DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Ten members or associates of the Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle Gang were arrested today by the ATF and Metro Gang Task Force, United States Attorney Troy Eid and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Richard Chase announced today. The arrests were based on sealed indictments returned by a federal grand jury on August 5th and 6th, 2008. The arrests took place early this morning without incident. Some of those arrested have been taken to U.S. District Court in Denver so they can make their initial appearances, where they will be advised of the charges pending against them.
The three year investigation culminated in this morning’s take down. Mass arrests related to the Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle Gang were also made in Los Angeles, where 79 defendants are being prosecuted, 73 of which face Racketeering Charges (RICO). Federal search and arrest warrants were executed in 7 states: Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and Ohio. In addition to the arrests, agents and officers executed 6 federal search warrants throughout the Denver area. Items confiscated during the execution of the warrants include: a shotgun, a stolen .25 caliber pistol, a Colt .38 revolver, a Taurus .380 pistol, ammunition, Mongols Paraphernalia, cell phones, and a computer.
Eleven members or associates of the Mongols were charged in the main indictment with drug trafficking, federal firearm violations, wire fraud, witness tampering, and trafficking in vehicle parts with obliterated serial numbers. Those indicted include:
Benjamine Maestas, arrested
Leonard Martinez, previously in custody
Anthony Shippley, arrested
Ruben Bravo, wanted
John Bertolucci, arrested
Ernest Salas, arrested
Edward Montano, arrested
Cary Weinman, wanted
Adrian Sisneros, arrested
Michael Hee, wanted
Wayne Ordakowski, arrested
Those charged in other indictments include:
Thomas Hernandez (felon in possession), previously in custody
Steven Gonzales (over 100 marijuana plants), wanted
Victor Muniz (possession with intent to distribute Meth), arrested
“Once again, members of a violent gang face justice in our community, thanks to the ATF, and the Metro Gang Task Force,” said United States Attorney Troy Eid.
The Mongols are an outlaw motorcycle gang that was formed in Montebello, California in the 1970s. There are as many as 600 members nationwide. Many of the Mongols were allegedly recruited from some of the most violent street gangs. The name ‘Mongols,’ which is part of the ‘patch’ that members wear on their motorcycle jackets, was trademarked by the gang. The Los Angeles indictment alleges that this trademark is subject to forfeiture. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California today obtained a court order that immediately prevents gang members from using or displaying the name ‘Mongols.’
“These types of investigations are part of the ATF’s overall enforcement strategy, to target the most violent offenders within our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Richard Chase. “Today’s success is the result of a combined Federal, State, and local law enforcement effort and good police work.”
If convicted, the defendants charged in the main indictment face not less than 5 years, and up to 40 years in federal prison, as well as a $2,000,000 fine. Hernandez faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and not more than a $250,000 fine. Gonzales and Muniz both face not less than 5 years, and up to 40 years in federal prison, as well as a $2,000,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The Metro Gang Task Force assisted in making this morning’s arrests. Other partners in the Mongols case include: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Denver Police Department, the Aurora Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), the Arapahoe Sheriff’s Department, the Lakewood Police Department, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Pueblo Police Department, the Greeley Police Department, the Thornton Police Department, the South Metro Gang Task Force, Littleton Police Department, Englewood Police Department, Sheridan Police Department, Parker Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cherry Hill’s Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pegeen Rhyne and Stephen M. Tokarz.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.