Outlaw Bikers

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Two Hells Angels associates sentenced as part of Project Flatlined

Two more Winnipeg men were sent packing to prison Monday for their differing roles in a “sophisticated and well-organized” Manitoba Hells Angels-led drug operation which was ultimately smashed up in a covert police sting. Jonathan Stewart, 32, and Brian Chesney were sentenced in back-to-back hearings and escorted from Judge Robert Heinrichs’s courtroom to begin serving their time after being arrested early last year in Project Flatlined. Stewart, described by the Crown as a “trusted courier” for a crack cocaine ring in the Elmwood neighbourhood orchestrated by top members of the Hells Angels and support crew, Redlined, received a sentence of 57 months on criminal organization and conspiracy charges. Stewart was not a member of either gang but knew key players from growing up in Elmwood, court heard. He assisted the two top-ranking Redlined members in various ways, including preparing crack cocaine for its eventual distribution to users. “This organization would not have operated as well as it did without the assistance of Mr. Stewart,” said federal Crown attorney Geoff Bayly, who named Stewart’s key contacts as Brendin Wall and Justin MacLeod. Chesney, 35, was handed a term of 45 months for cocaine-trafficking and committing acts for the benefit of a criminal organization. Chesney was the roommate of Redlined associate Thomas Barnecki and was caught making crack deliveries to undercover cops, as well as renting a new “stash house” for the crime ring after it was discovered police had infiltrated another by placing a video camera inside. Bayly detailed for the court the sophisticated setup of the cocaine-slinging ring, which he said was headed up by Hells Angel Dale Sweeney. The ring had a defined management structure, production cell and street-distribution network, Bayly said. Police have previously said two cellphones used by the operation rang 530 times a day on average over the 10 months cops were secretly monitoring it between May 1, 2011 and late February 2012. The conservative estimate of sales in that time was said to be $1.5 million, police have said. The cop estimate is based on halving the total number of calls traced to the phones over the life of the investigation (159,154) and assumes only a single $20 rock of crack was sold as a result, police say. Police believe the volume of sales was likely much higher. Stewart had no prior criminal record and was supported by a large number of ashen-faced family and friends in court. Heinrichs was told he suffers with schizophrenia. His mental illness combined with drug use caused his life to go “off the rails,” lawyer Aaron Seib said. Chesney, a recently married father of four, was also supported in court by family.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

LIVING IN A FASCIST STATE: Mentally ill people need to be helped, not hounded by the work Roaches

LIVING IN A FASCIST STATE: Mentally ill people need to be helped, not hounded

 

Neglect of the mentally ill is bad enough, but now consider how the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately torments them. I just met a jobcentre manager. It had to be in secret, in a Midlands hotel, several train stops away from where she works. She told me how the sick are treated and what harsh targets she is under to push them off benefits. A high proportion on employment and support allowance have mental illnesses or learning difficulties. The department denies there are targets, but she showed me a printed sheet of what are called "spinning plates", red for missed, green for hit. They just missed their 50.5% target for "off flows", getting people off ESA. They have been told to "disrupt and upset" them – in other words, bullying. That's officially described, in Orwellian fashion, as "offering further support". As all ESA claimants approach the target deadline of 65 weeks on benefits – advisers are told to report them all to the fraud department for maximum pressure. In this manager's area 16% are "sanctioned" or cut off benefits.

Of course it's not written down anywhere, but it's in the development plans of individual advisers or "work coaches". Managers repeatedly question them on why more people haven't been sanctioned. Letters are sent to the vulnerable who don't legally have to come in, but in such ambiguous wording that they look like an order to attend. Tricks are played: those ending their contributory entitlement to a year on ESA need to fill in a form for income-based ESA. But jobcentres are forbidden to stock those forms. These ill people's benefits are suddenly stopped without explanation: if they call, they're told to collect a form from the jobcentre, which doesn't stock them either. If someone calls to query an appointment they are told they will be sanctioned if they don't turn up, whatever. She said: "The DWP's hope is they won't pursue the claim."

