Lahti, Finland (October 31, 2020) - Police confiscated drugs, weapons and explosives during a sweep of motorcycle clubhouses on Friday. According to Detective Superintendent Pälvi Suokas of the Häme police department, the operation targeted the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
In Lahti, about 100 kilometres north of Helsinki, authorities searched premises rented by a new motorcycle club called Red Roots. A preliminary investigation determined that the facility is now used by the Hells Angels. Other sites were searched, including a Hells Angels clubhouse in the eastern city of Lappeenranta.
Police said they detained an unspecified number of people on Friday. Three of them were prospective Hells Angels members who this month had been granted “hang-around” status, the first step toward full membership.
The Häme police department led the operation with extensive cooperation from the Southeast Finland, Helsinki, Eastern Uusimaa and Western Uusimaa police departments as well as the National Bureau of Investigations and the Criminal Sanctions Agency. Police declined to provide more details, citing the ongoing preliminary investigation.
The Finnish News Agency STT reported in September that a new motorcycle club called Red Roots had been established in Lahti. Police first observed motorcyclists wearing Red Roots vests and insignia last spring. Police say that Red Roots dissolved in August, splitting into two groups. Since then both groups have been involved with the Hells Angels, officials say.
Red Roots was set up to replace the Lahti chapter of the United Brotherhood (UB) club. At the same time an associated group called Redrum was also established, corresponding to a UB affiliate called Bad Union, according to police.
This week Eastern Uusimaa District Court extended a temporary ban on UB’s activities, which was originally imposed in January. Legal proceedings aimed at shutting down UB permanently are scheduled to begin in late November.
UB was launched in 2010 through the merger of three organisations, known as Rogues Gallery, Natural Born Killers and MORE.
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada (October 20, 2020) - Two people are facing firearm offences in connection with an ongoing investigation by Cape Breton Regional Police into the activities of so called outlaw motorcycle clubs.
James Robert Osmond Berthiaume, 53, and Jennifer Lynn Chisholm, 50, both of Ben Eoin, are charged with unauthorized possession of firearms, careless use of a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
They have been released from police custody on conditions and are to appear in provincial court November 30 to enter pleas.
Among the conditions of their release, the accused are not to associate with any other members of the Outlaws or Black Pistons motorcycle groups or attend their clubhouses.
The pair were charged after police executed a search warrant in connection with an East Bay Highway property last week.
Police seized two firearms, including one that was loaded, ammunition, and clothing affiliated with motorcycle clubs.
In September, regional police made arrests in Glace Bay resulting in charges against three individuals including drug trafficking and weapon possession.
Haarlem, Netherlands (October 7, 2020) - The ban on the Hells Angels motorcycle club in the Netherlands must be reversed. If the Angels are accused of engaging in crime and violence, it should be attributed to individual members and not to that of the club or other members, Hells Angels lawyers argued in court on Wednesday.
The court in Utrecht banned the club last year, at the request of the Public Prosecution Service. The Angels have appealed against this.
Lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops said before the court in Arnhem that the Public Prosecution Service is wrongfully portraying the Hells Angels as a criminal organization. Justice, according to counsel, uses a media strategy that relies heavily on "tabloids from the tabloid press and obscure, dubious websites". The image that arises from this is that the Angels pose a threat to public order.
That image is incorrect, says Knoops. His argument was reinforced in court by contributions from two members of the Angels. They denounced the "smear campaign" that the judiciary would have launched against the Hells Angels in order to kill the club. That campaign is creating a reputation for a collection of "murderers, looters and rapists". The Angels believe that neither themselves nor their club should be the victim of members who engage in crime. "I just go to work with my lunch box," said one of them.
In the procedure that the Public Prosecution has started to have the Hells Angels banned in the Netherlands, it has mapped out nearly 1,500 incidents (worldwide) that must support the main argument for that ban: the Angels are not an association for tough Harley riders, but there is a strong, criminal culture of violence that bother society.
In its argument before the Arnhem court, the Public Prosecution Service cited, among other things, the liquidation of the Delft criminal Karel Pronk, for which a Hells Angel was convicted in June this year. The judiciary also pointed to escalating conflicts with rival motorcycle clubs and to an ongoing, international drug case in which Angels from Friesland figure as suspects.
The Hells Angels in the Netherlands has eighteen local branches (so-called chapters or charters) with a total of 241 members. The club was founded in the United States in 1948 by mainly former military personnel. About forty years ago the club also became active in the Netherlands.
A few years ago, the judiciary started a renewed offensive to get so-called Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) banned by the courts. A number of cases are still ongoing, against clubs such as Satudarah, Bandidos and No Surrender.
New York City, NY, USA (October 7, 2020) - The assassination of a Bronx motorcycle club leader was retaliation for someone opening fire on the Hells Angels new Bronx headquarters, prosecutors revealed Wednesday.
Hells Angels members Frank “Loose Cannon” Tatulli, 58, and Sayanon Thongthawath, 29, were arrested July 22 for for allegedly shooting Francisco Rosado, the head of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club’s Bronx chapter.
Rosado, 51, was shot dead in a parking lot at Holland Ave. and Boston Road in Allerton about 3:20 p.m. on May 2, near the Bronx building where he worked as a super. He was shot in the head, neck and back. Another Pagan, identified as Javier Cruz, 42, was shot in the arm, officials said.
Two masked suspects were caught on disturbing video jumping out of their Jeep Cherokee and opening fire on the two men.
