Vagos RICO Indictment Unsealed

June 16, 2017

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Vagos RICO Indictment Unsealed

The Department of Justice unsealed a racketeering indictment against 23 members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club this morning. The indictment was returned Wednesday by a grand jury in Las Vegas.

The underlying investigation appears to have begun about the time of a brawl between Vagos and Hells Angels in John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada on September 23, 2011. Jeffrey Pettigrew, president of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club’s San Jose charter was killed in the brawl which was instigated by a Vago from Los Angeles named Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick. Pettigrew was shot by Ernesto “Romeo” Gonzalez. Rudnick testified for the prosecution at Gonzalez’ trial. He told jurors that Vagos president Pastor Fausto “Ta Ta” Palafox had ordered Gonzalez to kill Pettigrew. Rudnick later recanted his testimony. All of the people mentioned in this paragraph, except Rudnick, were named in today’s indictment.

According to the indictment, the club now has “87 or more chapters in at least seven countries, on four continents, and approximately 75 chapters in the United States, including approximately 54 chapters in Nevada and California. The Vagos OMG
membership has been estimated at between 900 and 1,000 members.”


The indictment mentions incidents that were electronically surveilled as recently as April 3, when a Vago who is also a Los Angeles attorney “sent a text message to a former Vagos member stating that ‘’The fuck that did it is gonna hurt.” Allegedly, the text referred to a well regarded Vago named Beau Gabriel Hempel who shot and killed two other Vagos named Scott Gardner and Brian Davis outside a bar in San Bernardino, California on April 2. The dead men were also highly esteemed and the incident shocked the club. At the time he wrote the text, the Vago who is also a lawyer was unaware of the circumstances of the shooting.

The indictment also overlaps with a federal case titled USA v. Halgat et al. Important evidence in that case appears to have been fabricated by a Los Angeles County Sheriff and sometime Tactical Field Officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives named Augustino Brancato. The indictment mentions an “undercover law enforcement officer then posing as a full patched Vagos member” 21 times. The Aging Rebel has no doubt that the undercover mentioned in the indictment is Brancato.

At a glance, the indictment is weak, filled with surplusage and the reasons for it seem to be more political than practical. For example: “When attending a national run, and at other times, some Vagos OMG members travelled with Vagos OMG merchandise to sell at the destination. Only Vagos OMG members and close associates with permission could sell Vagos OMG merchandise, and a portion of the sales was funneled back to the enterprise.”

Or: “Vagos OMG members, prospects, and members of support clubs were required to pay dues on a monthly basis. A portion ofthese dues were forwarded to the international leadership.” The dues, “helped fund the continued operation of the enterprise and were used for a variety of purposes, including the payment of expenses to the international leadership, covering funeral expenses of members, contributing to a legal defense fund for members, and paying costs associated with planned trips or ‘runs.’ The enterprise also raised funds for its activities and to pay the legal defense fees for charged members through •unlawful gambling activities, such as raffles.”

Sparks Again

The indictment deliberately tries to reopen the wounds of the Sparks shooting when it alleges: “On or about September 23, 2011, at the Nugget Hotel and Casino in Sparks, Nevada, Pastor Fausto Palafox, a/k/a ‘TaTa,’ Albert Lopez, a/k/a ‘Al,’ Albert Benjamin Perez, a/k/a ‘’Dragon Man,’ James Patrick Gillespie, a/k/a ‘Jimbo,’ and others known and unknown to the grand jury, ordered the murder of a rival Hells Angels gang member.” That is, in fact, exactly the same story Gary Rudnick recanted seven weeks ago.

The defendants charged with racketeering conspiracy (RICO) and violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR) today were:

Pastor Fausto “Ta Ta” Palafox; Albert “Al” Lopez; Albert Benjamin “Dragon Man” Perez; James Patrick “Jimbo” Gillespie; Andrew Eloy “Hulk” Lozano; Ernesto Manuel “Romeo” Gonzalez; Victor Adam “Slick” Ramirez; James Walter “CJ” Henderson; Steven Earl “Big Steve” Carr; Robert Allen “Mayhem” Coleman; Jeremy John “Masniak” Halgat; Paul Jeffrey Voll; John Joseph “Rocky” Siemer; Bradley Michael “Candy Man” Campos; Cesar Vaquera “C” Morales; Diego Chavez “Boo” Garcia; Edward Claridan “Recon” Chelby; Johnny Russell “Johnny Bolts” Neddenriep; Darin Kieth “Midget” Grieder; Bert Wayne “Flash” Davisson; Mathew Keith “Big Mat” Dunlap; and John Chrispin “Quicky” Juarez.

Prosecutor Speak

In the press release that accompanies most of these indictments, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco was quoted as saying: “Today, the rule of law dealt a serious blow to the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a so-called ‘brotherhood’ responsible for drug addiction, death and mayhem in multiple locations, including California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Nevada. Today’s coordinated takedown of this biker organization’s leadership is a victory for all of us who respect and love our country, and a testament to the bravery and dedication of federal, state and local law enforcement men and women who to keep our communities safe.”

Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks was also quoted in the press release as saying: “The murder committed by Ernesto Gonzalez in the Nugget Casino was always a part of a larger criminal conspiracy, which has been made even more clear today. Prosecuting Gonzalez for his actions has been a priority for my office. As such, we welcomed the opportunity to work closely with federal authorities in this RICO investigation that not only seeks to hold Gonzales accountable but the entire involved Vagos criminal enterprise.”


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32 Responses to “Vagos RICO Indictment Unsealed”

  1. Dutchboy Says:

    @Paladen, wow, what a thought. Being between the Rosie-beast and some bbq chicken wings might be as dangerous as being between a beat-heat and a box of Crispy Creams. Danger around every corner any more. Fair Winds

  2. Paladin Says:

    @ Steel,

    Based on Rebel’s reporting, the case does indeed appear weak. Unfortunately, the government’s indictments have already ruined the financial and emotional lives of the accused. The odds of proving malicious intent on the part of the government and then receiving compensation for damages is on par with taking food from Rosie O’Donnell and living to tell the tale.

    And as always, long may you ride.


  3. Hangaround Says:

    Seems to me MCs should just become a religion. That way whenever the alphabets tried to open a RICO case we could all just cry persecution.
    The Roman Catholic church has had great results with this approach. No one has tried to indite them on a RICO charge despite numerous sex offenders colluding together, and they also have raffles!

  4. Steel Says:

    @Paladin, well said. I would also add every Union pays dues and kicks up a portion to the National or International office. Guess they should be indicted for RICO as well. Not to mention, I know this for a fact, the IBEW sells IBEW merchandise that someone not IBEW shouldn’t be selling.

    Weak case. Easy to get indictments, hard to prove the case.



  5. WJL Says:

    Rebel you need to take a ride. I appreciate all the news but go for a ride.

  6. Ron Says:

    @notinthegame what was the reason for brining that up? No one was discussing that and you bring it up for what? To talk shit? To stir the pot? Seems like a punk move. I could get into why those things were happening but it serves no purpose. This would all be a non issue if people knew when to shut the fuck up!

  7. Dan Reddbear Says:

    Hello all, Could someone explain the difference between VMC and Vagos OMG? I am a supporter and Brother to one of the most Trustworthy/Honest MEN I have ever known, and I am 63, I worked in Criminal Justice System for 18 yrs. With DOJ,FBI, and BOP clearances. I worked with Federal Penitentiary, State Penitentiary,county jails and as well with Juvenile offenders/inmates in detention, in an attempt to rehabilitate. I have heard everything I thought until I hear about a man who shoots two men without provocation? And then let free with NO CONSEQUENCES. In all my dealings with Judges, Attorneys’, Parole, and Probation Officers. This is a first for me! I know what keeping confidences confidence is, and it appears that some folks have BIG mouths, and like shit in their cake. FYI: The Men that I know belong to Vagos Motorcycle Club, not Vagos OMG. The Men that I know and support are not BAD Men, and if they are then I guess that I am a Bad Man as well. Some things are clear and then somethings are CRYSTAL CLEAR. I subscribe to the Crystal Clear Group. “Just saying, not Judging” Keep up the GREAT WORK and I for one will continue to support the Vagos Motorcycle Club. (REDDBEAR) over and out.

  8. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    NotInTheGame, Your not in the game anymore. Remember? Everyone knows what happened. Let it go. There is enough shit going on and people talking when they shouldn’t be.

    Viva Los Vagos

  9. notinthegame Says:

    @ East Coast
    Pettigrew shot two people, pistol whipped another and was attempting to field goal kick the head of a man on the ground when he was stopped.

  10. FuckRobertTheDildo Says:

    East Coast – Not to step on Rebel’s toes, but perhaps wishful thinking…

  11. Hero Says:

    @Rebel, Thank you for the heads up. I am sure Ciccone and a hand full of other alphabeter”s will be knocking on cell doors. Stay strong fellas.

  12. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    If this world was a fair and equitable place, the Feds would have to be holding bake sales to finance their increasingly ludicrous “investigations” and “stings”. I personally don’t know of a single citizen who agrees with this type of frivolous waste of their tax money. But then, I generally don’t socialize with the potted plants they strive to appoint to their grand juries…

  13. IcemanB&W Says:

    The LEO cartel will never cease to demonize those that ride and wear patches. This will be another colossal waste of tax payers money. If a club sends money to their headquarters, they are guilty of a crime? Guess there are a lot of clubs (not just the 2 wheeled type) to go and reign in under RICO if any of that sh*t stands up in court. My guess is that it won’t.

  14. Rebel Says:

    Dear Hero,

    They were arraigned before a skeptical federal magistrate yesterday. I was told by a reliable source that the Southern California accused were all incarcerated at MDC in LA as of noon today. And I understand they will eventually be transferred to Vegas.

    I can hear John Ciccone now: “Who wants to talk to me? Who wants to talk to me.”


  15. Iron Rider Says:

    @ Bolo

    I had that same thought regarding the Raffles. I also loved how the Feds say that money from the sales of Vagos merch was funneled back to the club…like in someones pocket? Talk about stretching fact to make things sound more sinister than they are.

