Despite an astounding 345 court filings in the last month, there hasn’t been much real action in the Hells Angels RICO case in South Carolina. Formally, the case is called United States of America versus Bifield et al.
The United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina, William N. Nettles, has made a conscious decision to complicate the case in order to sow confusion and discourage news coverage. It is a shame that none of the national newspapers are interested in covering this prosecution because it appears to be unusually dirty and the big papers might have the means to prove that.
In the first place there is reason to believe that defendants are being coerced into cooperation. Federal defendants are always coerced and they usually end up cooperating but the rumored coercion in this case is alleged to be particularly immoral and may actually be criminal. Secondly, the case exemplifies what a lawyer named Andrew Carlon called the sadistic state, “which wields power, most fully realized through the infliction of pain, as an end in itself, the human beings in its power merely means to that awful end….”
The human being chosen to suffer in this case is lead defendant Daniel Eugene “Diamond Dan” Bifield. Bifield (photo above) is an unusually well liked and well respected member of his club. The point of this case is to hurt him. It is impossible to comprehend the case that bears his name without understanding that.
Bifield, a New York Hells Angel, was incarcerated in the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Correctional Center on federal gun charges in 1981 when he was diagnosed with kidney stones. The condition is often very painful. At the time Bifield was technically a federal prisoner although he was in a state prison. And, he popped up in the lead feature story in the Sunday, March 15, 1981 edition of the Hartford Courant. The Courant story described numerous rapes of young, white male inmates at the hands of black inmates in the Hartford City Jail. Jailers frequently exploit racial tensions and use sexual assaults to intimidate and control prisoners. The practice is so well known that it is the inspiration for thousands of jokes on late night television.
“Mark Elliott of Hartford, a white,” the Courant reported, “recalled that an attempted shakedown of him by one group of minority inmates last summer ended abruptly, simply because of a silent appearance at the scene by another white – Daniel Bifield, leader of the Hell’s Angels in Bridgeport. Bifield is 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and his record of gun possession convictions and of pending extortion charges had led federal officials to describe him as the most dangerous criminal in the state.” Bifield’s alleged interference with the way America’s jailers run things annoyed the prison administration in Bridgeport and they refused to do anything about his kidney stones.
So Bifield checked out.
Escape and Flight
On September 23, 1981 Bifield gained access to an adjoining cell and escaped through an open window. Days later, U.S. Attorney Richard Blumenthal (now Senator Blumenthal) announced that Bifield’s body had been found in the East River. Bifield was in Bridgeport at the time and saw the announcement on television. He moved to the Bahamas where he had a photo taken mugging with a .357 caliber revolver. Bifield sent the photo to Blumenthal. He moved to Denver in January 1982 and he was captured there by U.S. Marshalls on February 5.
He was incarcerated in the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois which had been built in 1963 to replace Alcatraz. He suffered what can only be described as punitive incarceration. He was locked down for 47 hours out of every 48. Although he was technically entitled to 30 minutes outside his cell each day he was rarely allowed that yard time. Guards refused to speak to him. He was a row mate with John Gotti. After seven years he was transferred to the federal penitentiary in Allenwood.
In August 1997 Bifield, his then wife and others were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. While in Allenwood, Bifield allegedly joined a scheme originated by two other federal prisoners to file false income tax returns. Inmates allegedly applied for fraudulent tax refunds and split the proceeds with the originators of the scheme and the check casher on the outside. Bifield’s share went to his wife. When they were caught he took the blame for her. She took a plea deal. He was sentenced to another 11 years in prison and when he was finally released his ex-wife was long gone.
Bifield was sent to a halfway house in South Carolina in 2008 and formed the God’s Few Motorcycle Club. That club became a Hells Angels charter at exactly midnight on December 31, 2008. The federal investigation of the charter, including an undercover federal police officer and a paid confidential informant, began in early summer 2011. The investigation was always about getting Diamond Dan. Which is why the investigators waited until Bifield was married before they went after him.
Bifield’s present wife, Lisa Ellen Bifield, has been indicted in the current case. The investigation began sometime before Lisa Bifield announced on her Facebook page that South Carolina State Police had subpoenaed a copy of the new couple’s marriage license. A friend of Bifield’s who is not a Hells Angel (no Hells Angels were contacted by or spoke with The Aging Rebel during the preparation of this story) said “I knew exactly what that meant and I cannot believe Danny didn’t. I’m sure he knew but his bride naively, did not. Already they were getting RICO info.” As long as a year ago federal police were planning to leverage a massive indictment with multiple defendants into the plea and bargaining agreements that would seal Dan Bifield’s fate.
There are no indications that anyone in the case has begun to cooperate but time is on the government’s side.
“He’ll do it again,” a source said. “and, Lisa will either be told by him to ‘make the best deal you can but only include me or he’ll take 100 percent of the blame on himself again. In fact, I am sure that right now, he is counting on the feds making some sort of deal for his old lady and he is probably smiling that he is two steps ahead of them…. Danny will likely die in prison, barring some miracle. But if that happens he will die with a smile on his face and he will die a Hells Angel.”
This case is not about anything the government says it is about. It is not about racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, federal narcotics crimes, Hobbs Act robbery, money laundering and firearm crimes. This case is about burying Diamond Dan Bifield so deep nobody will ever find him again. No matter what you read or hear on television, this case is about human tragedy as an end in itself.
Trial is currently scheduled to begin August 9 at the United States Courthouse in Columbia, SC. It will be continued while Diamond Dan Bifield fits this terrible load he must carry to his broad shoulders.