The Pagan's have been deemed an outlaw motorcycle club by federal authorities, and several of its members have been linked to drug dealing, violence and death, officials said.
Tatulli and Thongthawath were arrested on July 22 on charges of murder, manslaughter, attempted murder and assault charges A third suspect, Anthony Destefano, 27, a member of Satan’s Soldiers, was also arrested and charged with manslaughter and conspiracy.
The motive at the time was unknown.
A Bronx grand jury recently indicted Tatulli and Thongthawath on murder charges. Both are being held without bail on Rikers Island awaiting their next court date.
“The defendants allegedly shot the two victims, in retaliation for a January 2020 shooting outside the Hells Angels headquarters on Longstreet Ave. in the Bronx,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement Wednesday.
“The defendants allegedly conspired and carried out this horrific violence in a residential area, near a busy intersection in broad daylight. These retaliatory shootings hurt our communities and must stop.”
Lubbock, Texas, USA (October 7, 2020) - Justices with the Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas ruled that a 54-year-old man’s membership in a motorcycle club was not enough to convict him on a misdemeanor weapons charge that prohibits club members from possessing guns.
The September 28 ruling overturns 54-year-old Terry Martin’s February 2019 conviction of a class A misdemeanor count of unlawful carrying of a weapon.
A jury in the Lubbock County Court of Law 2 found Martin guilty and levied a $400 fine with no jail time.
Justices stated in their opinion that while there was evidence he was a member of a group that met the designation of a criminal street gang, the state failed to show that he was engaged in criminal activity as a gang member. “Both gang membership and connection to criminal conduct are required,” the opinion states.
Martin’s conviction stemmed from an April 17, 2018, traffic stop by a corporal with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office for traffic violations including speeding, making an unsafe lane change and having a partially obscured license plate.
During the stop Martin told the corporal he had a weapon in his vest, which bore the Cossacks name and colors. Martin admitted to being a member of the Cossacks motorcycle club, which is recognized by Texas law enforcement as a criminal street gang, defined by statute as “three or more persons have a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.”
A gang member is one of three or more persons who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities, according to statute.
The unlawful carrying of a weapon charge includes a provision that prohibits members of a criminal street gang from possessing a firearm.
The corporal arrested Martin, who was booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center on the Class A misdemeanor. Under the statute, it is illegal for members of a criminal street gang to possess weapons. Martin appealed his conviction citing 15 grounds, the last one citing insufficient evidence to show he met the criteria of a criminal street gang member prohibited from possessing a firearm.
However, justices ruled only on the insufficiency argument, saying his trial counsel failed to preserve the other grounds, which challenged the constitutionality of the statute, for his appeal by not raising them at his trial.
During Martin’s trial, prosecutors called on the arresting deputy, who told jurors he determined Martin was a member of the Cossacks based on Martin’s admission during the stop and his attire, which was the vest bearing the gang’s black and yellow colors.
He told jurors he was aware the Cossacks Motorcycle Club is a criminal street gang actively engaging in criminal activity in Lubbock. However, he said he did not know of any criminal charges filed against a Cossack members in the area. “The only thing I do have is just intelligence,” the deputy said.
A member of the Lubbock Anti-Gang Center, who served as the state’s gang expert at trial, told jurors that the Cossacks is an outlaw motorcycle gang that operates nationwide engaging in assaults, threats of violence, intimidation and illegal firearms possession.
Among the criteria used by Texas law enforcement to determine gang membership include a judicial finding and self-identification by a person during a judicial proceeding. Martin was also entered in the Texas Gang Database by the McLennan County Sehriff’s Office and DPS in Waco.
Martin told jurors during the trial that he didn’t believe the Cossacks was a criminal street gang. He also told jurors he has never been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor crime, other than traffic violations. Among the evidence presented to the jury of Martin’s criminal record was a May 2015 arrest in connection with the fatal shooting in Waco involving the Cossacks, Bandidos and law enforcement.
The shooting resulted in nine deaths and the arrest of more than 170 people, including Martin who was charged with organized crime. However, the charge was dismissed and justices ruled that it was insufficient to prove that Martin was a gang member that “continuously or regularly associated in the commission of criminal activities.”
“Both gang membership and a connection to criminal conduct are required,” the justice wrote in the unpublished opinion. “This single arrest, on charges which were later dismissed, does not establish that appellant continuously or regularly associated in the commission of criminal activities.”
Brisbane, Australia, (October 6, 2020) - Investigators from the Organised Crime Gangs Group have charged an alleged prospect of the Mongols MC with drug and weapon offences following the execution of a search warrant at a Browns Plains residence on Friday.
During the search of the residence on October 2, police located and seized 1.3 kilograms of methylamphetamine, 551 grams of cocaine, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition and approximately $50,000 cash.
A cash counting machine and Mongols MC clothing were also located and seized.
A 24-year-old Browns Plains man, allegedly a prospect of the Mongols MC, was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a dangerous drug exceeding schedule, possession of category H firearms, possession of ammunition and possession of proceeds of crime.
Detective Inspector Larissa Miller from the Organised Crime Gangs Group said this was a notable seizure with the arrest reflecting the Queensland Police Service’s commitment to pursuing motorcycle club-driven crime.
“OMCGs are motivated only by greed and profit, their activities are interwoven with the illegal possession of firearms, drugs and money causing significant harm to our community,” Inspector Miller said.
“To those thinking of joining a gang, know that we are resolute in our commitment to disrupting and prosecuting members and associates of OMCGS and protecting the community from their criminal activities.”
The man appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on October 3 and was remanded in custody.