Vagos President Denied Bail

July 5, 2017

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Vagos President Denied Bail

Vagos Motorcycle Club president Pastor Fausto “Ta Ta” Palafox was denied bail in a hearing Monday before federal Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach.

The denial appears to have had more to do with procedure than any danger that Palafox might flee. Pretrial services was unable to establish a full time residential address for the Vagos president. The court will probably revisit the issue.

Most defendants in the case titled USA v. Palafox et al. have been released on personal recognizance. The case is not yet officially designated as a “complex case.” In general, cases designated as complex have many defendants and are preceded by a long grand jury investigation. This case has many defendants and is based on a long grand jury investigation but at a hearing on June 16 before Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen, prosecutors argued the case was not yet “complex.” The case will probably become officially complex at a hearing on August 15.

Speedy Trial

According to documents filed last week, all 22 defendants are currently scheduled to be joined for a jury trial on August 21 before Chief Judge Gloria M. Navarro. At least one defense attorney, speaking anonymously, told The Aging Rebel that a very fast trial would “probably” work to the advantage of the defense.

Most of the prosecution’s case appears to be the fruit of two separate investigations supervised by the Glendale, California office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. One fishing trip was eventually titled “Operation Pure Luck.” That investigation began in 2009 and resulted in the arrest of 32 people in Nevada, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Texas and New York. Some of them were Vagos. Some not. The most active investigator in that case was a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy named Agostino Brancato who was employed by the ATF as a Tactical Field Officer.

Fireworks And Lies

The ATF, among its many enforcement responsibilities, investigates crimes that involve cigarettes, liquor and fireworks.

The second investigation that led to USA v. Palafox began when a Los Angeles area Vago was arrested for manufacturing “consumer fireworks” without a federal explosives manufacturers license. That Vago agreed to help the ATF electronically surveil conversations with various of his club brothers.

The most headline grabbing charges in the current indictment began with a 2010 investigation supervised by Special Agent Matthew Neal of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It succeeded mostly in further assembling an extensive dossier on the Vagos but was energized by a violent confrontation between members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and the Vagos in a casino in Sparks, Nevada in September 2011. Hells Angels San Jose charter president Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, was shot and killed by a Vago named Ernesto “Romeo” Gonzalez during that confrontation. Witnesses testified that Pettigrew was kicking a Vago from Orange County, California in the head when he was shot.

The Vago who instigated that confrontation was Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick. Rudnick was expelled from his motorcycle club, arrested by federal agents in Los Angeles and extradited to Reno where he agreed to testify for the prosecution in a state, not federal, case against Gonzalez. In return, Rudnick was promised a lenient sentence and a new start in the US Marshals’ Witness Protection Program. Consequently, Rudnick – who, according to testimony by multiple witnesses – baited Pettigrew for more than an hour – testified that “Ta Ta put a green light on Pettigrew,” and that Gonzalez volunteered to kill the Hells Angel.

Gonzalez was convicted in a Nevada court, but that conviction was overturned on appeal. Meanwhile, Rudnick recanted his testimony and the chances of convicting Gonzalez in state court were greatly diminished. Which was how Pettigrew’s homicide became part of the current federal case against the Vagos. The accusation that Palafox ordered Pettigrew’s murder is the most sensational charge in the current Vagos case. It is also the most far fetched. But, for the time being it is enough to keep Palafox behind bars.


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11 Responses to “Vagos President Denied Bail”


    how many of you experts commenting on my club are members?

  2. Havingproblems Says:

    Well we knew this day would come.we knew they would try some way out shit to make chumped up charges stick.crime creation is there .is the outlaw every real biker look forward to a life of harrasment.cause the feds picking on some biker trash.thats me as easy for them to do..we can’t afford slap gang inhancments on top.most of us have been to the our record is fucking us..well these pricks get promotions on our back cause it’s easy..we don’t look for the informent dealing to a fbi agent. While innocent bikers are clue less to what’s going on..if you are in a club.and you have your crew. Enjoy the time you get with them cause people die people go to prison and we all get old..this next generation isn’t made the way we’re made so it’s the last gen of the outlaw .this is how I see it..let’s ride without fear of the man…let’s do the way we used to do it..wfo…love all the real bikers ..if you kicked your bike in the past or kickstart it now if you’ve been through all the gens of Harley motors. Through the years ..then your a’s nothing better than being a scooter tramp..but fuck can’t be a outlaw when Johnny laws on your ass 24 hours a day….that is all ..peace

