After what appears to have been a years long investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation filed a criminal complaint July 29 that led to the arrest of two Sacramento area Vagos and two other men. The investigation included extensive electronic surveillance and the use of at least one and possibly two opportunistic snitches.
Much of the criminal complaint reads like a droll parody of life in a motorcycle club. Vagos and others have long conversations then move, seemingly at random, to other locations where they talk some more.
Apparently the FBI tried for so long to get something on the Northern Valley chapter of the Vagos that they had to find some excuse to arrest somebody. “After months of gathering intelligence, debriefmg sources, conducting surveillance, and doing probation searches, it became apparent that it would be very difficult to infiltrate the Vagos using normal investigative techniques,” is the way FBI Special Agent John Sommercamp put it.
“In spring 2013, the FBI was able to introduce an undercover employee into the Sacramento area Vagos,” Sommercamp says. He does not say whether the employee was a special agent or a contracted snitch. The FBI also used a citizen indentified as Source Number Two.
“Source #2 was cooperating with law enforcement in this case based, in part, on a dislike of the Vagos. Source #2 did not like the group or its members. In addition, Source #2 was cooperating as part of a contractual obligation with a prosecuting office based upon pending charges for first degree robbery and larceny. Under the terms of Source #2’s cooperation, he/she was permitted to plead guilty to a lesser charge of robbery, remain out of custody after the guilty plea in order to cooperate with the FBI, and receive a recommendation of a lower prison sentence on the pending case. The FBI also provided Source #2 with monetary compensation during his cooperation.”
The two FBI employees enticed or entrapped two Vagos allegedly working in association with two other men to twice sell them comparatively small amounts of methamphetamine for more than the going street price at the time.
On June 25, 2013 the federal sleuths allege they bought 111.3 grams of methamphetamine from James Cline, Jr., Michael Wright and Leonard Walter. Although the FBI complaint implies that all three men are Vagos, Cline told television station KXTV, “I can’t tell you about the Vagos. I’m so far away from being a Vagos you couldn’t even imagine. I’m a hard-working grandfather. I got mixed up for a second. I haven’t done anything to hurt anybody though.”
Nevertheless, the FBI surveilled Cline’s home continuously since last April using a pole camera and determined he was a Vago by using “reliable source information.”
The FBI found a great conspiracy at work as a result of this drug buy. “I learned that each drug transaction involved a number of Vagos gang members conspiring together in an effort to make the deal successful,” Sommercamp wrote. “While only one member may make money on any particular deal, as Walter did in this case, all the members take an active role in security, surveillance, and safety to ensure the deal is completed. This deal involved at least eight men, five of whom were Vagos, working in concert to complete the deal. A more traditional drug deal may only involve a purchaser and a supplier. The Vagos use their influence and membership numbers to improve their success and minimize their exposure.”
The same three men are charged with selling 96.6 grams of methamphetamine for $3,600 on August 27, 2013. “The going rate for methamphetamine was around $2,700 per quarter pound at the time of the buy,” Sommercamp explains.
Allegedly, Walter told the FBI employee, “I only do this for you guys. I don’t like to put my fucken ass in jeopardy.”
The complaint also alleges that “Wright stated he was ‘building a house for a rich marijuana dealer, He’s off the charts. One thousand plants at a time. The stuff was tested at 35 percent THC. I took one hit of that and was like wow!’ Clearly Wright is involved in the support of larger scale marijuana cultivation.”
A fourth man named Richard Cardenas was charged with supplying the methamphetamine to Cline, Wright and Walter.