Black Rain Report 430

March 22, 2010

All Posts, News

A memorable example of how low federal police will limbo in order to portray motorcycle clubs as rackets is the great, multi-key, Las Vegas Mongols cocaine deal.

One of the prosecutors in the Mongols case, Reema M. El-Amamy, has actually bragged that this entrapment was “street theater;” as if that very curious phrase explains anything. What El-Amamy’s choice of words seems to show is that there is an ever finer line between the business of putting people in the penitentiary and the business of reality TV.

One of the victims of the Vegas charade, a man named Harry Reynolds, is still trying to get the charges against him thrown out. Reynolds is mentioned fifteen times in the 177 page racketeering indictment that was unsealed in October 2008 but he was actually only accused of Overt Act 224 which alleges:

“On September 18, 2007, in San Bernardino, California, defendants R. Lozano, Reynolds and I. Padilla and an unindicted co-conspirator armed themselves with firearms and arranged to purchase 33 kilograms of cocaine with an undercover law enforcement officer and a confidential government informant.” (Don’t even try to make sense of how Las Vegas came to be a neighborhood in San Bernardino.)

If it were to break bad for Reynolds he could face up to 20 years in prison for this. Last week his attorney, Thomas W. Kielty, filed a motion to dismiss his indictment. And a couple of the documents Kielty managed to get into the public record with this motion are interesting.

William Ramirez

One document is the transcript of the sentencing of William Ramirez. Ramirez was caught in the same sort of “staged phony transaction” that entrapped Reynolds. Ramirez’ stood and witnessed a cop make a deal with another cop for 20 kilos of cocaine.

And the phrase “staged phony transaction” was uttered by Judge Otis D. Wright as he explained why he was rejecting a government recommendation that Ramirez be sentenced to 63 months in prison. Judge Wright went on to say that ATF street theater “simply offends me. I don’t think it is fair. I don’t think this is what this system is about. And it is not going to happen. I am not going to impose a guideline sentence under these circumstances.”

Judge Wright sentenced Ramirez to five years probation and fined him $100. Ramirez is appealing that sentence.


Another interesting document brought out of the shadows by Reynolds’ motion is the actual Report of Investigation of the  “staged narcotics transaction” in a hotel room at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas. The report is attributed to ATF Special Agent John Carr (in the photo above) but seems to have actually been written by Special Agent John Ciccone. Ciccone and Los Angeles Group Supervisor Eric Harden signed the report and the phrase “staged narcotics transaction” is probably Ciccone’s.

The deal involved 33 kilos of real cocaine and the actual Mongols present were outnumbered by ATF employees four to three.

Besides Carr, who patched into the club as “Hollywood,” a paid informant known to the club as Kaos also helped set up the manufactured crime. Kaos, is 39-year-old Steven Veltus of Racine, Wisconsin. He has been charged with drug related crimes four times since 1996 and he was apparently recruited as an informant by another ATF Agent who worked undercover in this Mongols case.

Carr asked the three Mongols, allegedly his club brothers, to protect him during the transaction. Reynolds, who was President of the Las Vegas chapter, had argued with both Veltus and Carr about their criminality contaminating the brotherhood of his club. At the time of the “staged deal,” Reynolds was unemployed and needed the money. Carr pretended to have $528,000 in a suitcase.

The drug dealers were played by two Task Force Officers, which is a term the ATF uses to describe deputized cops. One of them, Tino Brancato, is a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy. The other “drug dealer” was a local Las Vegas cop named Jake Hickman. Everything that happened in three hotel rooms that night was electronically recorded by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

What Does It Mean To Turn Your Back

The video shows Carr paying Padilla and Reynolds $1,000 each after the deal was done. Lozano was paid with two cases of cigarettes. Much has been made of the premeditation the Mongols showed when they took part in this deal. For example, that they “wore” bullet proof vests. But those vests were provided by Carr who asked the Mongols to wear them.

The indictment also specifically charges that the three Mongols “armed themselves.” But, the video records Carr asking, “Who needs a gun?” Carr brought enough guns for everybody.

