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(USA) Motorcycle club members on trial for racketeering, other charges
Seven members of a Clinton Township-based motorcycle club are on trial in federal court in Detroit on allegations of conducting a criminal enterprise that federal prosecutors say included violent acts, drug-manufacturing and dealing, and gambling over many years.The trial began Wednesday in U.S. District Court with opening statements by U.S. Assistant Attorney Eric Strauss, who promised the 18 jurors that they will enter ?the world of outlaw bikers? of the Devil?s Diciples Motorcycle Club. The trial follows a nearly 10-year investigation primarily by the Macomb County FBI office.?You?re going to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly of the biker world,? Strauss said, adding that the defendants ?committed a series of crimes under the umbrella of a criminal enterprise,? aka racketeering.The seven were among 41 people indicted in 2012. Other defendants are still awaiting trial and others have resolved their case on the promise to testify in the trial, which is expected to last at least three months in front of Judge Robert Cleland, Strauss said.Currently on trial are national club president Jeff Garvin ?Fat Dog? Smith, 59, of Mount Clemens; Paul ?Pauli? Darrah, 49, of Macomb Township; Cary ?Gun Control? Vandiver, 54, of Mount Clemens; Vincent ?Holiday? Witort of California; Patrick Michael ?Magoo? McKeoun; Scott ?Scotty Z? Sutherland; and David Randy ?D? Drozdowski. The defendants are all in custody.The club has been conducting the enterprise since the early 1990s through the mid-2000s, according to officials. The club has chapters in Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, Strauss said. Besides the township, Michigan chapters were located in Port Huron, Utica, Grand Rapids and for a short time Detroit?s west side.Darrah commonly carried out the wishes of Smith, Strauss said.Witort was allegedly involved in the baseball beating of four Devil?s Diciples members in the Arizona chapter whom Strauss said were left to die in the Box Canyon, near Florence, Ariz. The men were beaten in retaliation for raping, beating and torturing a wife or girlfriend of a member of Hell?s Angels, a friend of the Diciples, he said. The beating was done to ?avert an all-out war with the Hell?s Angels,? Strauss said.Strauss said jurors will hear about territorial ?wars? among motorcycle gangs that were ?friends? or ?foes? of the Diciples, particularily when the Diciples tried to expand into the west side of Detroit.Smith shot a member in Mount Clemens and in another incident beat the girlfriend of a member in the clubhouse, and Drozdowski beat a man who was wearing the ?colors? of a rival motorcycle club at a bar, all to further the enterprise, Strauss said.McKeoun was the ?in-house meth cook,? he said.All the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering as well as conspiracy to commit racketeering by making or selling drugs, methamphetamine and Vicodin. Smith, Darrah and Vandiver are charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering by operating video slot and video poker machines in the national headquarters clubhouse, located on Gratiot Avenue, south of Hall Road, just north of Mount Clemens. The blue-colored structure was referred to by club members as the Detroit or Mount Clemens clubhouse.Smith, Darrah and Vandiver are also charged with obstruction of justice via witness tampering, influencing a witness to commit perjury in a trial several years ago against another club member, and assault with intent to commit assault in aid of racketeering.Strauss said club members called themselves ?the 1 percenters,? not a reference to their income level but a description of their exclusion from society?s laws. Their slogan, ?Forever, Together, Whatever,? is code for, ?F--- the World,? he said.Members were keenly aware of law enforcement?s interest in them. They had an ?obsession with snitches,? Strauss said. An 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper found in their clubhouse said in big letters, ?The Feds are trying to Jam us up. Be sharp!? Law enforcement manuels were found in searches of the clubhouse or members? property, he said.In response to the accusations, the defendants? attorneys in their opening statements accused federal officials of disparaging the club and its activities in attempting to collectively stereotype them as ?bad guys.??The case is premised on ?guilt by association,?? said Vandiver?s attorney, Mark Satawa. ?He is a bad guy, they are bad guys, so you better convict them regardless of the proofs, regardless of the evidence.?Ten years and all that time and those resources, what the evidence will show is a runway case against a group, not individuals.??This is not a cohesive organized