For the last three weeks, Special Agent John Ciccone of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been frantically trying to ferret out every single piece of Mongols Motorcycle Club memorabilia he can find. Even Mongols have been embarrassed to see him like this.
“The little fella is losing it,” one Mongol confided.
First Ciccone stole a box of tee shirts at a Mongols party. Then about a week later he sent Los Angeles County Sheriffs to the home of a former Mongol named Maurcio Montano. Montano has been in a wheelchair for 20 years but he is an ex-Mongol who sympathizes with the club so the Sheriffs tossed his home and confiscated a Mongols clock, a Mongols picture, an ancient Mongols cut, three Mongols tee shirts, two beanies, two bandannas and a Mongols belt buckle.
Then Ciccone shut down the crappy motel in Lancaster where the Mongols had planned to hold their national run. The club made other plans. Ciccone tracked them down, stood outside their new residence and “screamed.”
What Do You Think Ciccone Screamed
Ciccone, according to witnesses, screamed that he had seen “two shirts and a belt buckle” that day and he wanted them. Later, Ciccone was seen breaking into Mongols cars with a lockout tool. He told the Prospects he had a warrant. They asked to see it. He said he lost it.
Maybe Agent Ciccone was speaking metaphorically. Maybe he is more self aware and emotionally evolved than he appears. It is over 100 degrees in Los Angeles these days. Day after day. It was 115 last weekend in Lancaster. Obviously it has been a very long, exhausting investigation for Ciccone.
“This dude seems crazy and doesn’t seem to care about the law,” a Mongol complained.
Something Is Happening Here
All of this hysterical theatricality is part of the governments plan to do something to the Mongols that has never been done to any motorcycle club before. A couple of weeks ago, good citizen John Walsh of the Fox television show America’s Most Wanted explained it this way:
“The ATF did something that’s never been done in the history of outlaw biker gangs. Some biker gangs like the Hells Angels market their tee-shirts and their colors and stuff and if people really knew how you get your colors by doing some of these terrible things they probably wouldn’t buy these products but the ATF is this close (holding fingers an eighth of an inch apart) to owning the Mongols logo and that if you wear a Mongols hat or a cut jacket or if you wear their tee-shirt it will be against the law. I think it’s a really good way to hit them right in the financial belt.”
It might also be just the teensiest bit unconstitutional, too. As a friend of this page named Alexey recently asked. “In Ameriki up this crap with you put?”
The Club Strikes Back
Yesterday the latest incarnation of the Mongols, the Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club Incorporated, filed a motion with the court that “the seizure of personal property bearing one or more of the Club’s (Trade) Marks, in violation of the First Amendment rights of the Club’s members, cease and that property be returned to its owners until such time as the forfeitability of the Club’s Marks and the personal property is finally determined as part of the ancillary proceeding.”
The Mongols current intellectual property lawyer, John W. MacPete of Dallas, goes on to argue that by allowing the seizure of the “personal property of the Club’s members, the Court’s Order is effectively silencing their symbolic speech in violation of the First Amendment.”
And, in a 14 page motion with another dozen pages of attachments, MacPete even, finally, raises the argument that the Mongols have owned their trademarks “Since 1969-1970, well before any of the Defendants were ever members of the Club.”
There is a very strong possibility here, that the Mongols may at last have found the right lawyer. For the first time in months it is no longer a forgone conclusion that the government will successfully seize the Mongols patch.
And, maybe that is what is driving John Ciccone nuts.
And oh, and by the way. If you are in a bar and the fellow in the photo above sits down next to you? Watch what you say.