This story was originally published on December 5, 2012 and was revised on December 6. The original story described Billy Joe Ullom as a member of the Mongols Motorcycle Club. A source subsequently told this page that Ullom was not a Mongol and that the incident had nothing to do with that club. The Aging Rebel sincerely regrets the error.
There was a tragedy Saturday near Billings, Montana. The tragedy befell a member of a motorcycle club, so Montana police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized that enforcement opportunity to unleash a mounted infantry assault on the scene of the accident this morning.
As is usually the case with these paramilitary police operations, the ATF concealed the nature of the accident, concealed the purpose of the raid and misled the local press. The local press in this case is Lloyd Blunk of the Billings Gazette.
About 1:30 last Saturday afternoon Billy Joe Ullom, a member of the unnamed motorcycle club, bled to death from the wounds he sustained when a black powder cannon exploded at a residence in the 4300 block of Ronan Road west of Billings and east of the town of Laurel. Several club brothers were present when the cannon failed. It was a good time gone bad. The owner of the cannon is both a patch holder and a Federal Explosives Licensee. In general, citizens need a federal explosives license to legally manufacture, sell, purchase, store, transport or detonate explosives including black powder and some fireworks.
Ullom was flown by helicopter to a hospital named St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings where he died. No laws were broken during the incident.
Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder told the Gazette, “It looks like an accident – a piece of equipment that blew up.” And it was at that point that the police began to lie. Linder told the paper “he didn’t know what the piece of equipment was.”
Brad Beyersdorf, an ATF spokesman in Denver told the truth when he described the accident as “an explosives incident” and lied when he said, “There’s not much more information I can release at this time. We’re still investigating the incident and, since it’s still under investigation, I’d hate to risk releasing any of the details that could compromise it.”
The Swat Raid
Beyersdorf refused to release information because the ATF was already planning to exploit Ullom’s death in order to harass and gather “intelligence” about the club members in Montana. The ATF does this all the time. Police do this all the time and newspapers never confront them about it.
This morning’s raid on the Ronan Road residence was carried out by a secret number of ATF Agents armed with a federal search warrant. There is an ATF office in Billings but most ATF biker authorities are in Los Angeles and it was unclear whether they were flown to Montana to participate in the raid. Consequently it is unknown whether any agents flown to Montana from L.A. travelled by private jet or commercial aircraft.
The federal agents were reinforced by the Yellowstone County Swat Team dressed up in their army suits. Sheriff Linder told the Gazette that the militarized police “were on hand as a security measure. He referred all other questions to the ATF.”
The cop soldiers rode to the raid in a $300,000 “Ballistic Engineered Armored Response” vehicle. The very large armored car is manufactured by Lenco Armored Vehicles of Pittsfield, Massachusetts and is usually called a BEAR. The BEAR is a must have accessory for police forces that militarize. The truck is more heavily armored than a Vietnam era Armored Personnel Carrier. According to the Census Bureau Yellowstone County has a population of 150,069. Not counting the Billings Independence Day Parade, this morning’s raid was the third time local police have deployed the vehicle.
Neither the ATF or Yellowstone County has offered an explanation for the raid.