Posts tagged: Hells Angels
The girlfriend of jailed Hells Angel sergeant-at-arms Ricky Warren Jenks has been charged with three felonies for her alleged role in the murder of a 22-year-old man whose body was found in the back of his burning car in April.
Britney Bjork, 30, is accused of helping burn Nicholas J. Thoreson's car and driving murder suspects Taylor J. Wolf, 20; Justice E.D Sims, 19; and Breeanna C. Sims, 20; from the scene at Forker Road near Bigelow Gulch. Thoreson is pictured left; Wolf is pictured lower right.
In addition to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and second-degree arson, Bjork is charged with conspiracy to commit perjury in the first-degree for allegedly helping Wolf craft false statements.
She pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court and was allowed to stay out of jail pending trial. She declined comment today after Jenks was sentenced in U.S. District Court to two years in prison.
Wolf had been staying at Jenks and Bjork’s home at the Knotty Pines Cottages, 13615 E. Trent Ave., since before Jenks’ arrest on federal gun charges in March, according to court documents.
Detectives Bjork sent Wolf a text message early April 13 that said to tell a friend “that everything is fine that you got lost and stranded. you thought you were around bigalow but really you were by otis orchards. clear the fact that you were anywhere near that area!”
Wolf talked to Bjork over the phone from jail after his arrest. Detectives listened to the calls and say Bjork told him, “You've been with me…this whole…time,” to which Wolf responded, “I know, I never left your side.”
But detectives say Wolf also told Bjork on April 22 he was going to shoot Thoreson but “I couldn’t do it, so me and Justice did it together,” according to court documents, citing recorded phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”
Wolf and the Simses are charged with aggravated first-degree murder, among other charges, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison because prosecuters are not seeking the death penalty.
Also charged in the case is the Simses' half-brother, who pleaded guilty in juvenile court to threatening a witness in the case. The teen is not being named because he was charged as a juvenile.
Emily K. Karlinsey, 19, who is accused of making threatening phone calls to a witness, is set to go to trial in Superior Court.
In this Friday, Sept. 23, photo, officers keep an eye on handcuffed men at the east entrance to John Ascuaga's Nugget after a shooting in Sparks, Nev. (AP Photo/The Reno Gazette-Journal)
By KEN RITTER,Associated Press
LAS VEGAS (AP) — With a Hells Angel dead in a northern Nevada casino shooting, two members of the rival Vagos motorcycle club wounded and a third hurt in a drive-by attack hours later, investigators were using video and witnesses Monday to identify who's responsible for the weekend violence.
One Hells Angels member was in jail, but no arrests have been made in Friday night's slaying of Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew at John Ascuaga's Nugget, Deputy Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen said. Pettigrew, 51, was the president of the Hells Angels chapter in San Jose, Calif., where he worked as a city heavy equipment operator.
Allen said Monday that casino surveillance video won't be made public until investigators complete the painstaking work of identifying about 60 Vagos and 12 Hells Angels amid a crowd of several hundred people gambling and partying. Members of the crowd suddenly dove for cover when gunfire disrupted the regional Street Vibrations motorcycle rally.
“We don't want to sensationalize it. We don't want to influence the groups. We don't want to have something happen somewhere else,” Allen said in an interview. “A lot of the players are from out of the state and out of the region. If you look at it historically, there've been tensions between these two groups. But we're still looking at what exactly set off this specific incident.”
In Arizona, more than two dozen members of the rival groups were arrested in August 2010 after a shootout left five people wounded in Chino Valley, north of Prescott.
In California, an annual organized crime report from the state attorney general calls longstanding tensions between the Hells Angels and the Vagos “particularly poignant.” It cited instances in which the Hells Angels have forced Vagos out of chapters in Hells Angels hotspots.
San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer downplayed the possibility of retaliatory acts in the largest city of the San Francisco Bay area.
“We are not aware of any specific threat at this time,” Dwyer said Monday. “We are not expecting any action here.”
Allen said it appeared from the videos that the Sparks shooting was spontaneous and not the result of two groups entering the 1,600-room hotel and casino girded for battle.
One witness told the Reno Gazette-Journal that a man wearing Hells Angels insignia pulled a handgun and fired after being bloodied and knocked to the floor in a fistfight.
The shooting drew a heavy response from local, state and federal law enforcers, prompting the cancellation of the weekend rally in Sparks. The mayor declared a state of emergency.
Two men identified by police as Vagos motorcycle club members from California were wounded.
Leonard Ramirez, 45, was hospitalized with an abdominal wound, and Diego Garcia, 28, was wounded in the leg, Allen said. Both men were reported to be in stable condition over the weekend at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. A hospital spokesman said he could release no information about them Monday.
The only man arrested immediately after the shooting — Cesar Villagrana, 36, a Hells Angel member from California — was being held Monday on $500,000 bail at the Washoe County jail in Reno. He faces a court appearance on felony assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm charges.