That night, Harry Reynolds was caught between the temptation of easy money and the extravagant criminality of two men he was honor bound to treat as brothers. When Carr offered Reynolds a gun Reynolds just turned his back. It is an ambiguous gesture. In the ROI, Ciccone wrote that Reynolds’ gesture “implied he (Reynolds) had (brought) his (own gun.)” Some men might take turning one’s back to mean something else.

On details like these depend the depths of some men’s misfortune and the success of other men’s careers.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

33 Responses to “Black Rain Report 430”

  1. SINISTER Says:


  2. Rebel Says:

    Dear Nice Boots,

    And I was glad to meet you, too. I wish it could have been under less annoying circumstances. I really mean that. I am not positive, but I believe my boots scared Brunwin. I’ll talk to you again soon.

    your pal,

  3. nice boots Says:

    hey thanks rebel met today i appreciate your support i introduced myself to you today along with other individuals cant thank you enough by the way like your boots

  4. pearl Says:

    Thanks Azul(Boyle Heights)!Sincerely :( Pearl

  5. Mario "Orange County" Says:

    FIRST OF ALL,I WANT TO SEND MY LOVE AND RESPECT TO FACE AND HIS FAMILY. EVER SINCE I’VE MET THE MAN I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN HIM TO BE A GREAT BROTHER, FRIEND, FATHER AND PATRIOT. The FED’s having nothing better to do than set-up family men and ruin their lives? Is that the future of America??? Its disgusting knowing they (the feds) will do anything corrupt to justify their paychecks. Hope the judge can see through the agents pile of filth and see their true colors.
    Stay strong FACE Love you your Brother in Santa Ana

  6. Bud Says:

    This looks pretty simple to understand to me

  7. Chainsaw Says:

    A “gangsta” attempted a carjack here in Houston a few days ago. The father attempted to get his family out of the car but the hood rat decided to open up with his AK-47. He killed a 3 year old girl in her car seat and wounded her young brother.

    Dear Mr. ATF agent – where were you? There are people actually murdering people with guns and you guys chose to spend mountains of my tax dollars to bust guys who are “willing to be present during someone else’s drug deal”. Are you kidding me?

    To invite someone to a staged drug deal, give them guns, then arrest them for having guns at a drug deal is the definition of entrapment as far as I am concerned. If you can’t find any real crimes being committed by a motorcycle club or its members, then you need to re-assign your resources and move on. Not make up a crime.

  8. mike Says:

    I’ve known Harry for years. I consider him a best friend along with his wife and seeing him and his family go through with what they have pisses me off. All because some assholes couldn’t get a crime the legit way so they created their own. PATHETIC!!! Harry doesn’t deserve this. He’s a great husband and father who works hard to take care of his family and he’s one of the nicest and most respectfull people you’ll meet. Are the feds so bad at their job that their trying to make an assumption = fact? How the hell can they say he was armed when they didn’t see him with a gun? Oh right, they “think” he had one so that must mean it’s true. This shit just isn’t right.

  9. Mongols South Bay Supporter Says:

    Are these assholes kidding me with their bullshit?!!!! Face is a family man accused of some bogus accusations by some fuckin’ punks! Read the story and make your own opinion. I am fortunate enough to be a friend of Face and his family and it’s a sad day at the fed office when they have to narrow it down to him because they couldn’t get shit otherwise! My prayers and thoughts are with you bro and your family, keep your chin up, we will see you soon. L&R CG

  10. azul Says:

    dear Pearl and Kelly:

    love, respect and prayers to you and your families during this difficult time

    boyle heights

  11. kelly Says:

