Vagos Racketeering Trial Resumes

February 17, 2020

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Vagos Racketeering Trial Resumes

No. The Vagos trial will never end. It cannot end. Not until a dozen good citizens forget this case is made of lies, and they forget they have forgotten, and they confess that lies are the new truth, and their confessions are locked away in a secret safe lest the people find out what justice means these days. Until then this prosecution can only pause. As Federal District Judge Gloria M. Navarro needed to shut the case down for a long weekend to get the rotten taste out of her mouth.

Here’s what you may have missed.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has long sought to destroy the Vagos Motorcycle Club because members of the club are potential criminals; they usually aren’t actual criminals but they all have that potential. They are secretive and have been on the wrong end of a propaganda campaign for decade. The campaign has included multiple books and television shows . The push to turn Vagos into actual criminals includes multiple attempts to hand former felons handguns; asking other Vagos to help them carry boxes of untaxed cigarettes; staging a theatrical gunfight using blank rounds outside the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip; and charging a Vago who had a two gallon can of gasoline, nitrogen based lawn fertilizer and firecrackers in his home garage with possessing bomb making materials and describing him in mass media outlets as a domestic terrorist.


The point of these stunts is not necessarily criminal conviction. The points are to get indictments and lock “bad guys” up. In America, you do not need to convict somebody in order to incarcerate him for years, impoverish him and ruin his life. Prosecution is punishment.

The ATF, for both legitimate and blatantly clandestine reasons, frequently “partners” with other state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. This case began in 2011 after a fatal brawl between members of the Hells Angels and Vagos in a casino in Sparks, Nevada which is near Reno.

Briefly, that brawl was started by a Vago from Los Angeles named Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick. He was immediately expelled from the Vagos and he became the key witness in the murder trial of another Vago named Ernesto Gonzalez. Gonzalez was returning from a trip to McDonald’s. He was legally armed and he saw 54-year-old Hells Angel Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew stomping a Vago. Gonzalez shot and killed him.

Rudnick falsely testified to a fiction that was authored by the ATF and funneled to Rudnick by a Nevada state prosecutor named Carl Hall. Hall convicted Gonzalez with the help of a stupid jury, a friendly judge and Rudnick’s testimony but the conviction was overturned on appeal because of “judicial error.”

Rudnick served two years under an assumed identity in a Nevada prison and subsequently recanted his testimony. He explained that he only said what Hall told him to say in order to get a lighter sentence. Hall is now Reno City Attorney and was most recently in the news for refusing to recuse himself from a suit against the city alleging sexual harassment and assault.

Gonzales is one of the eight defendants in the current case in Las Vegas. The other defendants are Albert Lopez, Albert Perez, James Gillespie, Bradley Campos, Cesar Morales, Diego Garcia and former club president Pastor Palafox,

Rudnick is one of two main government witnesses. Last November, after testifying in this trial, Rudnick admitted he had lied. Consequently, Assistant United States Attorney John Han moved to strike all of Rudnick’s testimony. Navarro denied Han’s motion because, in America, people accused of a crime have the right to confront their accusers. Four days after asking Navarro to strike Rudnick’s testimony, Han changed his mind and withdrew his motion.


The other main witness against the eight Vagos in a Los Angeles Sheriff named Augustino Brancato. Brancato has worked on multiple biker cases for the ATF as a Tactical Field Officer, which is to say a cop who is deputized to act as a ATF agent. Brancato infiltrated the Vagos as part of an investigation in Las Vegas christened “Operation Pire Luck.” In most instances, Brancato’s testimony is critical to proving that the defendants are actual as well as potential criminals.

The Pure Luck investigation lasted for years and the jury will determine in Brancato is any more credible than Rudnick. There is a tendency in these biker investigations to come up with something to justify their enormous expense. The longer the investigation the greater the pressure on the investigators.
One of Brancato’s targets was a Vago named Jeremy “Maniak” Halgat.

Despite numerous enticements, Halgat refused to deal drugs to Brancato. Brancato went to extraordinary ends to entice Halgat to do something illegal, even offering to tip Halgat $50 for introducing Brancato to a Mongols Motorcycle Club hang around who apparently did sell Brancato drugs. Halgat refused the $50, telling Brancato, “Don’t worry about it,. You paid for my dinner and you can just get me on the back end.”

Later that evening, Brancato discussed with his ATF supervisors how he could implicate Halgat by lying. Also, he forgot to turn off his body microphone.

“You know what,” Brancato thought out loud. “I may do this is what I’m thinking. Like as far as I’m concerned fucking Maniak sold me this fucking ounce, bro. I mean, really. Yeah. Well, that’s what I’m thinking. Well, this is what I’m thinking, bro is that on the QP, we do it the same way. Let Maniak…I give Maniac the money, he goes in there, brings it back to me, da, da, da. And then on the next one, I’m like hey, bro, can I just go to him direct and I’ll still give you the money and now I have a sale of QP with him. You know what I’m saying? With Udell, without him, so now, he owns one and then this guy and Maniak own one. Well, alright, so we may need a little bit more. We maybe have to do a little bit more. That’s…which is perfect. Yup.”

During the same recorded telephone conversation, according to filings in the case, Brancato “stated that he would fabricate the portion of his Report of Investigation regarding the operation’s debriefing: Alright, bro. I’m just putting it in the mailbox right now. All right, and then there’s $300 and everything else in there…. Bro, I’m just going to say I’m not going to tell them how. I just did it like last time. I just transferred, yeah. I’m not going to put the whole mailbox thing bro. Fuck it. They don’t need to (know), I mean that’s irrelevant. I just gained…I met you at a disclosed fucking location and gave you the evidence during the debriefing. Fuck it. Just that would muddy the waters up so.”