group; this is not a criminal enterprise,? said attorney Ryan Machasic, representing Drozdowski. ?Being a member of a motorcycle club is not a crime.?Attorneys pointed out the club is being tried under the same law -- the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) -- that mafia families have been prosecuted under. Patricia Maceroni, Darrah?s attorney, said the Devil?s Diciples cannot be compared to the racketeers in the ?Godfather? movies.?This is nothing close to the Corleone family,? she said.The attorneys noted club members often went on ?runs,? long, group motorcycle trips, some of which were staged to raise money for charity. Most of the defendants had full-time jobs and families. Two attorneys compared membership to being a member of a ?country club? for golfers.Kimberly Stout, Witort?s attorney, said the group had a common passion for ?American-made motorcycles.? Owning a Harley Davidson motorcycle, built in Wisconsin, was a club requirement.The defense attorneys said, and Strauss conceded, that much of the case is built on the testimony of former club members who were paid or received leniency in their own criminal cases; or a family member received a benefit. Their credibility should be highly questioned, the attorneys told jurors.Some of the informants are former members who have ?an axe to grind,? one attorney said.Some informants were paid ?tens of thousands of dollars,? Maceroni said. One Devil?s Diciples member had $200 in delinquent dues payments paid by the government, she said.The witnesses were referred to as ?snitches,? although Machasic said, ?snitch is probably too good of a name for these witnesses.?Strauss acknowledged that jurors ?may not like a lot the witnesses.?Maceroni said Darrah?s serious health problems (he had a tracheostomy) prevented him from working full-time so he was a ?stay-at-home dad? who took care of his son. He also handled many of the day-to-day functions of the club, such as dues collection and spreading news, because of his availability,The FBI wiretapped Darrah?s telephone for eight months in 2008 during which investigators listened to 11,826 calls, 90 percent of which had nothing to do with he club, Maceroni said. Jurors will listen to 250 of those calls, during which there is ?salty language? and incidents of anger about issues, she said, but added, ?There is no evidence of an ongoing RICO conspiracy.??Paul Darrah is no saint, but he?s not a RICO monster, either,? she said.The seven defendants sat on a bench against a wall alongside the L-shaped defense-attorney table. Some of the men wore ties; others wore a polo or button-up shirt.They were led in and out of the courtroom in handcuffs.In a moment of levity with a purpose, Stout noted the men being ?middle-aged or older.??Do they look like mafia? They are out-of-shape,? she said, drawing a few chuckles in the courtroom.Following opening statements, Cleland denied a request by defense attorneys to adjourn the trial for two weeks because they received more than 1,000 additional pages of potential evidentiary material, on top of thousands already received, in the past few days.An assistant U.S. attorney opposed the delay, noting ? serious, ongoing issues, problems? with scheduling witnesses in part due to threats against them.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:45:49 +0000
(CAN) Editorial: Hells Angels, other Canadian bikers, should go terrorize ISIS
Islamic State terrorists, who claim not to be too worried that the combined air forces of the West plan to blast them to Kingdom Come, now face a new threat that they had better take seriously ? pissed-off Dutch bikers.Three members of the Dutch motorcycle gang No Surrender have travelled to northern Iraq to join Kurds who are fighting ISIS. Klaas Otto, the gang?s leader, told the Dutch state broadcaster that three of his members from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda were fighting near Mosul. Other reports said the bikers may be former members of the Netherland?s special forces.Dutch prosecutors have said that the bikers will not face criminal charges for taking up arms in Iraq.This leads to an obvious question: Why aren?t Canadian bikers, supposedly among the toughest in the world, joining the fight? While a fully armed CF-18 roaring in on your position is certainly nothing for terrorists to sneeze at, could you imagine the terror they?d feel if they saw dozens of Hells Angels rumbling toward them, heavily armed and with official approval to inflict any violence they felt was needed? The same goes for the Bandidos, Outlaws, Loners, Vagabonds, Red Devils or members of Satan?s Choice.So come on, bikers, to heck with toy runs. Do what you do best; head to Iraq and show ISIS what real terror feels like.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:41:12 +0000
