The strange case of well known and widely respected Hells Angel George Christie (photo above) staggers on. Christie, the former President of the Ventura charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, is accused of telling unnamed co-conspirators to burn down two tattoo parlors in Ventura.
Christie owns a Ventura tattoo shop named “The Ink House.” The firebombed businesses are named “Scratch the Surface” and “Twisted Ink.” The bombings took place on July 6, 2007. Not even the government alleges that Christie was there.
Christie was originally indicted on July 29, 2011. A superseding indictment was filed against Christie and four alleged co-conspirators on December 20, 2011 but was not entered into the public record until December 29. Christie’s alleged co-conspirators are Kyle Douglas Gilbertson, Benito Hurtado, Brian Andrew Russell and Richard Reeves Russell, III.
The five men are still all scheduled to stand trial January 31, 2012 before Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen in Room 790 of the Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Christie remains under house arrest while awaiting the opportunity to clear his good name. In November, Judge Nguyen modified the conditions of Christie’s confinement to allow him to drive his eight-year-old son to and from school.
At the same time, Nguyen refused to allow Christie to return to work at The Ink House. Christie argued through his attorney that the shop “is suffering financially and losing business due to mismanagement and lack of support by its current employees. Business is down approximately 50 percent. The current employees are young and without supervision. They assume no responsibility and have left the facility unattended with the door open.”
Prosecutors replied that, “Allowing defendant to return to The Ink House would be tantamount to permitting a Ponzi schemer to manage the very funds he embezzled” and “resume control of a business that served as the impetus for two predatory and destructive criminal conspiracies.”
Nguyen would not let Christie go back to work. She also refused to let Christie attend the premier of a movie named The Immortals in Los Angeles to which Christie had been invited by the actor Mickey Rourke. Prosecutors were contemptuous of the idea of allowing Christie, his wife and his lawyer to have “a night at the movies.”
The case against Christie is based on accusations made by four anonymous co-conspirators.
Co-conspirator number one is a former Ventura Hells Angel named James David Ivans, Jr. According to public documents, “Defendant Ivans (who is not named in the Christie case) solicited defendant Gilbertson to carry out the threats. Defendant Gilbertson then turned to defendants Hurtado, B. Russell, and R. Russell to carry out the threats against the tattoo shops in competition with defendant Christie’s tattoo shop…. Each defendant participated in specific, yet intertwined, parts of the same conspiracy to eliminate any competition with the HAVC-sponsored tattoo shop in Ventura.”
A second unnamed conspirator appears to be another former Ventura Angel named Jared Ostrum “Crash” Plomell. Plomell’s legal woes began on October 16, 2007 “at approximately 1:25 p.m.” when an enterprising Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy named Darwin Harwood “asked Plomell if he had a modified exhaust pipe on his motorcycle.” One thing led to another and Plomell was eventually indicted for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possessing a gun while possessing methamphetamine. Plomell changed attorneys on March 8, 2011 and his case has been continued since that date.
The Christie case was instigated and pursued by a law enforcement conspiracy called “Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.”
Three of the Assistant United States Attorneys prosecuting Christie’s case are Rodrigo A. Castro-Silva who is the Chief of the OCDETF Section and Kevin S. Rosenberg and Jay H. Robinson who both work in the OCDETF Section.
According to a recent press release:
“OCDETF is the centerpiece of the Attorney General’s drug supply reduction strategy. In order to enhance the OCDETF Program’s ability to contribute to the President’s mandate to reduce the drug supply, the Program focuses its resources on coordinated, nationwide investigations, targeting the entire infrastructure of major drug trafficking. It also assisted in the development of the Attorney General’s Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) List, a unified agency target list of international “command and control” drug traffickers and money launderers. OCDETF’s attack on the related components of these major trafficking organizations will not only disrupt the drug market, resulting in a reduction in the drug supply, but will also bolster law enforcement efforts in the fight against those terrorist groups supported by the drug trade.
“The OCDETF Fusion Center (OFC) will gather, store and analyze all-source drug and related financial investigative information and intelligence to support coordinated, multi-jurisdictional investigations focused on the disruption and dismantlement of the most significant drug trafficking and money laundering enterprises.”
The connections between a law enforcement super bureaucracy, “major drug trafficking” infrastructure, “terrorist groups” and tattoo parlors in Ventura are not yet specified in the public record.