Posts tagged: Brian Lee Hall
A Canadian Hells Angel who fought extradition to Spokane for two years has pleaded guilty to a federal marijuana charge.
Brian Lee Hall faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced April 6, but his lawyer said he'll ask that his client receive credit for time already served in jail and two years probation.
A co-defendant, David A. Sidwell, 61, already is serving 40 months in federal prison.
According to Hall's plea agreement, the case began when border patrol agents spotted Sidwell near the border in February 2003, hiding under a truck registered in Spokane. A backpack with nearly $185,000 was located about five feet from him. Sidwell's phone showed extensive contact with Hall and Canadian marijuana smuggler Glen Misko.
In September 2003, a confidential informant in Portland said he'd been receiving marijuana that had been transferred into the United States by Misko, then brought to Portland by Sidwell, according to Hall's plea agreement. The informant traveled to Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and recorded conversations with Sidwell in which Sidwell described losing the cash in what he said was a close call.
Sidwell pleaded guilty in May 2009 to two marijuana charges and one count of attempting bulk cashing smuggling.
Hall, described in court documents as a full-patch Hells Angel, was arrested in British Columbia in 2008 and was in jail and on home-monitoring before consenting to extradition earlier this year. He arrived in Spokane in May and was allowed out of custody on bond pending trial.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import marijuana in Spokane last Wednesday and will stay out of custody pending sentencing.
A Canadian Hells Angel in federal custody at the Spokane County Jail had his cash bail requirement drastically reduced Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Brian L. Hall, 43, will be allowed out of custody if he posts $100,00 cash bond and a $300,000 surety bond, not $400,000 cash as previously ordered. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno approved Hall’s request today.
Federal prosecutors, who appealed Imbrogno’s original decision to grant Hall bond, didn’t directly object to the request but said the change “turns the case bond amount in to a bail facilitation conditions, rather than an appearance assurance condition,” according to court documents.
Hall faces drug and money laundering charges for alleged crimes in 2003 and 2004. He fought extradition from Canada for nearly two years before arriving in Spokane in May.
Imbrogno cited Hall’s lack of criminal history and his strong family support when granting bond; Judge Fremming Nielsen later upheld her decision.
In a motion filed June 30, Hall’s lawyer, Todd Maybrown of Seattle, said Hall and his fiancee, Kristina Kieler, got $100,000 cash from a home equity loan and have obtained a $200,000 surety bond from Lacey O’Malley Bail bonds in Seattle based on property a friend of Hall’s owns on Vancouver Island. The motion also says Kieler tried visiting Hall June 29 but was detained at the border “and interrogated for more than four hours.”
“The officers demanded to know how Mr. Hall would be able to post the bail that had been set by this Court,” according to the motion.
A federal judge has rejected a prosecutor’s request to hold a Canadian Hells Angel without bail on drug and money laundering charges.
Brian L. Hall, 43, will be allowed to leave the Spokane County Jail and return to British Columbia if he posts a $400,000 cash bond, Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen ruled Tuesday.
Nielsen’s ruling upholds an early decision by Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno to grant Hall, a member of the notorious biker gang who fought extradition for nearly two years, bail under the condition he stay in contact with court officials and not contact biker gangs.
Federal prosecutors wanted Nielsen to reverse Imbrogno’s decision, arguing Hall is a flight risk, and that the cash bond is too low for a member of organized crime accused of laundering at least $180,000.
But Nielsen, like Imbrogno, ruled that Hall’s strong family ties, stable living situation, lack of a criminal history and work with two businesses outweigh concerns about his release.
Though a member of the Hells Angel, “there is insufficient evidence of substance abuse or dependency at this time,” Nielsen wrote. “Despite the nature of the charges, there is insufficient evidence that Mr. Hall presents a likely danger to the community should he be released.” Nielsen changed Hall’s release conditions to require $400,000 cash bond instead of $300,000 and to nix Imbrogno’s requirement that Hall’s grandparents post $100,000.
Hall’s charges are connected to $184,750 in U.S. currency seized by the Border Patrol in February 2003, as well as 1,200 pounds of marijuana seized by the DEA in April 2004.
A co-conspirator, David Sidwell, pleaded guilty in May 2009 to two marijuana charges and one count of attempting bulk cashing smuggling. He’s serving a 40-month prison sentence.
In court last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Smoot described the Canadian branch of the Hells Angels as “more business oriented than necessarily violence oriented.” “I think in fairness that needs to be said,” Smoot said.
Smoot questioned Hall’s offer to waive extradition, saying the waiver might not be acceptable because he signed it with the idea of release in mind.
Hall’s lawyer, Phillip Wetzel, said Hall was a highly paid mechanic who worked on big-rig trucks before getting injured and opening a motorcycle shop, Nitro Motion, and an excavation business.
There’s “not a suggestion or hint that he’s ever been involved in any intimidation or violence,” Wetzel said.
Hall remained in jail Tuesday night.
A member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang who fought extradition to the United States for two years was granted bail by a U.S. magistrate in Spokane, but federal prosecutors are appealing the decision.
Brian Lee Hall, 43, has been in the Spokane County Jail since May 7, more than four years after a grand jury indicted him on marijuana and money laundering charges.
Hall, described in court documents as a full-patch member of the notorious biker gang, was arrested in British Columbia in 2008 and was in jail and on home-monitoring before consenting to extradition earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors want him held without bail, but his attorney successfully argued last week that he should be allowed to return to Canada before the charges are resolved.
A motion asking to reconsider Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno’s decision is to be argued on Thursday. Imbrogno cited Hall’s lack of criminal history and his strong family support when allowing him to post $400,000 bond - $300,000 from Hall and $100,000 from his grandparents, Howard and Lorna Bell - and leave the country. He’s required to check in with authorities and not contact motorcycle gangs.
A 19-page memorandum filed Monday by federal prosecutors says the letters from Hall’s friends and family presented to Imbrogno didn’t prove Hall isn’t a flight risk. It details several reasons to keep Hall behind bars, including the propensity of foreigners in drug cases to flee and the dangers associated with the Hells Angels.
“Rather than assert that the Defendant’s association with the Hells Angels should have no bearing on his request for release, defense counsel suggested that conditions of release could include no contacts with any Hells Angels members,” prosecutors wrote. “At the least, defense counsel’s suggestion presupposes the negative connotation associated with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. At the most, it concedes the gang’s propensity for dangerous association.”
Hall’s charges are connected to $184,750 in U.S. currency seized by the Border Patrol in February 2003, as well as 1,200 pounds of marijuana seized by the DEA in April 2004. A co-conspirator, David Sidwell, pleaded guilty in May 2009 to two marijuana charges and one count of attempting bulk cashing smuggling. He’s serving a 40-month prison sentence.
Hall’s defense lawyer, Todd Maybrown of Seattle, filed a memorandum opposing the government’s request for detention today, calling the government’s request “self-serving.”
According to the document, Hall does not have a passport, worked in landscaping and lived in Abbotsford, B.C with his fiancee, Kristina Keiler, and her two young daughters before his arrest. Hall was a successful professional motorcycle rider when he joined the Hells Angels, his lawyer said.
“There is simply no basis to believe Mr. Hall represents any danger to the community,” according to the memo. “…Without any real evidence to supports its Motion for Detention, the Government is left to make wild and unsupported accusations.”
The motion is to be argued Thursday at 8:30 a.m.