Vagos Win Feds Lose…Again

May 29, 2020

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Vagos Win Feds Lose...Again

Eleven years after a miscarriage of justice called “Operation Pure Luck” began, almost seven years after federal, state and local politicians announced his indictment for distribution of drugs, The Aging Rebel has learned that the Department of Justice has decided to end the prosecution of a Vago named Jeremy “Maniak” Halgat.

“Operation Pure Luck” was a typically sloppy, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation of motorcycle clubs in Las Vegas that led to the indictment of 32 people allegedly associated with five motorcycle clubs: The Vagos, Bandidos, Green Machine, Wicked Riderz and the Chosen Few.

Initially Halgat was indicted in two federal cases titled USA v. Wickham et al. and USA v. Halgat et al.

The two federal cases were brought by the same prosecutors using the same tainted evidence to provide the government lawyers with a second chance to convict Halgat if they lost the first case. Halgat, who had no criminal record, was recorded telling a self-evidently corrupt ATF Tacital Field Officer named Agustino Brancato that he wasn’t going to sell the TFO drugs. He was a target of a federal sting because he was a chapter officer in the Vagos and he had a really colorful nickname.

Prosecutors Claimed

In 2014 prosecutors claimed: “The purpose of TFO Brancato’s infiltration into the Vagos was to determine: (1) if the Vagos OMG was a criminal enterprise, and (2) if its members were engaging in criminal activity.” Their statement was a lie of omission. Brancato was able to determine after a couple of months that the Vagos is not the criminal organization it is portrayed to be at government press conferences and on reality television. Then Brancato spent the next two years trying to find a Vago who might be convinced by tears, sentimentality or cold hard cash, to briefly engage “in criminal activity” beyond the usual fist fights and traffic violations.

As is usual in federal biker cases, exculpatory evidence was accidentally destroyed or misplaced. In one recording that survived, Brancato told his case agent, “This is what I’m thinking…. Like as far as I’m concerned fucking Maniac (Halgat) 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 Maniac…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 Maniac owns 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.”

Dismissal

In 2014, a federal judge named Cam Ferenbach dismissed the charges against Halgat. The judge wrote, “The government’s investigation deployed techniques that generated a wholly new crime for the sake of pressing criminal charges against Halgat,”

But the government appealed on a technicality, on the grounds that “The magistrate judge (Ferenbach) improperly made a credibility determination as to TFO Brancato without holding a credibility hearing,” An appeals court also ruled that the numerous dirty tricks played on Ha;gat did not rise to the level of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Eventually the allegations against Halgat were folded into a Racketeering case titled United States versus Palafox et. al. In February, a Las Vegas jury found eight Vagos, Pastor Fausto Palafox, Albert Lopez, Albert Benjamin Perez, James Patrick Gillespie, Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, Bradley Michael Campos, Cesar Vaquera Morales and Diego Chavez Garcia innocent of all charges after a five month trial. The trial was a fiasco. The cases against the defendants were almost entirely fabricated.

That is American justice now. Defendants are presumed to be guilty and treated accordingly – put through a years-long, sometimes decades-long, ordeal – until they can prove they are innocent of something some cop invented. That is what Jeremy Halgat’s life has been like for the last 11 years.

Louis Brandeis, a Supreme Court Justice who died in 1941, once called the right to be let alone ‘the most basic human right.” Jeremy Halgat has been denied that right since 2009. Maybe the government will leave him alone now.

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13 Responses to “Vagos Win Feds Lose…Again”

  1. Rebel Says:

    Dear USMCJ,

    Racketeering murder is 20 to life. Some guys cooperate. Some don’t. Some guys get convicted of four crimes for the same act.

    Rebel

  2. USMC_J Says:

    Just curioius, Rebel, I always enjoyed your blog and website. Iv read a lot about these cases and I was curious what kind of time do these guys get when charged with murder with a gang enhancement? I read WIlliam Queens book and he talks about the Mongol Adrian “Panhead” Guiterriez going down for murder, how much time did they give that guy?

