There were six more guilty pleas today in the Hells Angels racketeering case in South Carolina titled United States versus Bifield and Others. Nine defendants have now pled guilty to one of the accusations the government made in a superseding indictment unsealed last September 19. Eleven defendants in the case are going to trial.
Richard Thrower, Frank Enriquez, Jr., Johanna Looper, Ronald Dean Byrum, Jr. James Rhodus and Bruce Ranson Wilson pled guilty today. The plea deals were signed yesterday. Looper and Rhodus asked that their plea agreements be “filed in open record” and Rhodus signed a public “statement of acceptance and responsibility” in which he stated: “James’s belief, based upon his experience, is that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (worldwide) and South Carolina Nomads are not a criminal enterprise. James Rhodus further states his money laundering crime was not committed or done in any manner whatsoever on behalf of or as part of his participation in activities of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club of which he is a prospective member.” Rhodus also stated that “he has not and will not under any circumstance cooperate with the government or testify for the government.”
The plea agreements made by Thrower, Enriquez, Byrum and Wilson remain sealed. Trent Allen Brown pled guilty December 18 and his deal is also secret.
The lead defendant in the case, Daniel Bifield, and his wife pled guilty on January 3. They both asked that their plea deals be filed publically.
Daniel Bifield, Richard Thrower, Frank Enriquez, Jr. and Johanna Looper all pled guilty to “Racketeering Conspiracy” which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Lisa Bifield pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and could be sentenced to up to five years. Brown and Byrum both pled guilty to “Narcotics Conspiracy.” Rhodus pled guilty to money laundering and Wilson confessed to an illegal firearms sale.
Mark William Baker, David Channing Oiler, Bruce James Long, Robert David Pryor, James Frederick Keach, Jr., Donald Boersma, Kerry Chitwood, Carlos Hernandez, Thomas McManus Plyler, Jamie Hobbs Long and Somying Anderson will begin trial February 11.
The case is remarkably rushed for a biker racketeering case. When the trial for the eleven remaining defendants begins defense attorneys will have had exactly 150 days to prepare their defenses since the release of the superseding indictment. Total government evidence disclosed to date amounts to more than two terabytes of data. Most of that “evidence” is irrelevant to the case. Prosecutors have called this noise “evidence” as a way to conceal pertinent evidence in the case in the same way that a needle may be hidden in a haystack or a leaf may be hidden in a forest. As recently as December 4 prosecutors completed what one defense attorney described as “another massive evidence disclosure that included 5,882 photographs, 137 audio clips and 20,851 pages of phone records.” Additional evidence may be hidden from defense attorneys until up to five days before trial.
In a motion filed six days ago prosecutors asked District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie to forbid defenders to use entrapment as a defense even though the same prosecutors have publically described the events that led to the defendants’ arrests as a “sting.”