Three Hells Angels and two of their associates are in jail, charged with intimidating a Spokane County prosecutor and witnesses in a recent murder trial.
A special force of 80 officers made the arrests and simultaneously served search warrants Tuesday at five locations throughout Spokane County.
Drugs, firearms and assorted business records were seized in the raids.
Officers also were looking for evidence linking the Hells Angels to the unsolved April 29 bombing outside City Hall, but nothing was found, sources said.
The search warrants are sealed from public inspection, and officials wouldn’t divulge details of the alleged crimes or how the three-month investigation was put together.
The charges are related to alleged threats made to Deputy Prosecutor David Hearrean and witnesses who testified against Hells Angel Timothy Myers at his recent murder trial.
Myers was acquitted by a jury May 10 of the fatal shooting of a rival motorcycle gang member and wounding a second man last December outside a Hillyard tavern. Hearrean, who heads the prosecutor’s gang unit, handled the case.
The jury determined that Myers acted in self-defense.
Myers was among those arrested Tuesday.
“I’m concerned that it’s a form of retaliation,” said defense attorney Bevan Maxey, who successfully defended Myers on murder and assault charges. “I hope for the prosecution’s sake that the evidence in this case is much better than they relied upon in their failed attempt to convict Mr. Myers,” Maxey said.
The intimidation case was assigned to Assistant City Attorney Rocco Treppiedi because one of the people who allegedly was intimidated is a deputy county prosecutor.
Armed with warrants, teams of Washington State Patrol troopers and detectives, sheriff’s deputies and city police fanned out Tuesday morning for the simultaneous searches.
Two South Hill houses were searched, and methamphetamine and five loaded firearms were found in one of them a block from Comstock Park.
A small amount of methamphetamine also was found in another Hells Angels house in Northwest Terrace, in north Spokane, where three of the suspects were arrested.
Those arrested included Myers and Richard “Smilin’ Rick” Fabel, 39, the president of the Spokane chapter of the Hells Angels.
Myers, 42, is charged with intimidation of witnesses who testified for the prosecution at his murder-assault trial.
“To my knowledge, Mr. Myers conducted himself at all times appropriately,” Maxey said. “The motives of the people bringing these charges should be brought under serious scrutiny.”
Before and during Myers’ two-week murder trial, Hearrean and his wife said they received several threats and were followed.
Charged with intimidating the prosecutor are Fabel, Hells Angels member Michael Cultis, 49, and club associates Michael Lynn Wooster, 39, and Joe Edward Dye, 35.
Myers was arrested when police stopped his vehicle at Mission and Greene before searching his home at 11921 N. Main in Mead.
Just six hours before the murder trial started on April 29, a pipe bomb exploded outside entrance doors at City Hall, which was closed. There were no injuries. The bombing remains unsolved, and officials haven’t tied it to anyone or any group.
Hearrean’s wife was fired from her job at a downtown office building after a bomb threat was received.
Fabel has denied that either he or others associated with the Hells Angels were involved in threatening the prosecutor or his wife.
Before his arrest, Fabel volunteered to take a lie detector test if Hearrean would also take one.
Hearrean couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. But his boss, Prosecutor Jim Sweetser, said he was pleased with the arrests.
“I appreciate law enforcement’s thorough investigation of potential intimidation which threatens the effective administration of justice.”
“The whole community has a stake in making sure the judicial system operates effectively,” without interference, Sweetser said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 6 Photos (1 color) Map of location of Hells Angels’ clubhouse