(CAN) Verdict reserved in threats trial of ex-Hells Angel
A former Hells Angel charged with threatening to kill his ex-employer will learn the judge?s verdict in his case at the end of the month.Jesse Leigh Bitz pleaded not guilty to three counts of uttering death threats. Closing arguments at his trial were heard Wednesday in Saskatoon Court of Queen?s Bench.The case will ultimately come down to who Justice Neil Gabrielson believes is telling the truth, with a little twist about a question of law.The testimonyLeonard Banga, owner of Xtreme Mining and Demolition, testified Bitz threatened to kill him after he fired Bitz in December 2012, and again when they ran into each other by chance at a Saskatoon store in June 2013.Bitz testified in his own defence, admitting he got angry at Banga and threatened to smash his face in, but he denied any death threats.Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko argued Bitz?s story didn?t make any sense and the judge should believe Banga. Bitz?s version of events was that he was let go because he was a stellar employee who had decided to take a $20,000 pay cut to work for Agrium ? not because he was caught sleeping on the job and then threatened the employee who saw him, as Banga testified.Bitz?s testimony about what he told Banga during an encounter at the Cabela?s outlet on June 24, 2013, also didn?t make sense, Claxton-Viczko argued. Both men testified that Bitz told Banga he was lucky he still had Hells Angels working for him, but then their stories diverged. Banga said Bitz told him that when the last Hells Angel was done working for Banga, Bitz would kill Banga and his family.Bitz told court he said that when the last Hells Angel is done working for Banga, it would be time for the two men to fight.However, the pair had already fought on Dec. 31, 2012, when Bitz punched Banga in the face and Banga wrestled Bitz to the ground on the side of a road south of Saskatoon, the prosecutor noted.?So why would Mr. Bitz say to (Banga) at Cabela?s, ?But for these Hells Angels working for you, I?d beat you up now, we?d have a fight now?? ... That doesn?t make any sense,? Claxton-Viczko said.Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar argued Banga?s testimony was unreliable and Bitz should be believed. Banga testified he had 1,338 hours of audio recordings of his dealings with Hells Angels, but in the two audio files of conversations between Banga and Bitz played in court, there were no death threats, Bodnar noted.?Not one of his recordings has a death threat on it. What a coincidence, not one,? Bodnar said.The lawBodnar also brought up a question of law. The indictment outlining the charges against Bitz specifically alleges Bitz ?knowingly uttered a threat to Leonard Banga to cause death to Leonard Banga and his family.?Bitz testified he threatened to smash Banga?s face in. If the judge believes Bitz, he could convict Bitz of uttering a threat to cause bodily harm, but that?s not what the Crown charged Bitz with, Bodnar argued.?If the Crown has proven (Bitz) was going to cause bodily harm, it?s not in the charge, so you must acquit,? Bodnar said.He said Bitz couldn?t be found guilty of a lesser offence, because uttering a threat to cause bodily harm and uttering a threat to cause death are the same offence in the Criminal Code of Canada.Claxton-Viczko disagreed, taking the position that a threat to cause bodily harm is included in the offence of a threat to kill someone.?You can?t cause death to somebody without causing them bodily harm,? she argued.Gabrielson said he was willing to allow the Crown some time to provide case law on that point, and reserved his decision to Oct. 31.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:39:30 +0000
(CAN) Hells Angels? strip club still stripped of liquor licence
Supreme Court of Canada won?t get involved in complaint by London, Ont. strip club owner who?s upset he can?t sell booze because he?s a Hells Angel biker.Patrons of a downtown London, Ont. strip club won?t be able to sip alcohol on site any time in the near future after a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.Canada?s top court refused last week to hear an appeal by Robert Barletta, owner of Famous Flesh Gordon?s strip club on Dundas St.Barletta argued he was unfairly stripped of his right to sell alcohol because of his membership in the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.His lawyer, Richard Posner, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.Barletta, who helped found the London charter of the Hells Angels in 2003, has run the strip club since 2001.He argued it was unfair to take away his liquor licence since he wasn?t engaged in any criminal activities or regulatory breaches at his club.As Barletta fought to win back his liquor licence, he also had troubles on the streets, as his club was firebombed in 2012.This month?s decision by the Supreme Court puts the power to decide who?s fit for a liquor licence back in the hands of the provincially run Liquor License Tribunal.The province has argued that the Hells Angels are a criminal organization and that granting a liquor license to a member of a criminal group is incompatible with the goals of the Liquor License Act.The decision by the Supreme Court upholds a decision last year by the Ontario Court of Appeal.The case will now be determined by the Licence Appeal Tribunal.No date has been set for that hearing.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:37:43 +0000
