ATF Has License To Entrap

January 6, 2015

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Citing a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent titled US v. Black that had been reiterated in a separate ruling filed December 4, two federal judges in Nevada ruled last Friday that the conduct of a full time Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy and part time snitch for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives named Agostino Brancato was not “so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice.”

Attorneys for two Vagos named Jeremy “Maniak” Halgat and Anthony “Uncle Tony” McCall had sought to have the indictments against their clients dismissed. The attorneys alleged that Brancato lied and fabricated evidence in order contrive cases against the two men. In what was an obvious fishing expedition, Brancato spent more than a year hanging around and patching into the Vagos. Brancato tried numerous times to induce the men into participating in a criminal conspiracy.

During one of those attempts to entice his victims Halgat told Brancato, “I can’t…I can’t fucking, I can’t help.” Eventually in that conversation, Halgat reluctantly agreed to introduce Brancato to a small time drug dealer named Udell Wickham, Halgat said, “the only thing I can contribute is, hey this is my home boy, I trust him. This is my home boy, I trust him, whatever you do, and if it fucks up….”

The men are also accused of providing “security” for a bogus, multi-kilo cocaine transaction at an airstrip near Searchlight Nevada in November 2012.


The cases against the two men and the defense motion for dismissal eventually led to a three day evidentiary hearing at the beginning of November 2014.

Halgat and McCall argued that, “rather than infiltrating an existing drug conspiracy or criminal organization engaged in ongoing criminal activity, the government created, invented, and imagined up crimes for these defendants to be induced and
entrapped into committing for the purpose of charging members of … Vagos … with drug and gun crimes.”

In their ruling denying a dismissal of the case, the two judges, the honarables Andrew Gordon and Jennifer Dorsey, cited instances where Halgat had bragged to Brancato about previously smuggling marijuana across the border from Mexico. The judges also cited instances where Halagat bought small amounts of cocaine which he then shared with his club brothers. The judges also cited admissions to Brancato by McCall that McCall, a convicted felon, owned firearms. Additionally, McCall sold small amounts of anabolic steroids to Brncato.

About the evidentiary hearing Judge Gordon wrote:

“The parties played and re-played audio recordings of the key undercover conversations, evaluated them against the competing transcriptions of the same events, and showed the video recordings of the planning meetings between the TFO (Brancato) and the defendants for the airstrip transaction and a four-camera video recording of the operation itself. TFO Brancato testified for the bulk of those three days, offering his eyewitness account of the events and explaining his actions, reports, and statements in response to questions by defense counsel, the government, and the bench. Having fully considered the evidence presented at the three-day evidentiary hearing, the parties’ extensive briefing, and the totality of the circumstances in light of United States v. Black, I find that the government’s conduct does not reach the ‘extremely high standard’ necessary to dismiss this indictment for outrageous government conduct, I find no reason to exercise my supervisory powers to dismiss the indictment, and I deny the motions to dismiss.”

Trial dates for the two men are pending.


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9 Responses to “ATF Has License To Entrap”

  1. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    This thread seems to have died, so I am just going to say what everyone is already thinking.

    Large scale drug trafficking enterprises and the MC world are simply incompatible.

    With the cartels snitching from the top to protect their business and street gangs snitching from the bottom for shorter sentences, the guy in the middle who keeps his mouth shut winds up doing the time.

    A quick review of the federal sentencing guidelines can provide a realistic expectation. Anything worth doing has a 10 year minimum, and that promptly escalates to 20.

    Friends who are handling weight won’t involve a PH if they have any genuine respect for him, his club, or the lifestyle.

  2. Meh Says:

    ““rather than infiltrating an existing drug conspiracy or criminal organization engaged in ongoing criminal activity, the government created, invented, and imagined up crimes for these defendants to be induced and
    entrapped into committing for the purpose of charging members of … Vagos … with drug and gun crimes.”

    To the police state, gun and drug “crimes” are a gift. There is only one barrier to that kind of entrapment, and that is never to trade illegally in either item.

    Humans naturally LIKE firearms and recreational chemicals, so the perfect trap for them is to use their sense of rebellion against drug and firearm laws to bait them.
    When people feel affirmed in doing a thing that baits them they become easy prey.

    It’s devious but it works. There is a way to make it not work. Regard all requests for illegal pharmaceutical and firearms transactions as entrapment.

