The case against the Mongols Motorcycle Club filed in October 2008, titled U.S. versus Cavazos et al., continues.
As of Christmas 2011, the cases against six of the original 79 defendants remain open. Those defendants are Hector Enrique Gonzalez, Arthur Roseli, Jr., Anthony Mark Tinoco, Peter Soto, Horacio Ponce and Manuel Melgoza. Another defendant, Jose Garcia, was sentenced en camera on December 2.
An en camera court proceeding is a court session that is held “in a closet” out of sight of the public. Closed sentencings sometimes indicate that the accused man has been cooperating with prosecutors but not necessarily. In some cases the Department of Justice has used en camera sentencings as a disinformation technique.
The defendant for whom the case was named, Ruben Doc Cavazos, was sentenced en camera in September to 14 years imprisonment. The Aging Rebel has been told that Doc Cavazos did not substantially cooperate with prosecutors.
The last 15 filings in Cavazos have all been sealed.
Jose Garcia was the President of the Mongols Cypress Park chapter at the time three agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives patched into the club. The three undercover agents who joined that chapter were Gregory “Russo” Giaoni, Paul “Painter” D’Angelo and Darrin “Dirty Dan” Kozlowski. Consequently, Garcia is mentioned numerous times in the indictment.
One allegation made in the indictment was that: “On December 2, 2006, in Riverside, California, defendant J. Garcia told undercover law enforcement officers that J. Garcia would be responsible for their membership in the Mongols and ensuring that they were not undercover law enforcement officers.”
Another was: “On December 15, 2006, in Los Angeles, California, defendant J. Garcia advised three undercover law enforcement officers who were posing as potential Mongols members that Mongols rules required them to obtain permission from J. Garcia as their chapter president before they trafficked in narcotics with Mongols members, and J. Garcia advised that he would inform Cavazos about their narcotics transactions.”
The worst of the allegations against Garcia was: “On February 3, 2007, defendant J. Garcia met with undercover law enforcement officers posing as members of an organized criminal enterprise in Chicago, Illinois, and told them that the Mongols organization is a criminal gang whose members pay ‘dues’ every month to finance the operation of the organization, including hiring lawyers to represent members charged with the crimes of the organization.”
The last allegation, if proven or admitted to by Garcia, could be particularly troublesome in future racketeering cases against the Mongols Motorcycle Club or any of its members.
For example, a Mongol named Christopher “Stoney” Ablett is charged with racketeering in a trial scheduled to begin January 23, 2012. Ablett is specifically charged with murdering Hells Angels Motorcycle Club San Francisco charter President Mark “Papa” Guardado in September 2008. The federal government alleges that Ablett committed the murder on behalf of the “Mongols criminal enterprise.” Before prosecutors in that case can prove that Ablett was motivated to serve the “Mongols criminal enterprise,” they must establish that a “Mongols criminal enterprise” existed when Guardado died.
All admissions that such a criminal enterprise existed are potentially damaging to Ablett’s defense. Ablett’s attorneys, Richard Mazer and Michael N. Burt, give every indication that they intend to vigorously dispute the racketeering allegation. John Ciccone, who was a case agent in at least two ATF investigations of the Mongols, will provide “expert” testimony that the Mongols Motorcycle Club was a criminal enterprise.
From Plea To Sentencing
Any hypothetical cooperation by Jose Garcia could also damage Ablett’s defense.
Garcia pled guilty to racketeering on October 23, 2009. He pled guilty to a base level 19 offense with three points deducted for acceptance of responsibility. Under current sentencing guidelines, he faced a maximum sentence of 57 months imprisonment and a probable sentence of 30 months.
In that plea and sentencing agreement, Garcia admitted that he “knowingly and intentionally collected funds from other Mongols members in order to support the criminal activity of the Mongols organization. For example, on November 18, 2007, defendant Garcia advised an undercover law enforcement officer that defendant Garcia believed was a member of the Mongols gang that the Mongols would be collecting funds to pay for an attorney to represent co-defendant and Mongols gang member Denis Maldonado in connection with the April 8, 2007 shooting at the Nicola’s bar.”
The 26-month pause between Garcia’s plea agreement and his sentencing is unusual.