(AUS) Driver who killed bikie avoids jail
A driver convicted of causing the death of a former Rebels bikie and his pillion passenger when he drove into the path of their motorcycle has escaped an immediate jail term by the "barest of margins".David Anthony Petts, 47, was convicted earlier this year of dangerous driving causing the deaths of Errol Munro and Lavain Beveridge on Boxing Day, 2012.A jury found that Petts had failed to sufficiently check for oncoming traffic before he drove out of a driveway onto Neaves Road, Bullsbrook and into the path of Mr Munro?s black Harley Davidson.Petts and friend Bruce Culverwell had been drinking and smoking cannabis while watching the Boxing Day Test cricket, before deciding to drive to the local shops to buy lemonade to mix with tequila.Culverwell asked Petts to drive because he felt too intoxicated himself - and when the vehicle pulled out of a driveway onto Neaves Road moments later, it collided with the bike.Petts also left the scene of the crash, and Culverwell, who was also in the car, initially told police he had been driving.At his sentencing in Perth's District Court today, Judge Kevin Sleight said a "momentary lapse of concentration" had led to the double tragedy, which had left two families devastated.He also said Petts' leaving the crash to return to his friends house to start drinking - which he explained as a reaction to his horror at the crash scene - was "reprehensible".But he also said that Petts' culpability for the crash was at the lower end of the scale, after it was found that the bike being ridden by Mr Munro had been tampered with so the headlights were not working.The judge said he found that at sunset, on a road with a speed limit of 110 kph, riding the bike without lights was a major contributor to the collision."Many drivers reading the circumstances of this crash may think 'There but for the grace of God go I'," Judge Sleight said.Judge Sleight said by the "barest of margins" he had decided to sentence Petts to a term of 27 months jail, suspended for two years. He also disqualified him from driving for four years.At an earlier hearing, Culverwell pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice, and was sentenced to an 18-month intensive supervision order to include counselling and a substance-abuse program.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:07:23 +0000
(USA) Bikers have shootout on Rochester street
ROCHESTER -- A large melee between rival biker gangs in the middle of a street escalated Tuesday night from fists to a shootout that left two people wounded and the neighborhood riddled with bullets.Rochester Police Chief Frank Mercier said police were called to Brighton Avenue at 10:05 p.m. for a large fight with shots being fired.Mercier said within the past few weeks two biker clubs, the Leathernecks and the Rebels, have started hanging out at two bars on Brighton Avenue. He said the members of the groups, most of them who are not from Beaver County, ?don?t see eye to eye.?A physical fight began involving more than 25 people, but it quickly turned more violent as knives, metal batons, a ball peen hammer and guns came out.Two men were shot. One 38-year-old man from Beaver Falls was shot in the buttocks, leg and ankle, Mercier said. A second, unidentified man was shot, but had left the scene before police arrived. Mercier said bikers at the scene told police they would take care of the man?s wounds themselves.Mercier said several cars parked on the road were shot, and there were bullet holes in the surrounding buildings.With the exception of Tuesday night, Mercier said the two bars, the Double J and Uncle Chuck?s, are not problem bars.Jeanine Foringer, owner of Double J, said there was a pool league at her bar Tuesday night, and there were no problems until members of another biker club showed up.?It wasn?t pretty,? Foringer said. She couldn?t estimate how many gunshots she heard, but she said it was a lot. ?I just kept hearing pow, pow, pow,? she said.Foringer two daughters and her 5-day-old granddaughter were in an apartment above the bar. ?She was scared out of her mind,? she said of her daughter.Members of the biker groups were