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DEA agents pretending to be members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Drug Enforcement Administration's nationwide "synthetic drug takedown" led to the arrest of five Valley men this week. 

Two of the men were uncovered by DEA sources, two were busted by DEA agents pretending to be members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, and the fifth man was caught because NBC's Chris Hansen had already caught him before.

Seventeen search warrants were reportedly served in Arizona, but the U.S. Attorney's Office says just five people in the Phoenix area have been arrested -- all for manufacturing and selling the chemicals known as "bath salts."

According to federal court documents, the five men were not dealing in chemicals that are explicitly illegal, but the feds are going after them with the Federal Analog Act, since the chemicals are "substantially similar" to drugs that are actually illegal.

Even an affidavit submitted by a Phoenix DEA agent in the case explains that at least two of the five men "...discussed, in substance and among other things, the fact that their distribution of the various products is purportedly legal, that they do not allegedly ship or send such products to states where they believe their products to be illegal, and that they have purported to have received legal counsel and advice indicating that their activities are legal."

Too bad. Clinton Strunk, 42, of Mesa; Michael Lane, 51, of Cave Creek; Andrew Freeman, 25, of Tempe; Nicholas Zizzo, 25, of Phoenix; and Joshua Lowenstein, 25, of Phoenix could each spend years behind bars.

According to the DEA agent's affidavit, the agency started investigating an unidentified person for drug trafficking through a New Hampshire port at some point in 2011.

The two DEA agents posing as Hells Angels gangsters had numerous meetings with this person, who eventually revealed he was a partner in a Phoenix bath salts operation with Zizzo, manufacturing a product called "Eight Ballz."

This story was confirmed by another person, according to the affidavit, and both of the unnamed partners agreed to go into business with the fake Angels, under the guise that they were going to help sell it under the Angels' protection at New Hampshire's Loconia Motorcycle Week -- which just happened last month.

Arizona Corporation Commission documents list only Zizzo and an accountant on filing documents for the company, Consortium Distribution LLC.

The investigation then shifted to Phoenix, where the DEA agents -- still going along with the Hells Angels plot -- were introduced to Zizzo and Lowenstein.

According to the feds, Lowenstein agreed to ship 20 kilograms to New Hampshire for the biker rally.

Again, the DEA agent's affidavit says Lowenstein believed they were "utilizing chemicals or substances that weren't scheduled or analogues." In other words, he believed what he was doing was legal.

The affidavit also says Lowenstein was describing the effects of the chemicals on the human mind, so the DEA makes it sound like that throws the "not for human consumption" argument out the window.

When the agents met up with Zizzo, he said essentially the same things.

"[E]veryone who works for me, every day they show up to work they put themselves on the line, cause any day the government, the DEA, could come in, they could arrest every single one of us, they can drag us out, put us in a cell, and hold us there," the feds quote Zizzo as saying. "God knows we aren't doing a damn thing illegal."

The agents posing as Hells Angels continued to follow Zizzo and Lowenstein around, meeting with them, trying to make deals with them, and watching what they do.

On July 12, they allegedly completed the deal.

The agents negotiated to buy chemicals totaling 133.2 kilograms of chemicals, and sold the recipe for "Eight Ballz Ultra-Premium Glass Cleaner -- for which the "Hells Angels" would have to pay royalties to Zizzo and Lowenstein for their sales.

In another Phoenix-area case, Andrew Freeman had already been busted by NBC's Chris Hansen -- and not on the pedophile-busting show.



Yep, the TV gotcha-guy already got Freeman during an NBC show on bath salts.

The DEA affidavit claims agents saw Freeman and Michael Lane -- who owns a Tempe company called Dynamic Distribution -- drive large boxes from their warehouse and drive it to drop them off at a FedEx location.

The DEA got a search warrant for those boxes, and they were filled with bath salts of a very similar mixture (same active ingredient) to Zizzo and Lowenstein's.

Clinton Strunk, the other man arrested, is accused of being somewhat of a middle-man between manufactures and retailers of bath salts. 

While the DEA's "confidential sources" were carrying audio recorders with them during some of Strunk's deals, he pretty much explained how he operates his business and makes money, as described in the federal court documents.

Strunk was allegedly a buyer of Dynamic Distribution's products.

In the DEA agent's affidavit, he notes yet again that the "DEA has opined" the main chemical in all the bath salts in these arrests, alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, is an analog of a controlled substance.

The five men, if convicted, face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both. 

Hells Angels associate, another man charged with cocaine trafficking

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

undercover police investigation has led to cocaine trafficking charges against a Hells Angels associate and a Chilliwack man. Kristopher Pfeifer, 31, who police believe was working for the bikers' Haney chapter, and Constantinos Anthony, 48, made their first court appearance July 20 and have been released on conditions. They are due back in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court Sept. 7. Both were first arrested by investigators with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. CFSEU's probe, dubbed Project E-Nuptial, targeted drug brokers and traffickers with links to the Hells Angels' Haney chapter. "The objective was to disable drug-based trafficking activity in the Lower Mainland and in particular in the Maple Ridge area," Sgt. Bill Whalen said. The investigation dates back to March 2011 when one of the accused was seen exchanging a package with another man in Pitt Meadows. Police arrested the individuals and seized one kilogram of cocaine. "Biker gangs are no different from other organized crime groups that often distance themselves from direct criminal activity by using associates to facilitate their crimes," Whalen said. "Even though these groups use non-members to conduct their criminal business, it's the members of these groups that benefit the most." Both Pfeifer and Anthony have previous history with police. Pfeifer was charged with assault in Whistler in 2007. The case was resolved with a 12-month peace bond. Anthony, who lives in Chilliwack, was charged with trafficking in Vancouver in 2003, along with Sean Doak. Anthony was later acquitted. Doak was convicted of trafficking and is still wanted in the U.S. in a separate drug smuggling case.

Dozens arrested in crackdown on second motorcycle gang

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Forty-one members of the Michigan-based Devils Disciples have been charged with crimes including attempted murder and drug trafficking in this week's second crackdown on a Midwest motorcycle gang, federal prosecutors said on Friday. Agents seized more than 60 firearms, ammunition, and dismantled eight laboratories producing methamphetamine operated by the gang, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Of the 41 gang members indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan, 31 were arrested and five were already in custody, the statement said. Five others were at large. "For years, according to the indictment, the Devils Diciples have spread fear in cities throughout Michigan and around the country," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Breuer said in a statement. On Wednesday, law enforcement agents arrested 42 members of the notorious Outlaws Motorcycle Club in raids across the Midwest. Agents seized their Indianapolis clubhouse along with 2.2 pounds (a kilogram) of cocaine, guns and $15,000 in cash. The Outlaws are rivals of the infamous Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Among the Devils Disciples arrested on charges that included attempted murder, robbery, extortion, and racketeering were the National President Jeff Smith, known as "Fat Dog," and the group's vice president, Paul "Pauli" Darrah. Smith was charged with Darrah and another member of using a metal pipe to assault member Scott "Scotty P" Perkins. Members also administered beatings to rival gangs, the statement said. The Disciples' headquarters are in Clinton Township, Michigan. They have chapters throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Devils Diciples Motorcycle gang members indicted

Sunday, 15 July 2012

It would seem that Friday the 13th was not a lucky day for the Devils Diciples Motorcycle gang members as law enforcement agents arrested thirty-one members in Michigan and Alabama, including National President Jeff Garvin Smith and National Vice President Paul Anthony Darrah, five members were previously in custody. More than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition were seized, in addition to, the eight methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories that were dismantled during the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade for the Eastern District of Michigan and FBI Acting Assistant Director Valerie Parlave, announced today that an indictment was unsealed today charging 41 members and associates for their alleged participation in a variety of criminal offenses. The indictment alleges that the 41 Devils Diciples members and associates, including Smith and Darrah, participated in violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling and other federal offenses. Eighteen of the defendants, including Smith and Darrah, are charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by conducting their illegal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity which included murder, robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, obstruction of justice and other federal and state offenses. According to the indictment, the Devils Diciples is a criminal enterprise with its national headquarters in Clinton Township, Mich. The Devils Diciples operates regional chapters located in cities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere. The Devils Diciples engage in criminal activities for financial gain, including distribution of narcotics, theft, transportation and sale of stolen motorcycles, conducting illegal gambling businesses, robbery, extortion and acts of violence. An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Combination picture shows a member of motorcycle club "Hells Angels" as he takes part in the "Crime City Run" in Frankfurt


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A combination picture shows the front (top) and back views of a member of motorcycle club "Hells Angels" as he takes part in the "Crime City Run" as a protest against the ban of Westend and Frankfurt chapters of the Hells Angels motorcycle club in Frankfurt July 14, 2012. About 1,000 motorcyclists took part in the demonstration. 