  3. Rusty Says:

    Vetting out posers or infiltrators and snitches is not just an issue concerning only clubs. It’s simply a glaring example of todays society as a whole.
    Hell try hiring 3 people who will look you in the face and tell you they will show up everyday,,,, on time, and live up to that.
    As Vago 1%er said above, the bluring of the lines between right and wrong are widening, I believe the line itself is still pencil thin, its societies view that has widened the lines. And as AVAGOVFFV said before him, there must be a change in Club culture and most definately in communication between Clubs.

    Respect to the deserving.

  4. VAGO 1%er Says:

    Its a physical universe axiom that things either get better or worse.

    In my short life span thus far I have seen the decay of justice and the blur of the lines of what is right and wrong continually widen. Our justice system is so broken it will not ever get better. Our nation’s top cop is a criminal. Our street cops are lying, murdering thugs. From traffic courts to the high courts its tragically irreparable.

    My son at the young age of 20 and his contemporaries have a cynical outspoken opinion of these things. And I wonder, what’s in store for their generation?

  5. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    Road Whore, Yeah your right and thanks for the well wishes for Uncle Tony and Maniak.
    The only thing I’ll add is that even knowing someone for a long period of time won’t keep people from dry snitching, lying, fabricating or posibly detailing their perseption of past events once they start getting squeezed by the turds in the infamous ciccone gang or by the other douche bag federal enforcers. Let’s face it if they want to get you they will and can. I’m not saying its a hopeless fight but there will have to be a sincere change within the the Club culture and community regarding the relationships or non existent communication between Clubs. Question to the regulars who post…. Do you think asshole fuck face Charles Ashley Wyatt AKA Falco or the used tampon Koz could have made it into the Clubs that they did if there was a system in place to screen or vette prospective members? I doubt it. As for the current case? No comment, other than I think professional snitches are not just dirty but vile scum it’s even worse when they wear a badge.

    But what the hell do I know I’m just a guy looking to preserve a culture that I value hoping to pass it on to the youngsters that got the heart.

    Viva Los Vagos


  6. popeye Says:

    Why is there “extremely high standards ” to dismiss but extremely low standards to indict. Its like playing a game with a 4 year old who keeps changing the rules so they can win but the stakes are so much higher.

  7. Road Whore Says:

    And the atrocities continue in the name of so-called justice. Let’s call these acts what they are: witch hunts.

    I read an article last year where the FBI acknowledged that its CIs frequently break the law and yet remain on the payroll unpunished. I was shopping at my local bookstore the other day and almost bought a read that details how the CIA ran drugs in Compton and other places in order to finance its shenanigans. Once the fed beast decides to bully you—and that’s exactly what it is, bullying—you need powerful allies to provide you any help or hope. And it seems that those that sit on the bench have decided to ignore lawyers at all costs; anyway those that hold a different opinion than the judge does.

    Good luck to the Vagos; and be careful who you patch in and call brother, and be careful of who you do favors for, and what kind of favors those are. You need to know a man for a long time before you start tossing out favors to him.

    Ride Free

  8. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    That is truly unfortunate.

    I don’t actually know what could possibly rise to the ‘extremely high standard’ of outrageousness necessary to actually dismiss a case like that.

    I can recall two examples that weren’t outrageous enough. The first was the DEA welding its own heroin into the frame of a car which was provided to an unsuspecting dupe who drove it into the US. They nailed his ass, even though they acknowledged that he was unaware of the drugs they had planted. The second was a woman who was threatened with great physical harm (or death) if she refused to obtain some meth for a CI. She was also locked up.

    Once they’ve demonstrated “predisposition” they have a free hand to do any disgusting thing to bring a case.

    For Helgat, a prominent position in an MC was considered adequate “predisposition” to warrant entrapment. At that point, I don’t what what effective defense remains.

    Nothing seems to be outrageous enough to bother our judges.

  9. Phuquehed Says:

    The only good judge(s), apparently aren’t breathing.

    The only good fedtard alphabet soup shit-stain, isn’t breathing.

    Saying ‘good luck’ to these two unfortunates being fucked by a government that has forgotten what it is to dole out honest justice where it’s merited, seems weak, but I hope their lawyers can find something to fuck the judges and the air-wasting fucktards in the ATF back and get them released as innocent men again.

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