still hanging out in the area Wednesday afternoon.Cory Robert Howard, 34, of 175 W. First Ave., Blairsville, was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and disorderly conduct.According to a police report, Howard first fired at the ground, and shrapnel hit the Beaver Falls man in the leg. Then Howard pointed the gun at the victim?s face and said, ?Next one is going in you,? the report said. As the man began to run, Howard fired several more shots, two of which hit him, the report said.Howard is in the Beaver County Jail after failing to post $100,000 bond, according to online court records.Mercier said a number of ?female biker associates? were also charged with disorderly conduct, and more charges are expected to be filed in connection with the confrontation.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:06:25 +0000
(NZ) Police gear up for Hells Angels
Police are calling in reinforcements to manage crowds at major events in Nelson over the weekend, including the arrival of Hells Angels members from across the country.The outlaw motorcycle gang's national run, known to attract more than 100 riders, will be held in Nelson from Friday night to Sunday.The annual Masked Parade and More FM Carnivale are also on Friday, and the ITM Cup semi-final rugby game between Tasman and Canterbury is on Saturday night.About 70 per cent of Nelson's police force as well as reinforcements from Canterbury, Marlborough and Wellington will be deployed to manage the events, Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally said."This coming weekend is going be a big weekend for us, no doubt."He said the police operations had to be "kept under wraps" and declined to comment on whether the Hells Angels event was a prospecting or initiation exercise."People can speculate as to what will or will not occur. End of the day, Hells Angels is an outlaw motorcycle gang that traditionally attracts police attention. This weekend will be absolutely no different," he said."Hells Angels can expect police presence for the very fact that they are here, but I'll stop short of disclosing our tactics. Suffice to say we will have enough staff."Generally speaking, they're out in numbers and so are we."The reason we're out in numbers is to stop trouble from commencing and it generally works very well."At a similar motorcycle event in March, police issued more than 50 fines to riders for speed, careless driving, or riding on the wrong class of licence. Police have also been known to check members as they ride their motorcycles off the ferry in Picton.Canterbury University sociologist Jarrod Gilbert posted on his blog in May that Nelson's Red Devils had become an official chapter of the Hells Angels, which was likely to boost the number of people wanting to join the gang.Greally said the increased police presence was also to manage crowds at family-friendly events in the city, including the Masked Parade and the rugby."If the weather's good Nelson's going to have a great weekend and we're there to make sure it happens," he said.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:04:35 +0000
(ASIA) Biker gxxgs expand into Asia
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, including some from Canada, are making a big push in Asia and Australia as they seek a piece of the regions underworld drug and criminal empire.These gangs, already notorious in Canada, the US and Europe are expanding in Asia and the Pacific to augment their power and global grasp on drug supply, in particular methamphetamines, amphetamines and drugs traditionally trafficked in South-East Asia said an intelligence analysis by Europol, the European Union?s law enforcement agency, media in the Philippines reported.Europol said the suspected main driver for outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) expansion was ?the desire to increase their role in particular criminal markets by opening chapters in strategic locations, for instance along the trafficking routes for drugs, weapons and human beings?.Europol said Rebels and Comanchero from Australia; the Rock Machine from Canada, as well as Mongols and Vagos from the US had arrived in Asia, Cebiu news reported.The Rock Machine from Canada is ranked by police sources as second only to Hells Angels in Quebec. A long-running turf war with the Angels left more than 150 people dead as the two fought over the lucrative trade in illegal drugs in that province. The war also led to the passage of anti-gang legislation by the federal government.As the Hells Angels expanded into Ontario, so did the Rock Machine. The organization established three chapters. In 2001, it aligned itself with the Bandidos.The Bandidos is said to be world?s second-most powerful criminal biker gang, with more than 2,000 members in 14 countries, according to a criminal intelligence