends Mongols MC in federal court
Related | Mongols MC: Feds going after clubs colors at racketeering trial

Both sides agree the insignia — a muscled, Asian man with a ponytail and sunglasses riding a motorcycle beneath the club’s name in capital letters — is a vital and potent part of the club’s identity. In trying to wrest it away, justice officials are banking on the idea that if they own the trademark, they will be able to choke off the club’s lifeline by preventing current and future members from wearing the image.

But it’s an open question whether the untested legal ploy will work, trademark experts said.

“It’s a strange tool to use to try to stamp out an organization,” said Ben M. Davidson, a trademark attorney in Los Angeles. “This club doesn’t exist because of its trademark, and I don’t think losing it is what’s going to stop them from being a club.”

The Mongols were formed in the 1970s in Montebello, outside of Los Angeles, by a group of Latino men who reportedly had been rejected for membership by the Hells Angels motorcycle club. It has expanded over the decades to include several hundred members in chapters across Southern California and elsewhere.

Like many social clubs, the Mongols have a constitution and bylaws, while top officials in the club’s “Mother Chapter” in West Covina collect dues from members, according to court records. But the Mongols are also a group that investigators say kept a cache of assault rifles, other weapons and bulletproof vests at its headquarters.

The Mongols club has been in the federal government’s crosshairs for years, along with several other groups authorities have identified as “outlaw motorcycle gangs.” Despite their claims of being innocent social clubs, the groups, which include the Hells Angels, Vagos and The Outlaws, have long track records of warring with each other and, according to authorities, operate as criminal organizations that subsist on the drug trade.

In 2008, nearly 80 Mongols members were charged in a sweeping racketeering case that included an array of alleged murders, assaults and drug deals. The charges were the culmination of Operation Black Rain, an investigation that centered on Mongols who had become paid informants and four undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the club’s ranks.

The idea of stripping the Mongols of their insignia was born in this earlier case. At a news conference announcing the charges, then-U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien laid out plans to take control of the trademark — a move that he said would give the government the authority to force Mongols members to remove their coveted insignia from their riding jackets.

“We’re going after their very identity,” O’Brien said.

All but two of the defendants in the case pleaded guilty, and a judge agreed the trademark should be forfeited as part of the sentences handed down. The judge ultimately reversed himself, however, after deciding none of the people charged in the case actually owned the trademark and, so, couldn’t forfeit it.

Prosecutors tried a new tack in 2013, when they filed a second racketeering case that was largely the same as the first but which named only one defendant — Mongol Nation, the entity which prosecutors say is made up of the club’s leaders and owns the trademark.

In the new case, for example, prosecutors accused the Mongol Nation of being responsible for the 2008 murder in San Francisco of a Hells Angels member by a Mongols member.

The new effort was nearly derailed when U.S. District Judge David O. Carter threw it out on legal grounds. But an appeals court overruled Carter, and the case finally went to trial last month. Over several weeks of testimony, prosecutors once again relied on the now-retired undercover ATF agents to testify about their time posing as Mongol members.

Defense attorney Joseph Yanny, meanwhile, argued that any violence by members was committed in self-defense, and anyone found dealing drugs was kicked out of the club.

If the jury, which began deliberating last week, delivers a guilty verdict on the new racketeering charges, the panel and Carter will then have to decide whether the Mongols should forfeit their trademark as part of the sentence. The government also wants large fines imposed on the club if it is convicted.

People and organizations commonly are stripped of cash, expensive cars, yachts and other tangible valuables as part of their criminal sentences.

Taking a trademark, however, is uncharted waters.

Through a spokesman, the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment. But from what the government attempted in the first trial and their filings in the current case, it is clear prosecutors believe that with the trademark in hand they will have the authority to ban Mongols members from wearing their riding jackets, which display the insignia on the back and other smaller patches.

Yanny said he plans to raise multiple legal challenges if the government goes after the Mongols’ trademark, including the club members’ constitutional right under the 1st Amendment to express themselves freely.

Beyond those legal hurdles, experts in trademark law expressed doubts about the government’s plan. Unlike a patent, a trademark has legal heft only if the owner continues to produce the product or service that the trademark protects. The trademark Apple owns on its computers, for example, exists only as long as the company continues to make them, said Jason Rosenberg, a trademark attorney.