    I would like to thank everyone for their support of Harry.I am Harry’s sister and cannot believe what is happening. I would like everyone to know that my brother is not perfect but he is a good person. He may not always make the best choices but he does make them from the heart. For one mistake he may have to pay for the rest of his life. I do not understand how the law can do this. I have friends that are married to cops and because of this experience I cannot look at them the same. I use to have faith in our system but now I cant even tell my children to go to a cop if they are ever in trouble. When they were setting these guys up did they think what they would do to families? Harry has 3 children that will never trust the system again. They will not have their dad around because cops can lie and get away with it. They will not trust people that they thought were their friends because thats what Kaos was to their dad. He was in our house for holidays and family get togethers all the while trying to set my brother up because he is a Mongol. All the while he is the dirt bag drug dealer that has more things on his record then my brother will ever have. (Harry has 0 record) Did anyone ever check on his family while he was here “undercover” because let me tell you he was not a model citizen or a good father. I think they call that child abuse. Again Harry is not perfect but think about all the friends you would help and remember that the goverment lies. I want my brother to stand up and not take this but if he does he could go to jail 10 to life so what do we do? This is why the goverment can get these guys to take a plea. This is so wrong. The prosicution gets a promotion and my brother and the family get F–ked. Please say a prayer for him. I hope the new judge has the backbone to set this right and send a message that the police can be held accountable to. Sorry Im rambling I am s pissed.

  12. DocB Says:

    Dear Bud
    Im with you man, makes no sense that the pigs can put a gun in your hand then arrest you for having it. Like this case…3 pigs stage a phony dope deal (with real dope) you bikers stand over there and watch,and btw, youre under arrest even though were the ones breaking the law because youre in the room where you wouldnt be if we didnt say we needed you here.

    you nailed it man
    Like Sled tramp says……………. “ma haid hurts”

  13. Bud Says:


    This just goes to show how corrupt the government and leo’s are.
    1) the cocaine they had, howd they get it? did they have it from a confiscation or did they manufacture it themselves for the purpose of settin people up (wouldnt surprise me if it was the latter)
    2)just by having it makes THEM guilty of possession unless it was evidence in another case, in which case would make it illegal for them to use as a set up for this case
    3) how it got far enough to get indictments without someone saying that it would be entrapment makes me wonder how deep their pockets are and whos been paid off to let it get to this point

    Sled Tramp,
    Im with you man, makes no sense that the pigs can put a gun in your hand then arrest you for having it. Like this case…3 pigs stage a phony dope deal (with real dope) you bikers stand over there and watch,and btw, youre under arrest even though were the ones breaking the law because youre in the room where you wouldnt be if we didnt say we needed you here.

    Youre right, he doesnt deserve this and neither does his family


  14. pearl Says:

    Rebel, just wanted 2 let you know that Harry Reynolds is my Brother inlaw who i love very dearly an thank’s for putting this info for other’s to read. Alot of people judge by appearance or false info. I think it’s so unfair what my Big Brother Harry an my family are having 2 go thru an will have 2 continue on going thru just becuase of false charges! Anyone who truely know’s Harry can say that he’s a great,loving & hard working family man! He does’nt deserve any of this!

  15. public enemy #1 Says:

    Lazano and padilla both took plea bargins. Reynolds is backed into a corner he goes to trial and if he loses he gets min 10 years. Not much to think about especially when he is set up, It really makes me wounder who is the good guy and who is the bad guy here, these feds let steve “kaos” veltus bring his kids around these so called killers,murders, and drug dealers. If these were such terrible men than the kids were in a bad situation. so the life of the kids dont matter to the feds as long as they can set people up. these cpos can prade around all they want and act like the good guys but if a family was stuck on the side of the road a cop wouldnt stop but i will tell you a biker will. best wishes to the Mongols MC and well for the others, well you know……. carma is a muther fucker

  16. Life89 Says:

    Have defendants R. Lozano, and I. Padilla been sentenced?

  17. sled tramp Says:

    Years ago, cases with proven entrapment were usually thrown out.The idea that NOBODY seems to think it illegal to pursue cases where L.E.O’s give out weapons so they have a weapons charge,provide the drugs for a “drug Sale” or the like is stunning.
    Kind of like stealing a car,driving along,seeing a possible mark,offering them a ride and then driving to the police station to arrest them for auto theft.I mean, they WERE in the car….
    Maybe I fell off my sled too many times but…

  18. Rebel Says:

    Dear Bud,

    As it turns out there was cocaine. Carr got a court order and checked out 33 kilos of real, live actual cocaine for this deal. There was no real money though.

