Friday, February 8, 2019

Hells Angel MC member home raided

Providence, R.I. (February 9, 2019) BTN —  A full patch member of the Rhode Island Hells Angels motorcycle club who was charged with gun and drug crimes after a search of his North Providence home has been ordered held without bail.

Douglas Leedham, 54, is charged in Rhode Island federal court with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond ordered him held without bail because of the seriousness of the charges, some of which carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years.

“Certain of the offenses charged against him trigger the presumption under law that there are no bail conditions or combination of bail conditions that I can set that would reasonably assure the safety of the community or the defendant’s appearance to future court proceedings,” he said.

A “full patch” member is someone who has made it past the prospect phase and is given full membership, and can wear the full “Hells Angel” rocker patch. Leedham appeared in court Friday.

Federal authorities searched Leedham’s residence on Thursday, according to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Colin Woods.

Authorities found two pistols, a shotgun, a body armor vest, 44 grams of meth, 19 grams of cocaine, 35 knives, four hatchets, nine batons, a set of brass knuckles, $6,422 in cash and a suspected drug ledger, according to a court document. “Leedham admitted that the guns and drugs seized from the residence were his,” Woods wrote in the affidavit.

The Department of Justice recognizes the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club as an “outlaw motorcycle gang.” The gang, federal authorities said, has been involved in producing and selling methamphetamine, and other criminal activity including assault, extortion, homicide and money laundering. The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club’s Rhode Island chapter is based in Providence, the FBI agent’s affidavit said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Daly Jr. told the judge that Leedham should be held because he is dangerous.

“The defendant had many weapons at this residence, of the variety... that would be useful as a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang,” he said. “So we believe, your honor, that this defendant does present a danger to the community.” There is also a possibility that Leedham could attempt to flee due to the seriousness of the charges against him, Daly said.

The 44 grams of methamphetamine found in Leedham’s home has been sent to a forensic lab for testing, and if it turns out to be 11-12 percent pure, Leedham would face a mandatory five-year minimum sentence, he said. Leedham’s attorney, William Dimitri, argued that Leedham didn’t present a danger or a flight risk.

His past gun conviction, Dimitri said, was due to the fact that Leedham had a license to carry in Massachusetts that had expired and he was waiting for it to be renewed. “It doesn’t negate the conviction...” he said. “But there were underlying circumstances that led to that conviction.”

According to the affidavit, Leedham was arrested by the Rhode Island State Police in December 2012 and charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a weapon other than a firearm. Leedham was riding a motorcycle and had a vest identifying him as a “full patch” Hells Angels member, federal authorities said.

During the stop in 2012, Leedham had two knives, a ball peen hammer and a loaded pistol, the FBI agent’s affidavit said. He pleaded guilty in Superior Court to carrying a pistol without a license and got a five-year suspended sentence with five years of probation. Dimitri also said that Leedham has never been charged with a violent crime. In fact, he was the one who flagged down North Providence police on Dec. 29, 2018, he said.

That day, Leedham flagged down a North Providence police officer because one of two women driving in a gray GMC truck with him on Mineral Spring Avenue had become unconscious, according to the affidavit. Leedham told the police officer that the woman had taken either heroin or crystal methamphetamine, the affidavit said.

While the officer was giving the woman the overdose-reversal drug Narcan, the other one also became unconscious, apparently due to an overdose. Both went to a local hospital and survived. Dimitri said there isn’t necessarily a connection between the drugs the women overdosed on and the drugs found at Leedham’s residence.

“He’s the one that flagged down police, your honor, they weren’t chasing him,” Dimitri said. “To make the leap, I submit, that because methamphetamine was found on Feb. 7, that the methamphetamine or heroin whatever it was that they were O.D.ing on on Dec. 29 is somehow connected to Mr. leedham, there’s no nexus there.”

Leedham’s case will next be submitted to a grand jury, Dimitri said.