“I’m dubious,” Rosenberg said, echoing the doubts of other attorneys and academics. “Is the government really going to start its own motorcycle club?”

Even if justice officials licensed a law-abiding motorcycle club or law enforcement organization to use the Mongols insignia, Rosenberg and others remained skeptical of whether a judge’s seizure order forcing old Mongols members to hand over their jackets would stand up.

“They could probably get a seizure order for an inventory of jackets in a warehouse somewhere,” Rosenberg said, “but what happens six months from now when a motorcyclist is pulled over for wearing his jacket that he was given permission to wear by the club when they owned the trademark? I have never heard of trademark law being used to take the clothing off someone’s back.”

SOURCE: LA Times

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Police arrest three connected to the Outlaws MC

Brockville, Canada (December 7, 2018) BTN — Brockville police and counterparts from other agencies on Thursday arrested three men in connection with activities of the Outlaws motorcycle club.

Thomas Bell, Norman Cranshaw Rosbottom and his son, Norman Stanley Rosbottom face charges including kidnapping, robbery, assault with a weapon, assault and two other offences relating to organized crime groups, police said.

A 2004 Pontiac and a Outlaws MC vest were also confiscated 

Brockville police officers, with help from the Ontario Provincial Police Biker Enforcement Unit, the Belleville Police Service and Kingston Police Service, executed search warrants at two Brockville residences, police said Friday.

During the raids, police said, officers seized items including Dead Eyes Outlaw Motorcycle Club vests, clothing and related paraphernalia, documents supporting involvement in a criminal organization, a small quantity of cocaine, cellphones, clothing “worn during commission of offences” and a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix.

“This investigation is ongoing with potentially more arrests and charges forthcoming,” Brockville police said in a media release. The offences all happened here, Brockville Police Staff Sgt. Tom Fournier said. “They happened in the city of Brockville, I would say, from early summer on until (Thursday),” Fournier said. “It’s got to do with the gang activity.”

"Brockville police work in conjunction with other area forces because biker gangs are constantly on the move", Fournier added. City police have been aware of the Outlaws in the area for nearly two years, but, “over the past summer, there’s been a drastic increase” in their activity, he said.

This was the Brockville police force’s second motorcycle club raid this fall. In September, police arrested two other people in connection with drug and weapons offences with motorcycle club links. Four other people were initially sought after that raid, but all eventually turned themselves in to police in Brockville and Kingston.

Brockville police and the OPP biker unit on Friday urged citizens “not to support organized criminal activity, including seemingly harmless activities like purchasing support gear or participating in charitable activities organized by these groups.”

“The presence of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) in any community should be a concern,” a joint police statement added. “Citizens should minimize contact with gang members and report any OMG activity to police in their jurisdiction.”

SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bandidos MC members charged in beating

Abilene, TX (December 6, 2018) BTN — A trio of Bandidos motorcycle members have been indicted for allegedly violently robbing a rival club member who drove through their 'turf' while wearing the rival club's vest.
Daniel Machado, Justin Aldava, and Jesse Trevino were all indicted for Aggravated Robbery in connection to the incident that took place in July of 2018. They have all been released from jail after posting a $150,000 bond each.



Court documents state the victim, a member of the Kinfolk MC was riding near the Bandidos Motorcycle clubhouse on the 1300 block of Butternut Street when he noticed three bikers - later identified as Machado, Alvada, and Trevino - leave the clubhouse and start to follow him.

He sped up, but the documents say the trio kept going, kicking him in the back when they reached him and eventually cutting him off and stopping his path, forcing him to turn into a small parking lot

Once in the parking lot, the victim drew a gun in self-defense, but the documents state the trio began shouting, "There are 30 more people coming to get you", "You can't disrespect the Bandidos", "This is our turf", and "We're going to shut you up like we shut Dusty*** up."



The victim then holstered his gun and attempted to flee, but the trio tackled him and began kicking, punching, and stomping him in the back, hips, knees, shoulders, and head, according to the documents.

They ripped the rival vest off him and took his cell phone and gun before ramming into him with a motorcycle then fleeing, the documents reveal.

When police arrived on scene, the documents state they saw the victim, "had some cuts, scrapes, and bruises all over his body and had fresh blood pouring from his face, hands, and elbows."


SOURCE: KTXS12