Because Brancato’s attempted entrapment of Halgat was undeniably corrupt, a federal Magistrate Judge named Cam Ferenbach dismissed the charges against Halgat.


Five months into their trial the eight defendants continue to face life in prison. Half of them haven’t slept in their own beds in years and must come to court in chains. Their lawyers will continue their closing arguments today. Then the prosecution will get the last word before the jurors begin their deliberations.

The rule of thumb is that juries can be expected to deliberate for about a day for every week of testimony. If that holds true, the eight Vagos are a little more than two weeks from learning their fate. But the verdict is likely to come much sooner than that. After being trapped in this trial since last summer the jurors are probably fed up. There is nothing to compel them to spend more time at this than they have to, And it seems likely by now that they all have already made up their minds.

The real question is whether they will all agree. It only takes one dissenter to create a mistrial. And if there is a mistrial the government will undoubtedly come back and try for a conviction again.



10 Responses to “Vagos Racketeering Trial Resumes”

  1. Didn’t run Says:

    Not guilty all counts all defendants

  2. SoCal Says:

    @ RetirdMF… First of all there is no such thing as a speedy trial. The defendants didn’t waive their rights. The prosecution has many ways of delaying a trial by legal means. @ oldskewl… The first group of eight defendants have two attorneys each. Multiple defendants, multiple attorneys. Their legal team is first rate!! Side note to Paladin… Some months ago you made a statement on this website that You and your partner reviewed the tapes from the Nugget Casino and said Jethro did not have a gun. Bullshit!! I’ve seen the tapes and so has everyone in the court. Armchair attorneys. Glad you’re not on the Jury. SoCal

  3. david Says:

    @ Fingal The who’s in control of distribution is a good question. Another is, who controls manufacture? And, who PROFITS by both? Which banks launder the money?

  4. Vince P Says:

    Gasoline, fertilizer, and fire crackers? Bit of a f’ing stretch if you ask me.

  5. david Says:

    The bull-shit courts exist as a money-making tool for those who are above the law, the wealthy who are the ONLY people, who obtain justice. In other words, any and ALL justice for the rich, no justice AT ALL, for anyone else.

    The attorneys are themselves wealthy, and/or work for the wealthy cock-suckers who OWN, the courts. Maybe if the defense attorneys DID file more speedy trial demands, or ANY speedy trial demands, they would not “defend” again due to the wealthy behind the scenes who would, or could, prevent them from obtaining future “cases”. The whole fucking thing is a rigged-show, of bull-shit.

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” — appropriate quote from “The Wizard of Oz”

  6. oldskewl Says:

    I believe one of the reasons are, the club hires an attorney or has one they rountinley call and that attorney represents everyone instead of each individual person having their own attorney. This factor alone means the attorney has more work to do and it wouldn’t fall under a “speedy category”.

    Also, it’s been proven the FEDS lie and have a mountain of fabricated evidence to sift through making it impossible for a single attorney to keep up with the demands of a speedy trial.

    These members are never wealthy per say so in the end the government foots the bill, the lawyers drag it out for years and get paid millions, that’s another reason. Just my take on it.

  7. retiredMF Says:

    Questions for the legal eagles out there — part of what causes these circuses to drag on is that the defendants waive their constitutional right to a speedy trail during, I believe, the arraignment process.


    Would it not be better to demand a speedy trail, upsetting the prosecution and trial calendars and force them to come to the show with what they have rather than give them months or years to prepare, coerce witnesses, and spend huge amounts of time muck-raking?

    Seeing as how, in this case, the primary witness recanted, and the prosecution and judge decided to say fuggit, we’ll prosecute and incarcerate regardless, how could their chances be any worse?

    Why do anything that gives the prosecution the advantage? I know that the defense team will be under the gun in terms building strong defense too, but why do anything, anything at all, to make it easier for the government?

  8. Fingal Says:

    It boils down to this: If the ATF wipes out the Vagos, which started in Southern California in 1965 and the ATF destroys the Mongols which started in Southern California in 1969, then which of the 3 clubs Aging Rebel cited above will be left? Which of the 3 clubs was the only club to have fought in and win the Quebec Biker War over drugs leaving them the only national club in Canada and in control of DISTIBUTION? The Bandidos are the only other American club to have fought over drugs in the biker war; they lost. Why is the ATF using every dirty trick in the book, including assassinations, to cripple the Vagos, Mongols, and Bandidos, all of which border Mexico, our biggest supplier in the $322,000,000,000 yearly drug trade? Who would gain? For sure, dirty cops will have a lifetime supply of donuts.

  9. citizen M.F. Says:

    The difference between Carl and Gary is, Carl is part of the 2% of humanity that is truly dangerously evil. Carl with the full force of government and law behind him has utilized that weight to carry out whatever his twisted, writhing mind pleases. There is no use at pleading to a man like Carl for compassion or pity. He relishes in inflicting pain and misery.

    Jabbers on the other hand is a dumb as a potato. Someone so stupid and without common sense who caused a shit storm so great that death, injuries, lives in ruins, families devastated…………Look at this shit Jabbers. See what you’ve done. The legacy you will leave will haunt your family for generations.

  10. oldskewl Says:

    Rebel, is Brancato’s “hot mic” in the hands of the defendants attorneys and even more important, will that Hot Mic be allowed (or has it been allowed) into evidence for the jury to hear what a fucking scumbag he is?


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