Rock Hell And Money

March 10, 2013

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It is likely that the four remaining defendants in the federal Hells Angels case ongoing in Columbia, South Carolina – Mark William Baker, David Channing Oiler, Bruce James Long and Thomas McManus Plyler – will learn their fates this week. The case went to the jury last Thursday afternoon. Despite the lurid, stupid and alarmist coverage of the case in the local press and despite the theatrically placed troop of Marshalls, Bailiffs and Barneys in and around the court house, the jury is not sequestered. Now the defendants can only pray the jurors do not read newspapers.

The local press convicted the defendants almost year ago. Columbia Jay School should use the coverage of this as a case study of how not to do it.

The Press

The journalistic low point was the 1450 word incitement to lynch written by Andrew Dys and published in the Rock Hill Herald after the first week of the trial. Dys, an author and a Herald columnist and reporter not only writes in clichés and stereotypes but also believes they are good for his readers.

“RICO is used around America to prosecute gangs, like the Bloods and the Crips, and the Mafia,” Dys, a man who never heard of United States v Turkette, wrote. “And now – in this trial that centers on grungy clubhouses and a jewelry store in Rock Hill – it’s being deployed against what looks like the Redneck mafia. The second thing to notice in the courtroom is that there are no motorcycles, or leather vests or insignias of winged death heads. No chained wallets. Just five defendants who are part of a culture that supposedly does not conform to society’s rules, the one percent that they are so proud to be. But they have to conform in this courtroom”

“Defendants looking at decades in prison do not drink big cold beers in roadside bars, their huge Harleys parked at matching angles to get attention and scare squares while sneering at rules of society,” Dys informs. Readers who are thinking of becoming bulimics can read the rest of Dys’ take on the case here.

The Columbia paper, the State, also declined to cover the trial. It sort of assigned a reporter named Noelle Phillips to the case. Phillips stopped by for two days, February 12 and February 25, and what she seemed to learn was that only guilty men stand trial in federal court. Other days she was busy covering the death of a firefighter, an incident of good hearted cops helping other cops and a divorce. She also picked up an award from The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a group whose name begs the obvious question: Is there a South Carolina Coalition for Wife Beating and Rape?

Candid Camera

But even when no one hears, trees still do fall in forests. There still was a trial. It was about a flurry of contraband sales and whether those sales were the result of a pre-existing and ongoing criminal conspiracy or something else. After closing arguments last week, The Aging Rebel asked two informed sources to summarize what had just happened. They complied on conditions of anonymity. This is what they thought was important.

There is ample electronic surveillance that proves defendants sold guns and drugs to a professional snitch named Joe Dillulio. The obvious question is why. The less obvious but more important question is who caused this outburst of criminality – the Rock Hell Nomads or the FBI?

Dillulio is a lifelong con man who was eager to buy contraband on behalf of the government. So far Dillulio has earned about a half million dollars for his treachery. Jurors watched and heard the surveillance at trial. Andrew Dys, who apparently has never seen an episode of Punk’d, was very impressed by it. The context of that surveillance was less obvious.

The prosecution also characterized the defendants as a “conspiracy.” The case was tried in federal court under RICO because the government alleged that the 20 people indicted in the case were a criminal enterprise who conspired to sell guns and drugs.

Throughout the trial the defense focused on the details of those drug and gun transactions.

One of those deals fell through in February 2012. Defenders argued it was representative of most of the “crimes” charged in the case. Dillulio paid defendant Bruce James Long in advance for 500 grams of cocaine. Long took the money and called a drug dealer who moved weight. Wire tap evidence indicates the dealer told Long he could have as much cocaine as he wanted – that the amount was no problem. But Long never went through with the deal. He was tempted by the $18,000 Dillulio offered him and he had the means and the opportunity to procure the drug. But, in the end he returned the money. And, Long lied to Dillulio when he did that. Long told the snitch that he couldn’t get the cocaine. The fact that Long felt obliged to politely lie to the con man is telling.


Another issue that came up repeatedly at trial concerns the definition of “conspiracy.” Prosecutors told jurors that a conspiracy is any agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. Under the government’s theory in this case, virtually every illicit drug sale in America is a conspiracy that can be prosecuted under RICO. The only exceptions would be transactions where one person manufactures the drugs then distributes and sells them. What happened in South Carolina was that Dillulio invited the alleged conspirators to commit the same government financed crime over and over.