Man with alleged bikie ties arrested

A man with alleged links to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang has been arrested over a brawl at a Brisbane restaurant. The 37-year-old was arrested and charged with affray on Saturday in relation to the vicious bashing of another man, also believed to have bikie ties, at the Mt Gravatt shopping centre on April 17. Police say the charged man, from Moorooka in Brisbane's south, has links to the Hells Angels and is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday. Two 25-year-old members of the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang were charged with affray in May over the same incident.

Last of Outlaws motorcycle gang surrenders during manhunt

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Last of Outlaws wanted in raid surrenders The last of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club suspects who evaded authorities during a raid Wednesday turned himself at 4 a.m. today, authorities said. Terrell Lamont Adams, 28, was wanted in connection with a plan to sell cocaine as a member of the Indianapolis chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. He made arrangements to turn himself in at the Indianapolis City-County Building this morning, said Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. "He was influenced by family and friends to turn himself in," Horty said. Fifteen U.S. marshals pursued Adams for nearly 48 hours after the FBI and other law enforcement agencies raided the Outlaws’ clubhouse on East New York Street on Wednesday morning. Forty-one people associated with the gang were arrested on federal charges ranging from mail fraud to money laundering. They likely will have detention hearings next week. -- MIchael Boren Earlier -- U.S. marshals seek Outlaws motorcycle gang member who got away after raid U.S. marshals are still looking for one member of a motorcycle gang after his cohorts were arrested Wednesday. Terrell Lamont Adams, 28, is wanted in connection with a plan to sell cocaine as a member of the Indianapolis chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies raided the Outlaws’ clubhouse on East New York Street on Wednesday morning. Forty-one people associated with the gang were arrested on federal charges ranging from mail fraud to money laundering. They likely will have detention hearings next week, said Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis. Adams was the only one who evaded authorities. The law enforcement agencies tried to arrest everyone at dawn in hopes that no one would get away, said Kerry Forestal, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana, which includes Indianapolis. “They were hit simultaneously,” he said, “so before people are out of bed they’re in custody.”

TATTOO parlour linked to Sydney's Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim was approved in error by a council planner because an 11-page objection letter from senior police was attached to the wrong folder.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lady Gaga concert Sydney

Police objections ... John Ibrahim. Picture: Damian Shaw Source: The Daily Telegraph

A TATTOO parlour linked to Sydney's Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim was approved in error by a council planner because an 11-page objection letter from senior police was attached to the wrong folder.

The application should have been debated at a full council meeting amid fears of an outbreak of bikie warfare but the administrative mistake meant the briefing note was never issued.

Superintendent Sue Waites sent a lengthy objection letter, revealing police intelligence alleged the applicant, Kings Cross Ink owner Mark Alexander-Erber, a business partner of Mr Ibrahim's, was known for bikie affiliations though it was "unclear" at what level.

Mr Alexander-Erber has denied any bikie links.

"Granting late-night trading permits will exacerbate all incidents of anti-social behaviour," Supt Waites said.

"Kings Cross is a well-known spot for OMCG (outlaw motorcycle gang) activity. Drive-by shootings, serious assaults, extortion and drug-related offences have been tied to OMCG members who have links to businesses within Kings Cross.

"Kings Cross police believe the opening of yet another business type which attracts such a criminal element will undoubtedly lead to an increase in crime, a strain on police resources and a heightened sense of fear by residents and community members visiting the area.

"Police were contacted and informed that residents were too afraid to make official comment relating to the opening of this tattoo shop due to fear of reprisals."

Emails reveal senior council staff apologised for the error, describing the incident as "extremely rare and regrettable" and that the planner "accidentally attached the hold tag to the wrong folder cover".

Lord Mayor Clover Moore defended the council's approval in a letter to a local resident, stating: "Criminal and anti-social behaviour is not a planning consideration.