It was not immediately clear if Villagrana had a lawyer.
Allen said Villagrana was seen on the videotape shooting into the crowd, but police found no immediate evidence that he wounded anyone.
“We were very fortunate that nobody else got hurt,” Allen said.
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini later linked a drive-by shooting Saturday morning that left a motorcyclist wounded to the deadly casino shooting less than 12 hours earlier.
Police said Shane Smith, 40, a Vagos member from California, was hospitalized in stable condition.
Allen said police weren't immediately able to connect the two shootings. He said investigators were looking for witnesses and a black BMW four-door sedan with tinted windows that pulled alongside Smith before he was shot.
Associated Press writer Terry Collins in San Francisco contributed to this report.
A federal judge today refused to allow Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks out of jail so he can help with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.
U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush ripped Jenks during the hearing, saying Jenks hadn’t “earned” much consideration from him.
“His record is not one that generates a great deal of sympathy,” Quackenbush said of Jenks. “But here he is escaping another major, major multiyear sentence.”
Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks pleaded guilty in federal court in Spokane today to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but the judge handling the case said he wants more time before accepting the plea.
U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush questioned why federal prosecutors accepted the plea agreement calling for only two years in prison when Jenks faced twice that prison time had the case proceeded to trial.
In a case of be careful of who you cook pasta for, a Spokane marijuana grower faces a potentially longer prison term because of his culinary association with known members of the Hells Angels biker gang.
Patrick D. Bozarth Jr., 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to grow marijuana, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The case could have been prosecuted under more lenient state statutes, but was sent to federal authorities because of his association with the Spokane chapter of the Hells Angels.
A member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and grow more than 100 marijuana plants.
Michael R. Fitzpatrick, 33, was arrested on March 3, the same day federal agents arrested club Sergeant at Arms Ricky W. Jenks at the club's headquarter at 1308 E. Sprague Ave. He was allowed to leave jail the next day but has been in custody since the federal indictment was filed in April.
Fitzpatrick had faced up to 40 years in prison, but attorneys for both sides agreed upon a sentencing recommendation of 6 ½ years in federal prison.
Julio Cesar Martinez and Patrick Bozarth are also charged in the case.
Prosecutors are prohibited from referencing the terms “Hells Angels,” “Mongols” and “gangs” in the upcoming trial of club Sergeant at Arms Ricky Jenks.
U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush said federal prosecutors can refer to Jenks' membership in a “motorcycle club” only. He said the other references “would be unfairly prejudicial and generate 'more heat than light.'” Those orders were reiterated in pretrial documents filed last week.
Jenks' trial, originally set to begin Tuesday, is now scheduled to begin July 11 at 9 a.m. He faces 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He has been in jail since his arrest March 3 during a raid at the Hells Angels Spokane clubhouse on East Sprague Avenue.
The raid came as tensions between the Hells Angels and Mongols were rumored to be heating up.
A member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club pleaded not guilty Monday to gun and drug charges.
Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33, was booked into Spokane County Jail after his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno in U.S. District Court in Spokane.
Fitzpatrick is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, distribution of cocaine and three counts of distribution of marijuana.
He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Two others are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, but their names are redacted in the indictment, which was returned last week.
Fitzpatrick was arrested on a marijuana charge March 3 but was allowed to leave jail the next day, and Spokane County prosecutors never formally charged him. Now he's at the Spokane County jail without bail on the federal indictments.
A hearing to determine if Fitzpatrick should be allowed to leave jail on bail is set for Thursday. He's represented by Chris Phelps.
A grand jury has indicted a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang on federal drug and gun charges.
Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33, is accused of conspiring with two unidentified people to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Fitzpatrick was arrested on a marijuana charge March 4, the same day investigators searched the Hells Angels clubhouse, 1308 E. Sprague Ave., in what they said was an ongoing investigation.
The sergeant at arms of the Washington chapter of the Hells Angels has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Ricky W. Jenks, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after the jury indicted him in U.S. District Court for felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty to the indictment on Friday and remains in the Spokane County Jail without bond.
Jenks, whose felony convictions include manslaughter, was the only suspect arrested at the clubhouse after investigators found eight firearms. The five other men at the clubhouse during the March 3 raid were from out of town and are not prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, prosecutors say.
One of those men, Hells Angel member Jameal A. Hadeed, has claimed ownership of five of the eight firearms, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Another, Travis I. Vanweerdhuizen has claimed ownership of one.
But prosecutors have said four of the five men with Jenks at the clubhouse arrived in Spokane via airplane and did not check firearms.
Prosecutors are refusing to release the affidavit that authorized the search because it “contains material regarding an ongoing investigation,” documents said.
Another Hells Angel arrested March 4, Michael R. Fitzpatrick, 33, was jailed on a marijuana charge but released the next day.
The sergeant at arms of the Washington chapter of the Hells Angels will remain in jail after a federal judge ruled there was probable cause to hold him on a gun charge.