Another contested point was whether the government created the contraband sales or not. The government used a “window theory” to explain the criminalization of the accused. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson, Joe Dillulio opened a window to show the crimes the defendants were already committing. But the fact is there was never any evidence of criminal activity except the defendants membership in the Hells Angels and there is no evidence to show that any crimes were committed without the participation of Dillulio.

Richardson asked the jury to believe that the Hells Angels are by definition criminal. But everybody connected to the Rock Hells Nomads was under extensive surveillance from the time they patched into the motorcycle club and there was never any evidence of criminal activity until Dillulio arrived on the scene. Similarly, all criminal activity ceased as soon as each of the indictees separated himself from Dillulio. The defense attorneys tried to show the jury that Dillulio and his government handler Devon Mahoney caused the criminality.

Paying For This

The prosecution had to convince the jury that Dillulio was credible and tried to portray the snitch as a reformed con man. The defense told the jury that Dillulio had never stopped being a con man. “The guy is utterly unbelievable,” one source said. “Dillulio organized the ‘organized crime.’ He created the connections and the pattern of illegal activity.”

In the end, this case wasn’t about Hells Angels, redneck mafias or bad press. The case was about money. In the time of sequestration, prosecution has become an important industry.

Anyone with a calculator, a pen and a Tops reporter’s notebook can and should add up how much this all has cost so far. Maybe Dys and Phillips can handle that part of this story. Of course there are no official estimates and the total costs are deliberately obscured. But anyone who has ever covered one of these cases knows the largest expenses result from electronic surveillance. In this case that surveillance continued for more than two years. In addition, informants were paid and protected; a grand jury was impaneled; raids were carried out and all the policemen got overtime and lunch; evidence was collected; copies were made; defendants were jailed; witnesses were flown in and out of state; additional security was provided for the trial; a trial jury had to be subpoenaed and impaneled; and a courtroom, judge and staff had to be devoted to the trial. So, the entire case cost at least $10 million. It probably cost much more.

The government believes that all that was necessary to end the threat to the state of South Carolina, population 4,723,723, from the 70 or so  Hells Angels who live there. So, the Department of Justice probably just spent about $140,000 for every Hells Angel in South Carolina. That’s what the Rock Hell case was about. Money.

As Sonny Barger once put it in a television interview, “Why don’t they just give us the money and we’ll promise to be good.”



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27 Responses to “Rock Hell And Money”

  1. autisticsouls Says:

    this story is so sad. and the outcome. great story. an eye opener..

  2. debra aka gypsy Says:

    long live the hells angels my hero’s my family!!!they are like anyone fuck with them you will see…love them and get the major love in return….who isn’t that way this day and age? diamond danny my hero my family, the most heart filled member alive, a true amazing friend to all that come to meet him…a gentle giant with a true beating heart….i love you all ha my support & love 4/life….

  3. VINCE 1%er Says:

    Total miscarriage of justice ( yeah right….more like INJUSTICE ).
    Actually it’s like an Abomination and travesty of a system manipulated by the federal government for NO true righteous gain whatsoever ! And for the brave Men (and 1 Woman) – they must fight ON to gain freedom,clear their names and resume their lives with family friends & loved ones despite being tried by a Totally Corrupt & Nazi like judicial system !
    Hopefully they will get a reversal upon appeal & be set FREE,and Dan & His Wife will be found Innocent as well..
    It’s a very dark day & time when a Scumbag LIAR RAT SNITCH PUNK Federal Informant with his ass in a sling to the alphabet gang is believed on the stand ,and a gullible and myopic jury convict the defendants based upon the LIARS testimony & entrapment that occurred.
    I’m HAPPY that one defendant was found NOT GUILTY -released & exonerated,but for his 3 fellow brothers and Dan & his wife true Justice remains to be seen as of yet.

  4. Friend Of Diamond Says:

    @ Va Bob Doesn’t really matter now but if you are still interested let me know and I will let you know.

    All I know for sure is that Tom is FREE!!! Others have been found guilty to charges I do not know for sure so will not say. I’m sure Rebel will post ASAP.

  5. brklyn Says:

    The verdict is in…

  6. Va Bob Says:

    What is the ethnicity and gender breakdown of the jury?

