Three members of the Maine chapter of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club lost their fight for freedom this morning.
After deliberating for about seven hours a federal jury in Portland, Maine found Richard Szpyt of Haverhill, Massachusetts and Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Ramon Dellosantos of Haverhill; and Sherwood Jordan of Albany, Maine guilty of conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana and more than five kilograms of cocaine. Szpyt and Jordan were also convicted of talking about cocaine and marijuana on the telephone.
All three men face prison sentences of ten years to life.
Supporters of the three men were distraught. “I just really don’t see how my father was pushed into this,” Szpyt’s son Jamie told the Portland Press Herald. “There were no drugs ever found with my father. This is the wrong verdict.”
The trial lasted six days.
Szpyt, who had been president of the Maine chapter of the Iron Horsemen until his arrest fourteen months ago, had vehemently denied the allegations against him. Szpyt’s attorney, Robert Levine, had argued that Iron Horsemen club rules forbid the sale of illegal drugs. “The club is a social organization of motorcycle enthusiasts,” Levine told the court, “which frowns upon, and indeed prohibits the sale of drugs by its members.”
Musical Witness Chairs
In the end however, Szpyt, Dellosantos and Jordan could not disprove the outlaw biker stereotypes the prosecution spoon fed to the jury.
The three men were among 20 patch holders and associates of the Iron Horsemen indicted on March 12, 2008. One defendant, Robert Boothby of Monson, Maine, died before he could be tried. Another defendant, Michael Martin of Limerick, Maine awaits trial on a charge of possessing cocaine. Fifteen other defendants reached plea and sentencing agreements with the federal attorney. Some of them testified for the prosecution at this trial.
The indictments culminated a year-long investigation of the Iron Horsemen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration.