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Two members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Gang went on trial in Common Pleas Court

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Two members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Gang went on trial in Common Pleas Court for their alleged role in a $5 million crystal methamphetamine drug trafficking ring.

Jeffrey J. “Death Row” Hampton, 37, of Berlin N.J., and Charles D. “The Panhead” Rees, 55, of Norristown, were charged in August 2008 as part of a state Attorney General’s Office drug investigation known as “Operation Ice Breaker.” In the months since, dozens of the 40 suspected drug dealers arrested in the operation have pleaded guilty before Judge Howard F. Riley Jr., and are either awaiting sentencing or have been sentenced.

Hampton and Rees, who is acting president of the Outlaws, have steadfastly maintained their innocence.

On Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Andrew Rongaus, in his opening statement to the jury of seven men and five women hearing the case, urged them to use their common sense in fitting the testimony they will hear over the next week to the behavior of the two men with the actions of a drug ring.

Rongaus said that much of the evidence in the case would be recordings of wire-tapped phone conversations between Hampton and a Philadelphia meth dealer named William Lees. Timothy J. Deery, the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation agent who led the investigation into the massive drug ring, which saw drugs shipped from Latin America to Philadelphia, would lead them through the maze of drug jargon they would hear, he said.

“This case is not one of your typical drug cases,” where a police informant would testify about buying drugs from a dealer. Instead, the jury would hear testimony that Rongaus said were conversations about shipments of meth, cocaine and marijuana coming in, and those drugs being picked up.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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