    I have been through the legal system several times and absolutely HATE their tactics and agree with much of what you say.

    Keep writing, brother.

  3. commonsense Says:

    To Oldskewl I get your point on RICO . I do remember on live TV watching the Koreans hold their own. in 1992. The cops pulled them over and the Koreans were in a van and told the cops they were going to protect their store and it was game on let them go. You can watch them protecting their own on youtube……..

  4. Grumpy Says:

    For the record, there is no such thing as an “ATF Tactical Field Officer”. The acronym “TFO” stands for Task Force Officer, a state, county or local cop who is assigned to an ATF-run task force. Government wonks do love them a good TLA (three-letter acronym).

    I’m not at all surprised that a jury has rejected criminal cases wherein there is no victim and no actual crime is ever committed, and the only criminal act is a fictional one dreamed up by the government to induce a target to agree to participate in return for money. Though the feds smugly think this is a clever and proactive way to fight crime, it actually seems rather unfair and entrapping to a normal person… even to some of us abnormal people.

    Lastly: I told a buddy of mine you think Maniak is a “colorful nickname”. Taintsniffer thought that was ridiculous. Just because it’s misspelled doesn’t make it colorful.

  5. jrino Says:

    Blind squirrel finds eggcorn. The government will not stop they have the $$$ God bless the Green machine.

  6. Pete Steinis Says:

    Governments don’t worry about convictions as much as costing the accused as much as possible. That’s a sentence in itself.

  7. rocco151 Says:

    Oldskewl + 1

    I think it’s ironic that the men who often have their clubhouses in areas where people of color live and never have a problem with their neighbors are seen as thugs and the “looters” who are wrecking businesses large and small all over the country and committing heinous violent crimes are looked upon as heroes !

  8. oldskewl Says:

    @ Oregon Moose.
    I was asked a similar question just last night. “why doesn’t your club go to these businesses patched up and protect them from being looted, after all you do so much good for the community when it comes to toy runs and fundraisers”

    The answer is simple, we’ve lived with the FEDS up our ass for decades, if we were to do what you’re asking and we tuned up some protestors or even killed a few in self defense of property or life we’d be considered the ‘outlaw gang” while the rioters and looters would be considered ‘peaceful protestors”.
    Even worse the police would lock us all up for being criminals by just being there.

    I’m sick and tired of constantly being watched, profiled and fucked with by these cocksuckers who now take a knee upon command of domestic terrorist (I mean, peaceful protestors). I can only imagine how fast a club would be in the middle of a RICO act if we showed our face or tried to help out during this BS.

    BR,
    OS

  9. Oregon Moose Says:

    It’s outstanding news that another green brother can get back to putting his life back together after a long an unrighteous prosecution has finally ended.

    Someone asked me just yesterday what I thought about all of the protests and rioting going on these days. My response was simple – bikers have known for 50+ years that the cops are out of control, corrupt, and completely power hungry. When police at any level (local, state, federal) stop policing for the sake of unbiased justice and instead are policing for profit, corruption is inevitable. With corruption comes abuse of power. As far as I’m concerned, BLM/Antifa/etc. – it’s not that they are philosophically wrong, they’re just 50+ years late to the party. Police corruption and abuse of power is just a daily fact of life unfortunately.

  10. Downtown Says:

    Seem’s like anymore the punishment comes before being found guilty. They arrest you with high bail being set, they no doubt cost you your job and in many cases your family, legal fees eat up your finances, your name and face is splashed all over the news ruining your good name and it drags on for years. Then one day they decide what the hell lets drop the whole thing and move on to our next victim. The damage has been done. They punished you and never had to worry about a guilty verdict.

  11. USMC_Grim Says:

    I may be wrong but this is the last 3 government cases that have collapsed? Glad they have all of our money available to Harass clubs.

  12. Freebird Says:

    If we added up all the billable hours the govt spent on this what would that figure look like

    It has to be staggering…..

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