Good advisers genuinely try to help the mentally ill left marooned on sickness benefit for years. The manager spoke of a woman with acute agoraphobia who hadn't left home for 20 years: "With tiny steps, we were getting her out, helping her see how her life could be better – a long process." But here's another perversity: if someone passes the 65-week deadline, they are abandoned. All further help is a dead loss to "spinning plates" success rates. That woman was sent back to her life of isolation: she certainly wasn't referred for CBT. For all this bullying, the work programme finds few jobs for those on ESA.

Failing to treat the mentally ill is bad enough, but this is maltreatment. There has been much outrage about lack of kindness and care in hospitals. Neglect of mental patients is every bit as bad, but deliberate cruelty by the DWP defies any concern for the wellbeing for the most vulnerable, let alone "parity of esteem".

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bikie gang suspects in brawl arrests at Penrith shopping centre

FOUR men with alleged links to outlaw motorcycle gangs were arrested last week after a brawl at a Penrith shopping centre. Police officers from the gangs squad and Penrith local area command had been investigating the brawl, which forced shoppers to flee for their safety about 2.45pm last Monday. Police will allege a man was leaving the shopping centre when he was confronted by a group of nine men and fighting began. A number of people tried to intervene, including an unknown male who was assaulted. All involved in the brawl then left the scene. At 7am last Thursday, police simultaneously raided four homes at St Marys, Emu Plains, South Windsor and Freemans Reach. Three men with alleged links to the Rebels were arrested at St Marys and Emu Plains, while an alleged senior Nomads member was arrested at Freemans Reach. During the search warrants, police seized distinctive gang clothing, quantities of anabolic steroids and prescription drugs and a set of knuckledusters. A man, 29, of Emu Plains, was charged with affray, participate in a criminal group and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 44, of Freemans Reach, was charged with affray, possess prohibited weapon, and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 25, of St Marys, and a 23-year-old New Zealand man were each charged with affray and participate in a criminal group. Penrith crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said further arrests were anticipated.

27 charged in California-Mexico methamphetamine ring

 Local and federal authorities moved Thursday to break up an alleged drug trafficking ring connecting a major Mexican cartel and San Gabriel Valley street gangs, arresting 17 people in a pre-dawn sweep. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges 27 defendants with making, possessing and dealing methamphetamine imported by La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most violent cartels, to two Pomona gangs: Los Amables and Westside Pomona Malditos. Seven law enforcement agencies, including the Pasadena and Pomona police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, were involved in the sweep. Thursday’s crackdown is the culmination of a probe called Operation Crystal Light, a 16-month investigation by the San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang Task Force. The investigation was launched after a 2011 kidnapping among suspected gang members in Southern California. Officers said they seized nine weapons, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, other drugs, and paraphernalia in Thursday morning raids in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The probe involved about 200 law enforcement officers and several undercover purchases. “The goal of the federal task force is to disrupt the network so it’s disrupted permanently,” Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles, said. “Today’s arrests took some very serious players in the methamphetamine world off the streets.” The methamphetamine came into the country in liquid form via airplane, boats and cars, officials said. The drug was recrystallized at an Ontario home before local gangs would sell it and funnel money to the Mexican cartel. Most of the drugs were being sold in Pomona and Ontario, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Shawn Nelson. Dealers were selling multiple pounds a day and making up to $9,000 per pound, Nelson said. He described the arrests as “a good dent” in the Mexican cartel’s local drug network. Three suspects were in custody before the raid and seven remain at large, federal authorities said. The indictment alleges that a La Familia Michoacana associate named Jose Juan Garcia Barron oversaw the transport of the meth between Mexico and Los Angeles County. Delaney said Garcia Barron is among the suspects who have not been apprehended. The 17 arrested Thursday were expected to make their first court appearance Thursday afternoon at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Police think Ogden drive-bys are tied to gang's power struggle

