Feds cap seven-year investigation with arrest of 22 ranking members of Biker gang, including the leader and his predecessor, in early morning raids conducted in the West coast and Pcific rim, Friday, Jun 17
Federal agents arrested the members of ‘The Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang’, on suspicions of racketeering
Feds targeted 23 member of what they say is a “highly organized criminal organization”, with fierce allegiance to the gang and a disdain for the rule of law
The indictment accused targeted members of several crimes, including murder, kidnapping and drug sales
Feds said it’s all part of an effort to bolster the gang’s coffers and dominance over other biker gangs
Influential members arrested include the group’s current leader, as well as his predecessor
Others are Bradley Michael Campos, 50; John Joseph Siemer, 60; Pastor Fausto Palafox, 53; Albert Lopez, 39; Andrew Eloy Lozano, 42; James Patrick Gillespie, 68; John Chrispin Juarez, 69; Paul Jeffrey Voll, 52; and Albert Benjamin Perez, 57
Siemer, Gillespie, Juarez, Lopez and Voll allegedly issued orders to kill rival gang members and lower-ranking Vagos members who violated their rules
Federal agents walking the leadership of Vagos OMG who they arrested after a drawn out investigation.
Shackled gang members sit in line after their arrest.
Federal agents, Friday acted on an investigation stretching back seven-year, after a grand jury indictment that was unsealed after the coordinated, early morning arrests leveled federal racketeering charges against 23 members of the biker based crime syndicate, ‘The Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang’.
Agents and police officers from various agencies led by Homeland Security Investigations took 22 of the suspects into custody, officials said. The outstanding member died in recent weeks.
Prosecutors portrayed the gang as a “highly organized criminal organization” in the indictment and accused the targeted members of carrying out many crimes, including murder, kidnapping and drug sales as part of an effort to bolster the gang’s coffers and dominance over other biker gangs.
The sweep netted the gang’s current leader, as well as he predecessor
TheLos Angeles Times reports that several members of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, including its leader and his predecessor, were arrested during raids throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii.
Federal agents made the 22 busts early Friday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“The rule of law dealt a serious blow to the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a so-called ‘brotherhood’ responsible for drug addiction, death and mayhem,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco in a news release.
The grand pubas of Vagos OMG , stripped sit on the kerb waiting to be transported for arraignment
According to an unsealed grand jury indictment, 23 members — one died before Friday’s arrests — have been accused ofT 103 “overt acts” of criminal behavior including narcotics distribution, firearms trafficking and violent acts including murder, kidnapping, assault, extortion, robbery and witness intimidation.”
Federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security, along with assistance from ICE and the ATF, raided a homes of the suspects, in coordinated raids on Friday, morning.
Among those taken into custody were Bradley Michael Campos, 50; John Joseph Siemer, 60; Pastor Fausto Palafox, 53; Albert Lopez, 39; Andrew Eloy Lozano, 42; James Patrick Gillespie, 68; John Chrispin Juarez, 69; Paul Jeffrey Voll, 52; and Albert Benjamin Perez, 57.
The Mercury News reports that five of the members – Siemer, Gillespie, Juarez, Lopez and Voll – allegedly issued orders to kill rival gang members and lower-ranking Vagos members who violated their rules.
Two arrested during the raids, Lozano and Perez, were accused of carrying out orders from senior Vagos members.
“Today’s coordinated takedown of this biker organization’s leadership is a victory for all of us who respect and love our country,” Blanco said.
Federal agents sprung the seven-year trap with massed early morning raids, June 17
Despite the gang’s well-established reputation for violence and stockpiling weapons, agents encountered no resistance as they served arrest and search warrants in a dozen cities beginning around 5 am, authorities said.
The raids, a culmination of an investigation stretching back seven years, “is a major undertaking and we hope it causes a major disruption to the gang’s operation. It will take them some time to fill the leadership void, ” said Special Agent, Matthew Rice.
Of the men arrested Friday, many held influential positions in the organization’s upper echelons, the indictment claims. They include the group’s current leader, as well as, his predecessor.
Started in the 1960s California, the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful biker gangs in the country. It has reportedly, grown over the decades to a 1,000 strong membership strewn across dozens of chapters throughout the U.S. and other countries.
Prosecutors said Vagos is a highly hierarchical operation with well-defined lines of authority, deeply ingrained rules and traditions that are underpinned by a fierce allegiance to the gang and a disdain for the rule of law. An intricate system of chapter dues and taxes, along with drug sales and other illegal activity, funds the operation, authorities allege.
HSI agents stand over some of the targeted Vagos Biker gang members after their arrest Friday.
The indictment paints a portrait of a group consumed by turf battles with rival gangs such as the Hells Angels and Mongols, as well as with severely punishing members who were thought to have betrayed the gang with beatings.
Among other crimes, the indictment charges eight Vagos members, including Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, for the 2011 death of a Hells Angels member at the Nugget Hotel and Casino in Sparks, Nevada.
In July 2013, when it was discovered that the gang had been infiltrated by law enforcement, Vagos leaders put out a $100,000 bounty on the head of the undercover officer, according to the indictment They offered a similar reward for the killing of the president of the gang’s Las Vegas chapter, who was suspected of cooperating with authorities.
Other crimes include, several documented drug sales – methamphetamine and cocaine.
Sources said feds relied on wire taps, members turned into informants, as well as, undercover infiltration of the gang after surviving the exhaustive membership vetting process.