Ricky W. Jenks, 33, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
His public defender, Kailey Moran, said prosecutors have no evidence Jenks possessed any of the loaded guns found at the Hells Angels Spokane clubhouse on March 3, just that his jacket was near them.
But Judge James Hutton said prosecutors need only to show that Jenks had knowledge of the firearms and had the ability to control them, not that he physically possessed them.
If police spotted the guns so easily, “one would infer that Mr. Jenks would also be able to see these firearms,” Hutton said Wednesday.
Moran said the federal warrant authorizing the search of the clubhouse remains sealed but that it is a document-based warrant targeting another suspect, not Jenks.
Jenks, whose felony convictions include manslaughter, was the only local Hells Angels at the clubhouse. Another was from Tacoma and four others had flown in from out of state. None checked firearms when traveling and none are prohibited form possessing weapons because they aren't felons, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aine Ahmed.
Investigators originally reported finding six firearms. Ahmed said Wednesday that investigators found two others in an additional search.
Another Hells Angel arrested in March, Michael R. Fitzpatrick, 33, wasjailed on a marijuana charge but released the next day.
He was to be arraigned Wednesday, but county prosecutors haven't yet filed charges.
A ranking member of the Hells Angels will remain in jail without bail after his arrest last week on a federal gun charge.
Ricky W. Jenks, 33, poses a threat to the community based on his criminal history and the seriousness of the allegation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno said Tuesday before approving a request from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to keep Jenks in custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Van Marter said Jenks has a “disturbing history of violence” that includes manslaughter and has been aided by his association with the Hells Angels.
Dolores Taylor heard the news from her daughter, who lives in Pullman.
“She said 'I finally have some good news. He's been arrested again,” Taylor recalled during a phone call Friday from her east Texas home.
Taylor was referring to Ricky Jenks.
Jenks, arrested Thursday in a police raid at the Hells Angels headquarters in Spokane, was involved in the shooting death of Taylor's son, Lonnie Earl Taylor, 37, on March 21, 2001, in what authorities described as a murder plotted by the Hells Angels, Jenks' outlaw motorcycle gang.
Taylor said she was troubled when Jenks was convicted of only manslaughter and served just 21 months in prison.
Now she's hopeful Jenks (pictured in 2002) will go away for longer.
“If anybody belongs up there in prison, it's him,” she said.
A family member of Jenks' has not returned a phone call seeking comment. Jenks is in federal custody and unavailable for interviews.
Jenks, sergeants of arms of the Washington chapter of the Hells Angels, was arrested at the gang's headquarters at 1308 E. Sprague Avenue in Spokane Thursday. He's being held without bail on a single charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. A bail hearing is scheduled Tuesday.
Another Hells Angel member, Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, was arrested on a marijuana charge at another location Thursday. He was released from jail on Friday.
Jenks and Joseph D. Shafer were convicted of second-degree mansluaghter in Taylor's death, which authorities say occurred during a drug rip will Taylor made methamphetamine.
Jenks was wanted on a first-degree murder charge for several months before an an off-duty sheriff’s lieutenant spotted him at a grocery store, leading to his arrest.
Taylor, a 37-year-old mechanic, was found fatally shot in a house at 1125 S. Robinhood in the Sherwood Forest subdivision in the Valley. The homeowner told investigators that Taylor came to the house and was making meth when the shooting occurred, court documents say.
Taylor recalled attending Jenks' court hearings, which she said were packed with patch-wearing Hells Angels members.
“The courtroom was hell. We had to be escorted out.”
Taylor said she deeply disagrees with Jenks' short prison stint.
“He killed my son,” said Taylor, who lives in Jacksonville, Texas. “I'm 82, and I'm waiting for justice before I go.”
A Hells Angels member arrested on a marijuana charge Thursday in Spokane was released from jail on his own recognizance Friday.
Michael Ryan Fitzpatrick, 33, was booked into jail Thursday on one felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance after selling marijuana in a “controlled drug buy” set up by the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force last fall, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The one-paragraph affidavit, signed Thursday by Jeff Barrington, alleges the transaction occurred in October.
Superior Court Judge Michael Price allowed Fitzpatrick to leave jail Friday without posting bail, which pre-trial services recommended and is common in marijuana cases. Fitzpatrick has three felony convictions from several years ago, Price said.
The affidavit contains no information about Fitzpatrick's arrest, which occurred Thursday after federal agents and Spokane police searched the Hells Angels clubhouse at 1308 E. Sprague Ave. Fitzpatrick was not at the club at the time but was arrested at a different location.
Also arrested was Hells Angels sergeant of arms Ricky W. Jenks, 33.
Jenks remains in jail without bail on a federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Investigators say they found six loaded firearms in the clubhouse.
Jenks was among those indicted in 2006 with now imprisoned chapter president Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel (pictured).
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.