  16. Here Says:

    I found on another website and an article saying that the fellas arrested in CA were arraigned Friday afternoon, remanded to the U.S. Marshal service with NO BAIL. This is total b.s, most if these “charges” have already been satisfied. Double jeopardy to now include RICO and possible life?

  17. Bolo Says:

    “Unlawful raffles” Good lord ! If LE doesn’t crack down on this who know what will be next, unsanctioned bingo, unlicensed bakesales, unregulated chili cook offs. Oh the humanity!

  18. Rebel Says:

    Dear East Coast,

    Sorry about the typo. It has been corrected.


  19. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    Ol’Lady Rider, We would think so. It’s obvious to anyone with a electron firing in their brain that this is just the Nevada US Attorney, Romeo’s prosecutor and the judgeship digging in for a win. After suffering loses in the first of his trials and setbacks with the last ham sandwhich indictment against my Club they want to try again. The results will be the same as the other highly expensive raids and prosecutions. You got nothing. ZERO!

    There were rumors of this indictment long before Harris left California to suck on the tit of the federal government, guess moon beams wasn’t enough for her greedy self righteous worm like self.

    The indictment can be read here.

    No one should mistake this miniscule inconvenience as having any meaningful impact on the Green Nation day to day. We are a collective marks constitutionally protected association of free men regardless of the attempts by the US Attorney in Nevada to prove otherwise.

    We will Vago on.

    Viva Los Vagos

  20. East Coast Says:

    Rebel, In the second paragraph you say that Jabbers (Rudnick) was shot by Romeo. It was Pettifrew that was shot.

    L&R to all the fine brothers who got tangled up in this completely fabricated web of bullshit started by a snitch and perpetrated by the real OG, the Feds. These are some of the finest men ever to ride the highways. Hopefully the sheople are starting to see that their tax dollars are being stolen for use in self perpetuating ATF fairytales.

    Collecting donations for defense funds, runs and bikes for kids at Xmas seems to be the largest crime in the piles of crap.

    Respect to the few that have earned it.



  21. Wil gents Says:

    Gov agents making their careers on other mens backs.nobody cares when picking on a biker.but shit their picking on cowboys look at bundys ranch.they get fucked for a forien company that wants their land for brothers nomatter what club were all brothers .this shits for t he birds.being a goverments punk isnt me..

  22. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    One would think the American citizenry – plagued daily by street crime – would be quite weary of gazillion-dollar investigations into motorcycle clubs followed by sophomoric indictments that, after gazillion-dollar and multi-year court proceedings yield NOTHING.

  23. Dirt Says:

    If being in a club is now considered being in a major criminal enterprise why are we all so broke?

  24. Alvin Says:

    Another load of lies and bullshit fed to a grand jury yhat would indite a cabbage without evidence Just the ATF trying once again to try to justify their usefulness where in fact just made to muddy the water before a long overdue retrial

  25. Curbside Says:

    RIDER 1 Says:
    June 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm
    Hate to say it but now is the time to treat Joe Civilian with kid gloves. He may be a dumbass today and a potential juror next week.

    I just had to sit through a voir dire a couple weeks ago and some of the things I was hearing warped my goddamned mind. It’s amazing how gullible and manipulated the public can be when they’re force-fed a pre-conceived notion through their televisions. Cops can do no wrong, people never get accused of crimes they haven’t committed, etc.

    Maybe there’s something to all that silliness about the chemtrails and the flouride making us retarded.

  26. Curbside Says:

    One of these days, America is going to turn on the news and find out that one of those “deranged mass shooters” actually went postal where it does the public some good.

  27. RIDER 1 Says:

    Hate to say it but now is the time to treat Joe Civilian with kid gloves. He may be a dumbass today and a potential juror next week.

    RIDER 1

  28. Dutchboy Says:

    @Paladin, well said. When you study history you find that most Patriots do not seek to be heros, they are simply trying to live their lives until someone attempts to push them too far. What is the moisture level of The Tree Brothers?

  29. Storyteller Says:

    Ron, Amen brother. You are absolutely right. On Tata AND Jabbers.

  30. Ron Says:

    It was the Vagos turn. How long can these government agencies just completely fabricate predicates and destroy families lives!? It’s the most un-American thing imaginable happing to the most American of American organizations, motorcycle clubs. All clubs are fucked. Good luck to the Green in fighting another long list of bull shit.

  31. Paladin Says:

    Based on the reported government’s claims, every entity or church group that holds a raffle or fund raising event is subject to a RICO indictment. It would seem that one’s life, Liberty and the pursuit of one’s happiness is now subject to the government’s whims.

    We are no longer citizens, but have allowed ourselves to become no more than government subjects. That said, there are those of us that are more than willing to party as if it were 1776.


  32. Ron Says:

    I’m not a member or even a supporter of the Green but anyone who’s ever met TaTa even for a moment can tell you the man has character, is honest and a stand up guy. He’s as far removed from a ” gang member” as you can be. He’s a proper outlaw and he’s earned his respect. Fuck Jabbers that pice of shot this is all on him, he’s still fucking his brothers over and ruining lives.

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