The big biker drama in Detroit, United States versus Nagi et al., the Highwaymen Trial, just concluded its fifth day and so far the most interesting revelation has been the news that Billy Wadd (pictured above and bragging in the video below) is a rat.
The case began with a sealed indictment in September 2006. As often happens in biker cases the usual suspects were rounded up on charges to be determined later at the government’s leisure. That took about 30 months.
Finally, a superseding indictment filed last year accused 78 men with being members of the Highwaymen “criminal enterprise.” The purposes of that enterprise, “included but were not limited to…enforcing its authority and power by disciplining and punishing members and associates who did not comply with the (club) rules…promoting, protecting, and enhancing the authority, reputation, and standing of the Highwaymen through the use of intimidation, threats, violent acts, and possession of weapons. Maintaining control over Highwaymen territory (turf) through acts of intimidation, threats and violence. Enriching the club and its members through, among other things, the commission of crimes involving theft and the distribution of controlled substances.” And, “protecting the Highwaymen and its members from detection and prosecution by law enforcement.”
What Is A Motorcycle Club
Twenty men were charged with racketeering and six of them are now defending themselves in a trial that should last about six weeks. The case boils down to an argument over the essential nature of the Highwaymen.
In his opening statement last week, Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Graveline said, “The Highwaymen are exactly who they say they are – the evilest bastards on the highway.”
A defense attorney named Henry Scharg described the club as the “Knights of Columbus on wheels.”
The indictment specifically charges that members “combined, conspired, confederated and agreed” to: Rob and attempt to murder a man named Ruben Guzman; to kill a man named Gerald Deese and another man named Doug Burnett; to rob a man named Steve Peet and threaten a man named Anthony Barton; to burn a building in Detroit and kill members of an American Outlaws Association support club named the Black Pistons; to steal “property” from a member of the Liberty Riders Motorcycle Club and a motorcycle in South Carolina; and they combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed with each other to sell “cocaine, anabolic steroids, marijuana, Vicoden, Viagra, Ecstacy, and other controlled substances.” They are all also charged with conspiring to belong to the Highwaymen.
Scharg told the jury that the Highwaymen have hardly “enriched” themselves through crime. According to him the club struggled to pay its bills and the only people who ever became wealthy from their association with the club are the government paid, cooperating witnesses in this case.
On Trial Now
The prosecution describes Leonard “Dad” Moore as the “godfather” of the Highwaymen. According to Graveline, Moore was such a devious criminal that he intentionally avoided holding club office while secretly running the Highwaymen racket.
In the prosecution’s theory of the crime, club National President Joseph “Little Joe” Whiting was Moore’s right hand man. Graveline accuses Whiting of maintaining an enemies list of “bad peoples.”
Aref “Steve” Nagi, who has already spent years behind bars in this case, Michael “Cocoa” Cicchetti, Gary “Junior” Ball and former club President Anthony “Mad Anthony” Clark are also accused of being part of the same conspiracy.
A defendant named Robert “Bobby” Burton is charged in the case with being a violent and successful cocaine dealer and the defense lawyers agree that he was. So far Burton has been paid at least $11,000 by the government for his cooperation.
Former club National President Gerald “Byrd” Peters has been paid $20,000 for his cooperation in the case. Another former club officer named Philip “Jocko” McDonald has been paid $10,000 for his assistance. And a former member named Doug Burnett whose cooperation was integral to prosecuting the case has been paid some amount more than $70,000 so far.
Also vital to the prosecution of this case as well as cases against the AOA and the Devils Diciples is former Devil’s Diciples club officer William “Billy Wadd” Smith.
Celebrity Outlaw Author
Smith may sound familiar because he appeared in an episode of Gangland earlier this year. He has also been interviewed on WDIV in Detroit and on Fox Across America and he has an autobiography to sell titled You Know Who I Am. Smith’s web site explains that, “while Wadd’s blog and MySpace page are available, due to security reasons, no personal or identifying information will be shared on these sites.” News directors are advised to, “arrange an interview with Billy Wadd (by contacting) us at [email protected]
Cases against these three Detroit area motorcycle clubs started when Smith allowed Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to electronically surveil his bar, the Copa Lounge. “Everybody hung out there,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Marion has bragged.
Because Smith owned the bar, ATF Agents could record conversation without a court order anytime Smith was present. None of those recordings has ever been released into the public record.
In a ruling in the Highwaymen case last month, Judge Nancy G. Edmunds wrote that “Numerous conversations about gun and drug deals were taped…. Smith dealt primarily with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, but his friendships extended to members of other clubs as well. Smith provided information on various members of these clubs and participated in controlled purchases of narcotics and firearms.”
The extent to which that surveillance will figure in the Highwaymen case is still an official secret.