    I keep getting stuck on the image I have in my head of an ATF Agent bopping around Vegas with 75 pounds of old school in a bag. No wonder these guys love their jobs so much. It is like they are the heroes of their own movie. I will tell you man, when this comes out as a movie in about four years, that is going to be the opening scene. To Live And Die In Las Vegas. John Hollywood Carr, as played by Colin Farrell, prancing around Vegas, at night, with 33 keys of cocaine in a bag on his way to meet some outlaw biker cliches. I always figured it would be Koz who would get the big book deal. Or Ciccone. Now I think it is going to be Carr. Psychopathic, gerry-curled, predatory mother-fucker John Hollywood Carr.

    You are right that this was an entrapment. Most of this case was entrapment. As entrapments go, these entrapments were really well contrived to take advantage of every little legal technicality. Ciccone really thought out all the details. Really predatory, really sinister, really evil, totally legal investigation. The longer I look at this case, the more documents come into the public record, the more details I notice, the more I see how carefully contrived this whole case was.

    Ciccone has consistently been about two years ahead of the defense attorneys on this case. Ciccone was way ahead of me. Maybe he still is. More than a year after the Mongols indictment I started thinking about indicia warrants and then it clicked! That’s why they sought civil forfeiture of the Mongols marks! Even if the civil forfeiture did not stick, they still had a window of opportunity during which the ATF could continue to serve these de facto indicia warrants. All they needed for probable cause was a list of names. Very fucking clever these fucking guys. I did not think I was underestimating them but I was.

    The closest thing to Operation Black Rain that I have seen is the Dave Burgess case which just pushed the absolute limits of every possible legal technicality to turn a routine traffic stop for an expired trailer tag into a fifteen year stretch in the penitentiary.

    I’ll tell you man, it shakes my faith in human nature. I am very glad I have raised my children to always hate and fear the police.

    your pal,

  19. Detroit Dutch Says:

    We got way too many Fucking COPS & FED’s on the pay roll!

    They make up this shit to justify their high numbers (as in Hemet, Ca)

    Goes to what I’ve been saying all along, guys who take these jobs are fucking cowards who couldn’t make it in the military and “couldn’t actually protect and serve us overseas”

    So what do they wind up doing?

    Become part of the blue gang that has infested us from coast to coast.

    These retards wouldn’t last 2 seconds in a real combat situation against an armed insurgent so they justify their manhood by shooting American Civilians and making up false charges to fill our prisons.


    I shout again “Remember Sgt Hale?”

    Ace, when are you going to do a piece on Sgt Hale?



  21. Damon Says:

    “I don’t think it is fair. I don’t think this is what this system is about.”

    That about says it, in my view. I expect the State to help me protect me and mine from those who would do us harm. This falls a really fucking long, sad way short of that.

  22. GUSTO Says:

    incriminating fuck bastard cops!!fuckem all

  23. Bud Says:


    Thanks for the clarification, but it still sounds like bullshit to me.
    How can someone be charged with providing security, armed or otherwise during a cocaine deal when there WAS NO COCAINE? Maybe Im splittin hairs but looks to me like this bust is based on what he would have done in this situation, not what actually happened. To me it would be the same as if someone were to drive through a stop sign without stopping and be arrested under the pretense that ” if a person was in that crosswalk you would have killed them so your being arrested for vehicular manslaughter” because obviously you would have done that under the circumstances.

    Maybe Im just too simple minded to understand the complexities of the way dirty, rotten rat fuck snitches think. Time for a beer.