report, which describes the Bandidos as a ?growing criminal threat.?The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada describes the Hells Angels as the largest ?outlaw motorcycle gang? in the country, with active chapters concentrated mostly in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.Media in Australia said the country already has already has more than 40 outlaw biker gangs, with the largest gangs ? the Rebels, the Outlaws, the Hells Angels and the Mongols (formerly the Finks) ? having chapters in most states and territories. Another group called The Vagos ? also known as ?Green Nation? and ?Green Hell? are headed for Australia as part of an international expansion of outlaw biker gangs.A third group called The Rebels, founded in Australia, is undertaking a massive expansion into Europe, North America, Asia and even into Fiji, said a report from newscom.auAustralia?s newly formed 71-member specialist federal anti-gang squad aimed at the growing biker menace in Australia said ?at least one gang had an affiliate chapter in Thailand?, despite the fact drug dealing in that country risked the death penalty.Thailand has chapters of both the Rebels and the Mongols.The Mongols have already expanded into Malaysia and the Rebels are also in Cambodia and Laos, triggering police fears about drug supply routes to Asia?s golden triangle region.The Outlaws, which began in the US, are well established here, and in the UK, Europe and Russia.Australian Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the new anti-gang squad would access national intelligence files on known gang members from the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Taxation Office.The squad will work with state police to control movement across state borders and enforce laws to prevent gangs smuggling in drugs and weapons and members of overseas outlaw chapters entering the country.However understands members from the Mongols gang mother chapter may have already visited Australia ahead of the recent merger with the Finks gang, which some news reports say realised ?the Finks goal to go global, giving them respect and a voice on the international stage?.Coupled with the growth of the existing major gangs, the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws and a club called Gremium, this has sparked fears of a turf war in Asian nations and Australia.?Merely establishing a chapter on the ?turf? of another OMCG is interpreted as an act of provocation and is likely to result in violent confrontations and retaliation,? Europol said.?In general, the use of intimidation and violence is intrinsic to the OMCG subculture and serves to exert control over group members and others such as victims of extortion.?The main threat to public safety associated with OMCGs stems from their propensity to use extreme forms of violence.?This includes the use of automatic rifles like Kalashnikovs, and explosive devices such as grenades, and the indiscriminate nature with which this violence is often used in open conflicts between rival groups.?Western Australian Police Warn Motorcycle Gangs are Gaining Criminal Footholds in Bali and other Southeast Asian DestinationMeanhile, reports that illegal bike gangs from Perth, Western Australia are establishing footholds in overseas locations, including Bali, in order to commit transnational crime.Warning that bike gangs involved in various illegal practice are now in operation in Bali is a senior police officer from Western Australia, Nick Anticich.Anticich?s comments follow a report in the Australian press stating that members of the Coffin Cheaters Bike Gang of Perth, Western Australia, have now opened businesses in Bali. Members of the gang are reportedly seen in clubs and bars in Bali wearing the gang?s distinctive regalia.Anticich is a law enforcement officer deeply familiar with crimal practice among motorcycle gang members. He claims that the Cheaters have established a club in Bali and that other gangs are aggressively extending their networks to other overseas locations by purchasing small clubs in foreign locales.He said that intelligence accumulated by his office show that bike gangs have created a network across Southeast Asia, focusing on locations where amphetamines and chemicals needed for their manufacture are easily acquired. Anticich also contends that the bike gangs are involved in money laundering practices.In Bali the Western Australian bike gangs who have reportedly established a foothold are the Coffin Cheaters, Bandidos and Rock Machine.Anticich said that tough anti-narcotics enforcement in Bali is dissuading the gangs from involvement in the narcotics trade on the island. But he did not discount the possibility that the gangs are busy acquiring chemical ingredients for the manufacture of drugs. These chemical components of illegal