Hells Angels Plot to Avenge Laughlin River Run Slaying Alleged - 8 News NOW

Hells Angels Plot to Avenge Laughlin River Run Slaying Alleged

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(July 14 Update) -- Federal wiretaps recorded Hells Angels motorcycle gang members plotting to avenge the slaying of a colleague killed during the 2002 Laughlin River Run, investigators said in court records.
  
The documents say Hells Angels members discussed using night vision goggles and a scope-equipped gun and talked about revenge for the slaying of Hells Angels member Christian H. Tate, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday.
  
Tate, 28, was shot to death early April 27, 2002, on Interstate 40 as he rode home to San Diego from the Laughlin River Run, a motorcycle rally in the Colorado River resort town about 100 miles south of Las Vegas.
  
The slaying in San Bernardino County, Calif., came within hours of a clash between Hells Angels and members of a rival motorcycle gang, the Mongols, at Harrah's Laughlin hotel-casino. Three bikers died in the melee, and dozens were injured.
  
Charges were dropped a year ago against the only person charged in the melee: Calvin Brett Schaefer, 33, a Hells Angels member from Chandler, Ariz.
  
Schaefer was freed again from jail last week after his arrest earlier this month on drug and weapon charges. He had been arrested with 29 others in Arizona, including Hells Angels members and associates, on charges of murder-for-hire, drug trafficking and distribution of firearms and bomb-making materials.
  
The Tate slaying remains unsolved, San Bernardino Sheriff's Department spokesman Chip Patterson said.
  
Details of the wiretaps are contained in an indictment filed last month in federal court in San Diego charging 17 people, including suspected Hells Angels members or associates, with charges including drug dealing, racketeering and extortion.
  
Officials had reported the arrest of 18 people after a June 11 raid at the Hells Angels clubhouse in El Cajon, Calif.
  
In one call, a federal agent quoted Hells Angels member Mark Alan Toycen talking about Tate and saying, "That's the way war goes."
  
Those charged in San Diego have denied wrongdoing.
  
The indictment also alleges that at least eight people, including Toycen, conspired to kill Mongols.
  
In a September 2002 call, Toycen is reported to have said a colleague he identified as "Haggerty" could help him.
  
The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego said Patrick James Haggerty was indicted in the case, along with San Diego Hells Angels chapter president Guy R. Castiglione.
  
In another phone call, Toycen and Zachary Carpenter, described as an officer in the Hells Angels San Diego chapter, are heard discussing a Mongol named "Bill."
  
"(Bill) had been bragging about killing San Diego Hells Angels member Christian Tate," the indictment states. "Toycen indicated he knew where 'Bill' resided and told Carpenter 'it ... was coming together."'
  
The investigator wrote that he believed the two were discussing a plan to kill "Bill," and that in a Sept. 19 call, Toycen told Castiglione that he had borrowed Castiglione's night vision goggles the night before.
  
The following day, authorities monitored a call between Toycen and a colleague identified as a Frank Paul Caruso, who also was named in the indictment.
  
Caruso was quoted saying, "I have to finish my project. ... and I need a scope, and uh, I'm quieter than a mouse."'
  
A Sept. 28 call indicated Toycen was under surveillance by authorities while attending a motorcycle gathering in Reno. He was overheard asking for an address for the president of the Mongols.
  
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

(July 9: Janine Gill Update:) -- A group of Hells Angels suspected of being involved in last year's deadly shooting at Harrah's Casino in Laughlin is behind bars. Federal agents served dozens of search warrants Tuesday. It's kept them working throughout the evening.

This was a huge operation that could have links to Southern Nevada. Most of the arrests were for drugs and weapons. But statements made to undercover officers may help pinpoint who was involved in the Laughlin shooting.

"There's over 200 firearms, 1,000's of rounds of ammunition so there in there inventoring and tagging the evidence," says Marty McKee, the spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Federal agents raided dozens of houses across Arizona targeting biker gang members and their associates.

"There was a flashing lights and all of a sudden all these guys came running all over the God damn place with guns," says Bill Wagner, a resident who lives in Fort Mojave, Arizona near one of the houses that was raided.

Weapons and other evidence led to 36 arrests. Eighteen of those were Hells Angels. Charges include murder for hire, weapons dealing, bomb making, and narcotics trafficking. Historically, biker groups have been involved in manufacturing and bringing drugs to Las Vegas. Authorities say these recent arrests will make a significant dent in that type of activity.

"We expect to see a significant decrease in the number of individuals who are out there committing the types of cirmes that reflect in the indictments today," says Paul Charlton, a U.S. Attorney working the case.

In April of 2002, a fight broke out between the Hells Angels and Mongol bikers at Harrah's Casino in Laughlin. Three men were killed. Now, some of biker members have been re-arrested as part of this new investigation. One those men was the original murder suspect in the Laughlin shooting. Calvin Schaefer was released from custody last year. Murder charges may be re-filed in the Laughlin riot deaths. Federal agents would not say what charges Schaefer faces this time around. But they did hint that arrests made today could help them crack the Laughlin murder case.

(July 8 Update) -- New developments tonight involving a number of Hell's Angles who were suspected of involvement in that melee that left three people dead during the 2002 Laughlin River Run.

ATF agents in Arizona served dozens of search warrants to seize weapons and arrest suspected outlaw biker gang members.

More than a year after dozens of outlaw biker gang members were questioned about their involvement in the 2002 Laughlin River Run deaths, authorities in Arizona have re-arrested 36-suspected biker gang members as part of a separate investigation.

Starting at five o'clock this morning ATF and local law enforcement from across Arizona served 40 search warrants, dozens of which were right here in Mojave County.

The busts came after a two-year investigation geared at catching outlaw biker gang members suspected of criminal activity.  The charges involve murder for hire, narcotics trafficking, weapons dealing and bomb making. This cache of weapons found at home in Fort Mojave was one of the largest, with more than 200 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Agents arrested the homeowner during one the many pre-dawn raids.

And it was the same scene in phoenix and other parts of rural Arizona. The one suspect who was held on murder charges following the Laughlin River was re-arrested during today's raids.
 
An ATF spokes-person confirms Calvin Schaffer is in custody, however the ATF would not comment on what charges he is facing.

(July 8) -- Hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out across the state Tuesday to seize weapons and arrest suspects in an undercover investigation of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
  
The two-year investigation targeted alleged firearms and drug trafficking, bomb-making and murder-for-hire plots, said Tom Mangan, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
  
Local and federal law enforcement had 35 search warrants and 36 arrest warrants to execute, said Harriet Bernick, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
  
Authorities conducted synchronized raids throughout the state starting at 4:45 a.m. as part of two separate investigations, Bernick said.

  • One investigation involved members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and their associates.
  • The other focused on individuals suspected of firearms, explosives and narcotics violations and murder-for-hire, Bernick said.

"The two separate investigations basically intertwined because there was the same informants and the same undercovers used," Bernick said.
  
During one of the raids, a man was shot at a north Phoenix residence authorities identified as the Cave Creek clubhouse of the Hells Angels gang. The man was undergoing surgery at a hospital and is expected to survive, Bernick said.
  
Raids were carried out in Phoenix, Tucson, Marana, Flagstaff, Prescott, Chino Valley, Kingman, and Bullhead City.
  
(By Anabelle Garay, Associated Press Writer. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved.)

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