"I share your concerns about the recent reports of violence associated with gangs in Kings Cross. The city is required to assess DAs on planning merit only."

Mr Alexander-Erber said: "Kings Cross Ink stands up to say we are not affiliated, we are not part of organised crime, nor will I ever be.

"I'm sick of this Underbelly talk and rubbish. There are good people running business in the Cross. This is bringing the glitz and glamour from the '50s to the Cross.

"This will change people's perception of tattoo parlours. I urge them to come up and look at what I have created.

"You can't get further away from organised crime. It's a world-class establishment."

Mr Alexander-Erber said Mr Ibrahim was an investor in the business that would "lead the industry in its clean-up".

Mr Ibrahim's lawyer Stephen Alexander did not return calls yesterday.

Fears of violence as Berlin biker war escalates

"We have to assume that, alongside the well-known edged and blunt weapons, firearms and explosives will be used," a memo to all the city's police stations said. “All engaged forces are requested to particularly check vehicles from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland,” it said, according to the BZ newspaper on Monday. A police crackdown on Hells Angels and Bandidos - the biker gangs involved in organized crime across Germany - has thrown the scene into chaos, the paper said. A new "Rocker Task Force" has been set up to make life as difficult for them as possible. "Our line is zero tolerance," state prosecutor Jörg Raupach, who leads the task force, said on Saturday. "Whether it's abuse, driving without a license, drink driving - we will prosecute every crime. No investigation into the bikers - no matter how small - will be given up." The Hells Angels "Berlin City" chapter was banned by state Interior Minister Frank Henkel in May, though that has done little to prevent the increasing violence. Former Hells Angels leader André Sommer was gunned down in June, and several gang members subsequently appeared at the entrance to Berlin's Charité hospital to guard the 47-year-old as he lay in an artificial coma. Two Bandidos were have also been shot at in the past few days. Police believe that Berlin is home to between 400 and 500 Hells Angels, and slightly fewer Bandidos, and that the two groups are currently locked in a deadly power struggle over the city. The gangs are thought to be involved in a number of organized criminal activities, including protection rackets, drug and weapons dealing, and human trafficking for prostitution. But police have struggled to solve the crimes, because victims are reluctant to speak. "As long as no victim talks, we won't get much further," said Raupach. "We have to get a foot in the door." Investigators are also hoping to help gang members get out of the scene. "We're trying to break one or two out," the prosecutor added. "And we have managed, but there are no quick successes." "But our signal to the criminal scene is clear," he concluded. "We're watching you. We're always on your heels." A former Hells Angels associate was jailed for more than four years in the northern city of Kiel last month. He was placed in a witness protection scheme after revealing details of regional biker gangs. His testimony prompted huge raids across three states in May – and the destruction of a warehouse where police hope to find the remains of a missing man in the building's concrete foundations.

A Kurdish biker gang has emerged in Cologne, Germany

Saturday, 7 July 2012

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COLOGNE, Germany — A Kurdish biker gang has emerged in Cologne, Germany. The group calls itself MC Median Empire, after the ancient Medes, who some believe were the forefathers of the modern Kurds. “MC” stands for a type of powerful horse used by the Medes.

The Kurdish group has posted on their website that the Medes were warriors and mighty knights, and that the only difference between them and the prehistoric tribe is that they ride motorcycles instead of horses. Members wear leather jackets stamped with the MC Median Empire logo.

The most notorious biker gangs in Germany are the Hells Angels and the Bandidos. Members of these gangs are known for their violence, which has terrorized entire cities in Germany. Often these rival clubs are involved in organized crime including robbery, arms dealing, drug trafficking and prostitution.

German police expect trouble between the MC Median Empire and other biker gangs in the country.  The Hells Angels are known to not accept other gangs operating in their territory.  

At the beginning of this year, four people were injured when a dispute broke out between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos. Four months later, a member of the Bandidos was gunned down by the Hells Angels.

The MC Median Empire has not yet been involved in any illegal activities, though the group is under police surveillance.

A spokesperson for the German police said, “We will continue to watch this group just like other gangs.”

The Hells Angels were formed in 1948 in California and expanded into Europe in the 1960s. It has 32 branches around the world. The German branch in Hamburg was established in 1973, after which other biker gangs such as the Bandidos set up in the country.