    Thanks Rebel for all you do here,


  24. ghost1 Says:

    sounds like a tv show

  25. azul Says:


  26. Rebel Says:

    Dear Bud,

    The idea of the charge is that the men who provided security for the bogus drug deal were armed. Being armed and providing security during a 33 kilo cocaine deal is, technically, a federal crime. Especially, when the idea of the indictment is to show a pattern of and familiarity with criminal activity. If he wasn’t armed, then Reynolds was just standing there watching the drama. That’s this whole case. Reynolds says he wasn’t armed. Carr and Kaos say he must have been. A grand jury indicted him for being armed. That is the whole beef. When the indictment is carefully worded, you can get 20 if you are armed and walk if you are not.

    The longer I look at the Mongols case the more of it looks like a set-up. I do not know John Ciccone but my impression of him is that he is very bright and he does not have a doubt in his head that he is right. He has been trying to get the Mongols for a long time and he got smarter as he went along. When you look at, for example, the Pagans case after looking at the Mongols case you can see how cleverly the Mongols case was contrived. The investigators in the Pagans case just aren’t even in the same league. It is all in the details. Ciccone and Eric Harden obviously pay attention to details. One of those details is working into the record that two witnesses, one of them an expert witness, believed that Reynolds was armed. The argument over whether Reynolds is guilty or innocent is the argument over that detail.

    Whether he is guilty or innocent, Reynolds has already been punished, by the way. This long, slow motion prosecution is a punishment.


  27. Suave Says:

    When is this John Ciccone guy going to give up with his BS

  28. Bud Says:


    After reading your article “A Conversation”, I pulled up the indictment about this on the net. I dont recall any weapons charges against Reynolds, just the drug charge and the rico crap.
    In Nevada its legal to carry a concealed firearm with the proper permits. Since I dont recall any weapons charges I think its safe to say that the reason no charges were made of this is because Reynolds possesses the necessary permits or he was simply never charged.If thats the case then whats the crime here? NOT accepting to carry a weapon that was probably confiscated in another bust somewhere so they he could be charged with possession of a stolen gun that was possibly used in a crime that he could be charged with as well?
    Where I come from, you turn your back on someone in that case usually means “Fuck you”


  29. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Rebel:

    Thank you for this piece. I was going to inquire about Harry Reynolds but for whatever reason felt sort of odd asking about anyone specific. I am especially moved by his situation. Based on the transcripts you’ve quoted, and the details you provide here, it seems that he has so clearly tried the hardest of anyone to do right at every step of the way,and to act in a principled manner, yet his repayment has been to be at the greatest risk of the harshest penalties.

    Judge Wright, for his flaws (as described in your earlier stories), seems to have zeroed in on the essence of all that is wrong here.


  30. Rock Says:

    I guess there a few judges left that see through this “reality tv style” law enforcement. It seems to be much easier for them to “make crime” rather than to investigate and prosecute real criminal acts.

    I just found this site a week or so ago while doing some research on everybody’s favorite federal agency. It seems that said agency used the name of our local magazine, Road Rash (of which I’m a partner and managing editor) as the witty title of their operation against our local 1%er club. Not cool.

    I appreciate all the info found here, the comments, and the excellent writing of Rebel. Thanks for a great site.


  31. RVN69 Says:

    Apologies for my spelling,
    his, not is
    know, not no
    opinion not opinios

  32. RVN69 Says:

    I guess I can no longer be suprised at the depths to which the feds will stoop in order to manufacture charges against anyone they think does not deserve the protection of the constitution. AZUL is right, we all know who the real criminals are, Mr Reynolds has people he thinks are brothers back, even though he has made is disapproval of their actions evident ( I know what it means if I turn my back on someone!) and now he faces time for being a standup guy, something the ATF would no nothing about!! I hope he gets a judge with the same opinios of the feds tactics as Mr Ramirez got.
    Repect to all that have earned it (Leaves you out ATF/FBI)
    Si vis Pacem, Parabellum.

  33. azul Says:

    thanks again rebel for shedding some more light on this bad situation–i’m grateful that you’re exposing this garbage for what it is. my admiration, support and prayers go out to Mr. Reynolds–a man’s man who looked out for his brothers honorably, and got screwed for it.
    what can we expect when the feds used dishonorable tactics and shitbag snitches to carry out this injustice…we all know who the real criminals are.

Leave a Reply