  3. SoCal Says:

    @ Dan Reddbear, No one cares about your assessment of the Vagos MC. As an outsider, you only know what you read in the press releases from the government. Sorry about your pot plants being stolen. Obviously you didn’t vet properly the one person you told…

  4. Dan Reddbear Says:

    There is no Honor, Respect, loyalty, faithfulness, self respect, self honesty, and dignity among the Brothers of “The Vagos Motor Cycle CLUB”!!! Not GANG!!! I think that the youngsters have none of these qualities? I am an outsider/supporter, old school kinda guy. And back in my wild days we never ratted out our brothers, but we always knew who ratted because that person got OFF or charges were reduced to a joke!!! I personally take the qualities I mentioned above as quite important in MY Life!!! One time we were growing and we only told one other person about our grow, and low and behold about 2 weeks latter all of our plants were gone!!! We confronted the guy and of course he lied, but we knew better. If ya tell one person something and that word gets out it’s pretty obvious who told, YES? These are just some of the words that make a MAN, and yes the real meaning of the words that we lived by and I for one continue to do so!!! Two legged, Two armed, Forked tounge snakes. Just saying not judging… Peace to ALL… PS: KARMA is a MOTHER FUCKER!!! I need to say that Karma is NOT a threat, Karma happens all on it’s own!!!

  5. Hero Says:

    Everybody knows if you have or have had any association to an mc your phone is tapped, you computer is tapped and you dog may even be wired for sound. Strip searches just get you more charges (and you could have to register as a sex offender for life), The days are gone of old, new approach required IMO to keep MC’s alive.

    President of an international MC has no address he calls home?… I call B.S. Let the man go home to his family. Pick up the phone and make a call to his residence. The publicity stunt is over when a judge OR’s on a Rico murder case. save our tax payers money and focus on all the monitored parking meters at the beach.

  6. Dutchboy Says:

    And the machine grinds on. This business of using snitches on the stand seems to be full of hazards for persecutors. Jabbers recant really kicked them in the nuts, at least in the long term. Kind of like some Jody seducing another man’s chick, then being surprised when she cheats on him too. What the hell did you expect? Seems the game now is extra-judicial punishments of the innocent-until-proven-guilty until the courts reluctantly force them to pull out their bloody claws and turn their victims loose.
    Best of luck to the falsely imprisoned and Fair Winds.

  7. Iron Rider Says:

    Maybe the ATF should give the folks at Walt Disney a call, they really know how to make fantasy work and resonate with the people

  8. Popeye Says:

    I’m real surprised ATF didnt go with bomb making materials charge. Consumer fireworks is a simple chicken shit charge of small amounts of flash powder. I’ve never known the ATF to not stretch the truth to make a charge stick.

  9. RLG Says:

    All one has to do is have a lawyer petition for the source code of the stingray and they’ll drop the case.

  10. Rottenclam Says:

    Answer to that question:

    I think certain clubs are in a race to get in members and in their haste they let in those who will inform if they’re facing time.

    There is clearly a quantity vs quality issue that many clubs deal with more than ever these days. No shortage of people jocking them and wanting to be in, but if the pool of applicants are mainly tweakers, sociopaths that never ride, or gangsters that dont care that there are miles and miles of riding involved, then you’re bound to let in a few informants.

    There are a select few 1%er clubs that that wont even let somebody be a full member until they know that they’ll do time (either because they’ve got the jacket already, or because the club has evidence on dirt that the member did when they were a prospect which would lead to the member doing time if it was somehow leaked, no matter if they cut a deal or not).

    Just like with the militias nowadays, there are feds are everywhere. The clubs are in huge wars that demand crazy young members. So to staff up….a few corners get cut….and then WHAM…you have either straight-up fed infiltrators or weak members that will cut deals.

    The race to the top is fraught with landmines.

  11. Badd Guye Says:

    “** was arrested for manufacturing “consumer fireworks” without a federal explosives manufacturers license. That ** agreed to help the ATF electronically surveil conversations with various of his club brothers”

    “The ** who instigated that confrontation was ***. *** was expelled from his motorcycle club, arrested by federal agents in Los Angeles and extradited to Reno where he agreed to testify for the prosecution in a state, not federal, case against ***”

    What has OUR world come to? I remember as time a “Biker” would take the death penalty before he would rat on a brother for being double parked!

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