Last week the Arizona Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (G.II.T.E.M. – pronounced Git-em) finally announced why it had been harassing bikers in Kingman, Arizona for the last six months. And, the Kingman Police Chief suggested there may be more harassment to come.
The Gang Task Force claims it was only trying squash a ongoing “power struggle” between the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and the Vagos Motorcycle Club. Last August a Kingman police spokesman named Bob Fisk told the Kingman Daily Miner “that bikers aren’t particularly a problem in Kingman, but he’s worried that if police aren’t on top of the situation, the problems with riders in Bullhead City could spread to Kingman.”
The “problems with riders in Bullhead City” was a fight June 11 at Lazy Harry’s Sunshine Saloon in Bullhead City. According to police, five Hells Angels and two Desert Road Riders attacked two Vagos. Last week a Gang Task Force spokesman named Ernie Severson explained that the fight put about a hundred other customers in the bar “at risk.”
“Two females climbed over a railing and contemplated jumping down 20 to 30 feet to get away, if that tells you what it was like,” Severson said.
Sparing No Expense
After a six-month-long investigation by the Gang Task Force, Coconino, Yavapai and Mohave County Sheriffs and Kingman, Flagstaff, Lake Havasu and Bullhead City Police the fight at Lazy Harry’s was legally redefined and seven men were arrested last Wednesday for felony riot. Search warrants executed at the time of the arrests indicate the seven men may also be charged with “participation in a criminal street gang.” Police called the raids “Operation Quiet Riot.”
The men arrested last week were: George Edward “Joby” Walters of Douglas, Arizona; Rudolfo John “Rudy” Martinez and Gerald Roy Smith of Rimrock, Arizona; Dale Leroy Hormuth and James “Stoney” Snider of Kingman; Stephen Michael Helland of Golden Valley, Arizona; and Clifford Daniel “Dan Da Man” Balentine of Bullhead City. Balentine is alleged to be a member of the Devils Disciples. Snider has been identified as a member of the Desert Road Riders. According to police, the other men are Hells Angels.
An eighth man, John Ross Pemberton of Prescott Valley, was arrested and released for possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription. Pemberton’s home was also searched for evidence of “criminal street gang activity.” Pemberton is reportedly a member of the Arizona Nomads of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Moral Equivalent Of War
All eight “raids” were effected in the blackest hour before dawn by police dressed like soldiers. Video released by the Arizona Department of Public Safety shows the cops arriving in multiple armored vehicles. All of the arresting officers wore body armor, Fritz helmets, fanny packs, canteens, and appeared to carry a basic load of approximately 900 rounds each.
After the raids, Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries warned that Operation Quiet Riot did not necessarily mark the end of harassment of bikers by police. DeVries said the police harassment was justified because “members of the public” were being harassed and intimidated by bikers.
Last week, Bullhead City Police Chief Rodney Head said his intelligence indicates that there are about 20 Vagos and about six Hells Angels in Mohave County, Arizona.