Three of the four defendants in the federal racketeering trial in Columbia, South Carolina were convicted on some charge when the jury returned its verdict today. All four were members of the Rock Hell Nomads charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. The charter, as well as chapters of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club and the Southern Gentlemen Motorcycle Club had been the targets of a two-year-long investigation supervised by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The men in court today were Mark William Baker, David Channing Oiler, Bruce James Long and Thomas McManus Plyler. All four were named in a 107 count indictment filed last September 19. Plyler was acquitted of all four counts with which he was charged and is now a free man.
No one was convicted of the preeminent count in the indictment – racketeering. The jury simply did not think that any of the three motorcycle clubs could truthfully be described as a racket. Nevertheless the jury hammered David Channing Oiler and Bruce James Long.
Oiler was found not guilty of racketeering but guilty on 16 other counts including “racketeering conspiracy” and “narcotics conspiracy.” Oiler was also found guilty of seven counts of narcotics distribution, four counts of attempted narcotics distribution, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, money laundering and of modifying the sear on a semi-automatic pistol so the weapon would fire automatically. All of the drug counts and the money laundering charge resulted from provocations by an FBI contract employee named Joe Dillulio. Dillulio was eager to buy drugs. He told the defendants a story about a drug stickup far to the north, and then asked the men convicted today to pass his supposed profits from the hypothetical robbery through their personal bank accounts.
Bruce James Long was convicted of 13 counts including racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy and laundering Joe Dillulio’s FBI money. Long was also convicted of selling Dillulio drugs ten times.
Mark William Baker was convicted on three counts and was found not guilty on four other counts. He was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy and money laundering.
The date on which the convicted men will be sentenced has not yet been set.