Police believe drive-by shootings at an Ogden home Tuesday night and Wednesday morning may be related to a violent power struggle within a street gang over control of leadership, drugs and money. Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley declined to identify the gang, but said members are not affiliated with the Ogden Trece. On Monday, 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones issued a permanent injunction against Trece members, banning them from associating with each other in public and being in the presence of guns, drugs and alcohol. The injunction also places Treces under an 11 p.m. curfew. The drive-by shootings at a home in the 500 block of 28th Street are signs of in-fighting among members of a local gang who are attempting to resolve their differences through escalating violence, Conley said. “They are in the same gang and are arguing back and forth,” he said, noting police have gathered intelligence on the dispute. “We are taking enforcement action to eradicate the problem or get the individuals involved incarcerated.” Six to eight gang members are believed to be involved in the dispute.

Friday, 8 June 2012

FBI raid on Hells Angels chapters in North and South Carolina netted 19 arrests and provided authorties with a rare glimpse into the chapters inner-working

FBI raid on Hells Angels chapters in North and South Carolina netted 19 arrests and provided authorties with a rare glimpse into the inner-working of what they call a highly organized national criminal enteprise. Agents seized cocaine, marijuana, methampethamines, pills and about 100 firearms, including two machine guns, in a raid Thursday on a Gaston County club headquarters in North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reports. Prosecutors in South Carolina charged that members of the Rock Hell City Nomad chapter engaged in intimidation, extortion, narcotics distribution, money laundering, arson, trafficking in stolen goods, prostitution and firearms trafficking, WIS-TV reports. The raids were the culmination of a two-year joint effort by the FBI and authorities in both states, WCNC-TV reports. According to authorities, the clubs follow a tightly controlled chain of command that includes a president, vice president, treasurer/secretary and sergeant at arms/enforcer, as well as general members, WIS reports. The Observer, quoting from a federal indictment, says the clubs follow strict rules, with only members allowed to attend chapter meetings, which were held regularly and referred to as "church." Memberships are limited to white males who must own one or more American-made motorcycles, mostly Harley-Davidsons. The chapter president is the ultimate decider in the group and reports directly to regional officers. Representatives of chapters on the East Coast meet periodically in different states, the newspaper reports. Full members are known as "full patch" and are the only ones allowed to wear the full Hells Angels three-piece patch on jackets and vests. Prosecutors say any member who gets kicked out of a chapter must "outdate" or color over his Hells Angels tattoos. Like the mafia, Hells Angels suspects favor colorful nicknames, according to a federal indictment, The Observer reports. Among them: "Rat," "Lightning," "Gravel Dave," "Diamond Dan" and "Diesel."

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Police dismantle Notorious bikie gang

1700 bikies have been arrested and more than 3800 charges laid during a three-year operation that also dismantled the Notorious outlaw motorcycle gang. The NSW Police Gang's Squad launched Strike Force Raptor in March 2009 in response to escalating violence between rival bikie gangs. Police say a total of 1696 people were arrested and charged with 3857 offences including riot and affray, assault causing grievous bodily harm, assaulting police and manufacturing prohibited drugs. Also seized were 387 firearms, $2.2 million in cash and numerous illegal drugs, while four clandestine laboratories were put out of business. Police say the Notorious gang, responsible for many public shootings and other criminal activities, was also dismantled as a direct result of their operations. "This has been a highly-successful operation and the results demonstrate the need for us to keep the pressure on outlaw motorcycle gangs and their associates," commander of the Gangs Squad, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said in a statement.

