Citing an “FBI Intelligence Report” the Albuquerque Journal reported this morning that Sunday’s prolonged shooting at a charity fundraiser at Eppie’s Motorcycle Services was actually a confrontation between three Vagos and an undetermined number of Bandidos Motorcycle Club members.
According to the Journal: “Current intelligence reporting from multiple sources indicates that the (Bandidos Motorcycle Club) national leadership has directed out of state (Bandidos) to proceed to Albuquerque … within the next 24 hours … in response to the August 4, 2013 confrontation,’ says an FBI ‘situational information report’ dated Tuesday. ‘Additionally, (Vagos Motorcycle Club) members from neighboring states may already be in Albuquerque awaiting orders from their national leadership….’”
You can read the complete Journal story here.
Presumably both the FBI and local police now know what happened. This page has taken pains in the last four days to withhold common knowledge about the incident obtained from multiple sources with multiple points of views. This page has withheld that information so as to not unnecessarily inform police.
The Vagos Motorcycle Club, which began as a Southern California club, has been expanding into areas previously populated by other proud and pugnacious patches during the last four years. Those areas include Arizona, which had previously been a haven for Hells Angels including HA eminence gris Sonny Barger; areas of Kansas and Missouri that have long been the stomping grounds of the Galloping Goose and El Forastero Motorcycle Clubs; and most recently into New Mexico which, for the last forty years, has been an extremely friendly state in which to ride for members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
Steve Cook, the Executive Director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association has given numerous media interviews in the last two years about the threat to public safety and law and order he thinks the growth and expansion of the Vagos represents.
The Vagos have been the target of an ongoing, multi-agency, federal investigation for more than four years. That investigation comprises investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.
One Big Investigation
The three federal police forces, working in concert with the United States Marshall’s Service, have exploited multiple opportunities to “get the Vagos.” The ongoing investigations have also involved state and local police agencies in California, Nevada and Utah. The best known of those agencies is probably the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission in Arizona. The most recent of those collaborative police actions was Operation Pure Luck, a multi-agency investigation spearheaded by the ATF in Las Vegas.
The story told by Gary Rudnick in the recent trial of Ernesto Gonzalez – that some 200 Vagos conspired together to assassinate Hells Angel Jeffrey Pettigrew – was concocted not so much to get Gonzalez as to create a highlight predicate in a future RICO case. That case may be aimed solely at the Vagos or it may be intended to force the leadership of multiple, competing clubs to stand trial together.
Various state and federal police agencies have used “intelligence sharing” capabilities institutionalized as part of the Global War on Terror to coordinate what is, in essence, one investigation of the Vagos. A large part of the government effort against the Vagos has involved the manipulation of public opinion. The March 2010 accusations, made by California officials including now-Governor Jerry Brown, that the Vagos were terrorizing the town of Hemet, California was part of that one, ongoing disinformation campaign.
All of this lends context to today’s story in a usually clueless, community newspaper. The Journal “obtained” the report it cites in its story today because the local FBI field office “leaked” it to the Journal. The FBI didn’t leak the story to the New York Times. It seems unlikely that the report was leaked as a public service. It seems more likely the leak was the release of specific information to achieve a specific purpose; which is to say the leaked report is intentional propaganda.
What Happened Last Sunday
Multiple sources have described last Sunday’s shooting as an attempt by the Bandidos Motorcycle Club to both intimidate the Vagos Motorcycle Club and to spread disinformation about the incident. Multiple sources have also alleged that the incident was premeditated. Those sources have also said that the story fed to the weak Albuquerque press was scripted in advance and was calculated to discredit the Vagos.
The Black Berets Motorcycle Club, which has three chapters in greater Albuquerque, basks in the goodwill of and maintains friendly relations with the Bandidos. The Black Berets have no particular reason to dislike the Vagos except to share the Bandidos enmity toward the new club in town.
The three Vagos involved in the gunfight were invited to the event by the owner of the motorcycle shop. Sources have told conflicting stories about the relationship of the shop owner and local chapters of the Bandidos.
News reports in the Journal and other Albuquerque news outlets have described the event as a peaceful fundraiser for a sick girl at which children were present. The Aging Rebel has been unable to confirm that children were actually present at the event. Multiple sources have also alleged that the men who shot at the Vagos and killed a Vago named Japheth Seaman were not members of the Black Berets Motorcycle Club but were wearing Black Berets cuts. The brawl began, multiple sources have alleged, when one of the ersatz Black Berets punched Vago Malachi Seaman in the face.
The lead in today’s Journal story reads, “Albuquerque could be ground zero for a violent clash between outlaw motorcycle gangs.” It is exactly the sort of propagandistic statement that the multi-agency antagonists of the Vagos has been planting for years.
A violent confrontation between two one percenter motorcycle clubs is news but not earth-shaking. Last Sunday’s murder was tragic but not unprecedented. But an attempt to script news coverage of a violent confrontation between two clubs in advance is unprecedented.
It is blatantly the sort of thing alphabet police agencies do. So last Sunday’s fight seems to be about much more than disputed territory or a murder.