This morning the United States Attorney in Detroit unsealed a 35 count, 47 page indictment of 78 members and associates of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club in and near Detroit, Michigan. The indictment was initially filed and sealed April 21st. Four of the indicted have already agreed to plea agreements and may be cooperating with authorities.
This indictment supersedes a long chain of indictments that goes back to September, 5, 2006. That initial complaint cited as probable cause evidence from 30,000 wiretapped phone calls and two informants. One of the men named in today’s indictment, Aref “Steve” “Scarface” Nagi, has already been locked up and denied bail for 32 months.
Largest Prosecution In History Doo Dah, Doo Dah
The Highwaymen have eight chapters in Michigan. The club also has chapters in Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Indiana. Only members of the club in Michigan are named in the indictment. But the complaint does accuse the club of being a “Criminal enterprise,” and accuses that, “This enterprise was engaged in, and its activities affected, interstate commerce.” So another shoe may eventually drop.
Club National President Joseph “Little Joe” Whiting and others are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery, extortion, assault with weapons, drug dealing, trading in stolen goods, and obstruction of justice.
United States Attorney Terrence Berg called the case “…the largest prosecution in the history of Michigan of a motorcycle gang and one of the largest in the history of the nation.”
Among the crimes alleged in the indictment are: The armed robbery and murder of a man named Ruben Guzman in September, 2003; conspiring to murder three men named Gerald Deese, Doug Burnett and Phillip McDonald between 2005 and 2007; a house arson in 2004; and various crimes against members of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club and the Liberty Riders Motorcycle Club in order to “(maintain) control over Highwaymen Motorcycle Club territory (turf) through acts of intimidation, threats and violence.”
Enterprise Theory Of Investigation
The heart of the indictment, the case the United States Attorney has been straining mightily to contrive for the last 30 months, is the allegation that the Highwaymen is a criminal enterprise. You know, like the Mafia, or Countrywide Mortgage or the nation of Iraq. Almost every time multiple members of any particular motorcycle club are arrested that club, as a whole, is now routinely accused of being a “criminal enterprise.”
All of this baloney grows from, “a powerful tool in the law enforcement arsenal (called) the Enterprise Theory of Investigation (ETI).” The Bush Administration memo that postulated this approach to law enforcement explains that:
“Unlike traditional investigative theory, which relies on law enforcement’s ability to react to a previously committed crime, the ETI encourages a proactive attack on the structure of the criminal enterprise. Rather than viewing criminal acts as isolated crimes, the ETI attempts to show that individuals commit crimes in furtherance of the criminal enterprise itself. In other words, individuals commit criminal acts solely to benefit their criminal enterprise. By applying the ETI with favorable state and federal legislation, law enforcement can target and dismantle entire criminal enterprises in one criminal indictment.”
What this “theory” means in practice is that the Department of Justice can prosecute the Boy Scouts or the Catholic Church as a criminal enterprise if it wants to do that. And, what it means specifically for the accused Highwaymen is that the United States of America can keep at least ten of them in jail for as long as it wants without having to prove a thing. Just as Aref “Steve” “Scarface” Nagi has already been sentenced to at least 32 months in jail without the government having had to prove a thing.
Attention Underemployed Defense Attorneys
Indicted today were: Aref Nagi, Nat “Bolo” Sanchez, James “Jimmy” Gebara, Erick “Pok-a-dot” Manners, Michael “Cocoa” Ciccheti, Leonard “Bo” Moore, Donald Gill, Miseal “Meecho” Gonzalez, Michael Watson, Aaron “Bam” Roberts, Tamara Swiden, Johnny “JD” Jarrell, Gary “Junior” Ball Jr., Leonard “Dad” Moore, Gerald “Byrd” Peters, Joseph Whiting, Robert “Bobby” Burton, Ronald Hatmaker, Michael “Chopper” Kukla, Louis “Dirty Lou” Fitzner, Darrell “Ridgerunner” Bryant, John “Recon” Barnett, Robert “Kwik” Flowers, Michael “Spanky” Toney, Gerald “Pete” Baggett, Jeffrey Miner, Keith “Monk” Hood, Dennis “Gone” Vanhulle, Jeff “Pitbull” Pittman, “David “Conan” Reed, Glenn Ballestero, Sean Donovan, Anthony “Mad Anthony” Clark, Richard Younkin, Manous “Lightfoot” Sturgill, Donald “Daddy D” Messer Sr., Chris “Lil Dawg” Miller, Gary “Grizz” Eizak, Juan Flores, Johnny “Jackrabbit” Rex, Richard “Freestyle” Wilkins, William “Speed” Bridges, John Duffey, Eugene “G-No” Trumph, David “Stifler” Tomlan, Rusty Lapalme, Emiliano “Milo” Ruiz, Daniel “Rocket” Sanchez, Steven Rhoads, Frank “Frank the Bullet” Christopher, Dennis Brevard, Daniel “Angel” Espino, Erica Gafford, Sheryl Anne Gafford, Eric “Bull” Potts, Anton “Breaker” Reiner, Jeffrey “Jethro” Olko, Hatim “Tim” Attallah, William Bennett, Gina Daigle, Avelino “Joe” Ventura, Alton Bernard Holliday, Frank Makdesian, Adam Winkler, Donald Messer Jr., Daniel Palmer, Joseph “Gaptooth” Burton, Robert “Bizzy” Whitehouse, Delilah Miller, Kathy Ann Whitehouse, Wayne “Torch” Wright, Timothy Sosnovske, John Thomas and Randell Hutchinson.