Gold Coast bikie a 'persistent' serial offender

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

senior member of an outlaw motorcycle gang has been refused bail by a Gold Coast magistrate who described him as a "totally unacceptable risk". Shane Treloar, 38, the sergeant-at-arms of the Lone Wolf motorcycle gang, appeared in Southport Magistrates Court today on 19 charges including possession of drugs and a high-powered automatic assault rifle. Treloar was arrested at his Upper Coomera home on Thursday by officers from Task Force Hydra - set up to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs in Queensland. Advertisement: Story continues below In refusing bail, Magistrate John Costanzo brushed aside submissions by lawyer Darren Mahony about the strength of the case against his client. "The prosecution case does not appear to be weak to me," he told the court. He said Treloar had appeared 11 times for sentencing matters in the past 10 years. "Rather than show a stable personal life he has displayed an unpreparedness to comply with court orders and to respect the law," he said. "He is a recidivist offender, and quite a persistent one. "He is a totally unacceptable risk." The heavily tattooed Treloar, with the word "Revenge" inked across one side of his face, sat quietly in the dock during the proceedings. He was remanded in custody to appear in court again on September 5 by video link from prison. Treloar played rugby league for Parramatta, Penrith and Souths for a number of years, mainly in reserve grade, and moved to the Gold Coast to pursue his sporting career but was thwarted by injury.

Police seize steroids in Doonside as part of bikie investigation

 Gang Squad detectives have searched a house in Doonside and seized a number of vials of steroids as part of an investigation into bikie gangs. Officers also seized a firearm from a prominent bikie in Oakhurst on the weekend. Just before 7pm on Saturday June 30, Strike Force Raptor investigators searched a house at Mount Vernon Road, Mount Vernon, with alleged links to bikie gangs. More than 200 grams of an amphetamine-like substance was seized, and police also located what appeared to be old bullet holes in the front of the home. Later that evening, officers stopped and searched a vehicle at Oakhurst, seizing a loaded nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol and an amount of cash. Jamie George Zammit, 30, the driver of the vehicle, who police allege to be a former high-ranking member of the Nomads and now a member of the Rebels, was arrested and charged. Mr Zammit is a Mount Vernon resident, but police have not confirmed whether it was his house which was searched earlier in the day. He was the head of the Nomands bikie gang in Sydney. He remains in custody to next face Mount Druitt Local Court on Thursday July 5. Following further inquiries, Strike Force Raptor investigators executed a search warrant on a home at Sulman Place, Doonside, yesterday afternoon, Monday, July 2. Inside, they located a number of vials of steroids and other items which were seized for further examination. Inquiries are continuing. Strike Force Raptor was established by State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad in 2009 and is a proactive and high-impact operation targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs and any associated criminal enterprises.

Florence man arrested in motorcycle gang brawl

18-year-old Florence man was arrested early Sunday morning after a fight broke out between members of two motorcycle gangs at a local nightclub. Florence Police Maj. Carlos Raines said officers were called around 2 a.m. Sunday to Out of Bounds at 507 S. Irby St. in reference to a fight in progress between members of the Warlocks and the Red Devils – two area motorcycle groups. “Witnesses told the officers that a dispute broke out between the two motorcycle gangs and that one of the Warlocks began swinging a knife around in the air,” Raines said. “At that point, the witness said, a member of the Red Devils pulled out a handgun and pointed at the Warlock who was waving the knife around.” At some point, the witness said, the man with the gun handed the gun off to another Red Devil, who put it in a case on his motorcycle. Police questioned the man who supposedly hid the gun – a semi-automatic handgun with the serial number filed off -- and recovered it from his bike. They then questioned the man witnesses identified as the gunman. While placing him under arrest, officers asked him if he had any other weapons on him. He admitted to having a gun in his boot and two knives. Police recovered the knives and a loaded .357 Revolver from his boot. Officers also found a small glass vial of what appeared to be cocaine, Raines said. John James Parker, 18, of 3225 Lakeshore Drive in Florence, was taken into custody on two counts of unlawful carrying of a pistol, one count of pointing and presenting a firearm at a person, one count of possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number and one count of possession of less than one gram of cocaine. Raines said an initial records check indicates the gun police recovered from Parker’s boot was stolen. The investigation continues. Nobody was injured during the incident.

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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