Bikie feud breaks out in Queensland

Police fear an escalation of a battle between two rival outlaw motorcycle gangs in southeast Queensland. They believe vicious assaults at a Brisbane tattoo studio and a locksmith on Thursday are part of a feud between members of rival bikie gangs, the Hells Angels and the Bandidos. The Morningside tattoo shop and East Brisbane locksmith were targeted by five men with baseball bats in back-to-back attacks carried out over half an hour from 4pm (AEST). Four men were assaulted and both stores, which are linked to the Hells Angels, were damaged. On Tuesday, a Bandidos tattoo studio on the Gold Coast was targeted in a drive-by attack, while a car linked to the same gang was set alight in Brisbane. Police believe all four incidents are linked and have launched an operation that spans three southeast Queensland police districts. They've arranged to meet with senior members of the Hells Angels and Bandidos, though they admit they've so far had limited cooperation. "At this stage it is our interpretation that it is a localised dispute, and ... we are very concerned that this may escalate," Detective-Inspector Garry Watts told reporters in Brisbane on Friday. Police say the battle is not linked to a tit-for-tat war between outlaw motorcycle clubs in Sydney. Nor were two gun-related incidents in Brisbane's north on Thursday linked to the same gang hostilities, they say. A man suffered a minor shoulder injury after shots were fired outside a house in Kallangur around 3.30pm (AEST). About 9.15pm (AEST), shots were fired at an address at Everton Hills in an incident believed to be linked to a third motorcycle gang, the Gypsy Jokers. Police moved to allay fears that members of the public could be harmed. "We don't believe that the general public are at risk at this time," Detective Chief Superintendent Gayle Hogan said. Police are investigating a number of theories about how the war started, including a report that the bashing of a Hells Angel member was the catalyst.

Raids may link to shootings and motorcycle gangs

PROPERTIES in St Marys and Blackett were part of a Sydney-wide raid with alleged links to the Hells Angels and Nomads outlaw motorcycle gangs. Strike Force Kinnarra was established in April to investigate shootings at five homes and businesses at Merrylands, Baulkham HIlls, Granville and Northmead. Also under investigation are two shootings at Rouse Hill and Bella Vista on April 20 and a shooting at a unit block on April 23. At 6am on Friday (April 27) officers from the strike force were joined by Strike Force Raptor, other State Crime Command squads, metropolitan region commands, Public Order and Riot Squad, Dog Unit and the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit to conduct 18 simultaneous raids. They included addresses at Cranebrook, Georges Hall, Auburn, Granville, Parramatta, St Marys, Blackett, Merrylands, Rosehill, Constitution Hill, Guildford, Pemulway, Pennant Hills and Bella Vista. Some of the warrants are still ongoing, but police have arrested two people and seized prohibited drugs and related paraphernalia, two firearms, prohibited weapons including knuckledusters, steroids, mobile phones, outlaw motorcycle clothing and other related paraphernalia. Numerous items will undergo forensic examination. State Crime Command acting Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon said the operation was about sending a clear message to those involved in the shootings that police will not rest until these people are put before the courts. ``We will not tolerate the actions of any individual or group who wishes to risk the safety of the community by committing public acts of violence,’’ he said. ``Police will use any method available to them to stop the violence and arrest those responsible, and that includes looking for evidence of any criminal activity, including evidence linked to the shootings.’‘ As well as the raids, the strike force will continue a range of other strategies to target these groups. This includes proactive patrols and other intelligence-based activities. ``The members and associates of these gangs are on notice that police won’t be taking the pressure off,’’ he said. ``Further arrests and more large operations are anticipated.’‘

Man in court over bikie shooting

Prosecutors have withdrawn a bid to suppress the identity of a man accused of shooting a member of a bikie gang and an innocent bystander in a Gold Coast shopping centre. Mark James Graham, 26, was arrested on Monday in Melton, in outer Melbourne, over the shooting at Robina Town Centre on Saturday. He was extradited to Queensland on Wednesday night. Graham, who faces six charges, including attempted murder, was flanked by six police officers in the dock of Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday. The brief hearing was adjourned after police prosecutor Sergeant Peta Eyschen asked for a suppression order on the accused's image remain in place. Sgt Eyschen told the court that given the complexity of the case, which involves a number of witnesses, there was a concern the publication of his image could taint evidence given in court. Magistrate John Costanzo adjourned the hearing to consider the suppression order. But the order was withdrawn, and the case adjourned to June 13. Graham is charged with attempted murder, unlawful wounding, acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm, possess a weapon, discharge weapon in public place and dangerous conduct with a weapon.