  7. Midwest Bill Says:

    I can’t believe jurors can’t see the motivations of these snitch pieces of shit. They are low lifes out for cash and they will do anything for it. For a con man like this the governement is just another mark – and a willing one with deep pockets. What could be more perfect? There is a special place in hell for rats, snitches, and traitors!!


  8. old & stoned Says:

    i should have posted a warning on that link: “Regurgitated Press Release”

  9. Tricky Tramp Says:

    And as for Dys. Same trip I guess.

  10. Tricky Tramp Says:

    joe dilieLEO = CUNT

  11. Herald Ex Says:

    I worked with Dys. Yes, he’s white, but his wife is black. So, if you caught on to the racial slant …good catch!!! Biased? I think…SO! Fact checker? Ithink…NOT! Saw him thoughtlessly ruin a mans political career over a rumor…just to say oops sorry to the poor man’s wife who also worked WITH DYS!!

  12. Tooj Says:

    Aye, another day in Amerika.

  13. Rebel Says:

    Dear Glenn S.,

    Dys is white. His book is on Amazon. He’s on the cover.


  14. Glenn S. Says:

    Dys writes like a minority with a grudge. My guess is that he’s a n…, uh, African American that sees his mission in life as one where he finds something to criticize about all things white. If he wrote about Crips or Bloods, the story would probably be more balanced. But he’s not unique in the world of local newspaper reporting. Their editorial stance is usually to tell the story from the point of view of the government, and when they can do so without “angering the (fill in the blank with ethnicity other than white) community.

    But I’ve seen worse. The lack of more extensive local (and even national) press coverage (Dys notwithstanding) suggests that the press is afraid that if it backs the government too much on this one, they’ll be backing the loser.

  15. Whitepride Says:

    I hear ya Adolph! I take being called a Redneck as a compliment!!!!

  16. Adolph Says:

    It always raises my hackles when they use ‘redneck’ as a derogatory term.
    Proud redneck.

    How did that d-bag reporter get away with tainting the jury pool?

    I hope these guy walk.

  17. old & stoned Says:

    “according to ,,, a spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbia.”

  18. IO Says:

    The week of sentencing is the worst, my thoughts go out to family and friends! Stand strong!

  19. Me Says:

    Jurors shouldn’t be reading the paper RIGHT????? PRAYERS PRAYERS that They see through this smoke screen………………………..

  20. JMacK Says:

    Jesus H. Christ. I feel like I should wash my eyeballs after reading that fucking garbage. People get paid to write that shit??


  21. Whitepride Says:

    Oh I forgot. For Dys to tie the Sandy Hook shooting into this case is just trash journalism. What a douche!!!

  22. Whitepride Says:

    If that Andrew Dys article could’t potentially harm the defendants it would be funny. I never realized I was scaring people when me and my brothers parked our bikes. The Confederate flag is a symbol of states rights, freedom from an oppresive government, and individual freedom, not hate. That article was pure trash!!!

  23. Glenn S. Says:

    Stormtroopers all over the courthouse but the jury is not sequestered? If I were a juror, I’d wonder why the dog and pony show if the jury did not need protection.

    Best wishes to the accused.

  24. Dr. No Says:


    The piece by Andrew Dys that you referred to in your article is one of the most blatant cases of yellow journalism that has been my misfortune to read – ever. It displays all the characteristics of yellow journalism: scare headlines; misleading information; innuendo; exaggerations & all in abundance. I can’t believe any newspaper, reputable or otherwise, would ever publish rubbish like that. The mind boggles!

    OK, you did post a warning – but you knew we were going to read it – didn’t you?

  25. Uesque Says:

    “…Scare squares…”? It sounds like someone has read a little too much Hunter Thompson.

  26. Not Surprised Says:

    Based on other articles posted here, there seems to have been numerous times when defendants returned huge sums of money. I mean, no self respecting career criminal RICO type person would do that.

    Honesty is not a traditional trait among thieves and gun runners and dope dealers right?

    I think the first tier of an entrapment defense has been well laid out, and that is would the alleged crimes have been committed by these people based on their pattern and practice beforehand and without coercive inducement by the FBI?


    Joe Dildo is the criminal.

  27. Paladin Says:

    Hopefully, the members of the jury can can see that the only “organized crime” in this case was organized by the Government and their “man on the street” Dillulio.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


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