drugs can be freely purchased in large quantities in many overseas locations.Another police source in Western Australia described Bali as a ?heaven? for international drug syndicates because of the limited technological means available to the island?s law enforcement agencies to detect illicit drugs entering the island.Anticich said that although Indonesian ratified the UN Convention on the illegal trade in narcotics and psychotropic substances more than ten years ago, there is still no clear statement from Indonesia on which type of drugs are specifically outlawed.L. Sastra Wijaya, a correspondent for Kompas based in Australia, described the Australian motorcycle gangs as usually riding large bikes ? such as Harley Davidson?s, wearing specific identifying uniforms and gathering at bars operated under their control.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:03:27 +0000
(CAN) Ex-Hells Angels member denies making death threats
esse Leigh Bitz admits he threatened to knock his ex-boss?s teeth into the back of his throat, but denies threatening to kill him.Bitz was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club when he was fired ? or was laid off or quit, depending whose story you believe ? from Xtreme Mining and Demolition in December 2012.He is no longer a member of the Hells Angels, he told a Saskatoon judge on Tuesday.Xtreme Mining?s owner, Leonard Banga, testified Bitz threatened to kill him on three occasions ? the day he fired Bitz, a week later when they got into a fight on the side of the highway, and then six months later when they ran into each other at the Cabela?s outlet in Saskatoon.Bitz is on trial in Saskatoon Court of Queen?s Bench charged with uttering death threats against Banga and Banga?s family. He pleaded not guilty.Banga said he phoned Bitz on Dec. 23, 2012, after getting a report that Bitz had been caught sleeping on the job by an employee at the Agrium Vanscoy potash mine and then threatened the employee.Banga said he told Bitz, ?If you get caught sleeping at work and you threaten somebody, you?re fired.?Bitz replied, ??Nobody fires a f----n Hells Angel? ... He said if I try to fire him, he?s going to f---n kill me,? Banga told court.Banga?s wife Michelle also testified on Tuesday. She said she was sitting next to Banga during the phone conversation and could clearly hear Bitz yelling, ?You can?t fire a Hells Angel, you?re f----n dead.?Testifying in his own defence, Bitz said he remembered the conversation differently. He denied saying he?d kill Banga.?I told him I?d smash his face in,? Bitz testified.Banga said he contacted a senior Hells Angels member who told him not to worry and advised him to ?schmooze? things over with Bitz. On Dec. 31, 2012, Banga and Bitz met south of Saskatoon, but that conversation didn?t go well, ending in a fight on the side of road. Banga said Bitz threw the first punch and the fight ended when he wrestled Bitz to the ground.The two men didn?t have any more contact until they ran into each other on June 24, 2013, at Cabela?s. Banga said Bitz started yelling at him, saying he?d never forget what happened on the side of the highway.?The only reason you?re still alive is because you have Hells Angels working for you,? Banga said Bitz told him. ?Once you don?t have Hells Angels working for you, I?m going to kill you and your family.?Banga?s wife was with him and testified Bitz said similar words that day.Bitz testified that what he said was, ?As soon as the last guy?s done working for you, I?m going to put your teeth in the back of your head.?Banga didn?t report any of the incidents to police until after a witness at Cabela?s called police and officers went to Banga?s home. Banga said he had previously been assured by Hells Angels members that he was safe, but he didn?t believe them anymore after the incident at Cabela?s.Both the Crown and defence closed their cases on Tuesday; closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday morning.The StarPhoenix has previously reported that when the confrontation at Cabela?s happened in June 2013, Banga was in the midst of drafting a new policy for his company.On June 26, 2013, he called his 200 employees to a meeting and laid all of them off. They all had to reapply for their jobs and submit to a criminal record check, drug and alcohol testing, an external interview and a questionnaire that asked if they were connected to any organization that?s deemed a criminal organization in the U.S. or Canada.Five men weren?t hired back. Three of them who lost their jobs because of their membership in the Hells Angels are suing the company, alleging wrongful dismissal.
Publ.Date : Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:00:07 +0000

by Biker's Hell | Posted in Biker News | White Trash Networks

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