Stephen Sanders (above), a former president of the San Diego charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, was sentenced last Friday in a California state court to 25 years in prison.
The charges against Sanders stemmed from the expulsion of a patched member in April 2007. That member was voted out bad then allegedly beaten. All his club tattoos were blacked out. And, he was compelled to surrender the title to his motorcycle, all his Hells Angels paraphernalia and an expensive television. Sanders and three other men were charged with kidnapping, torture, assault and robbery.
Sanders surrendered to FBI agents in the Ala Moana beach park on Oahu in September, 2011 on the same day 250 federal and local police searched and partly the destroyed the Angels’ San Diego clubhouse.
Sanders agreed to plead guilty to the charges in order to shorten his sentence but regretted it. During Friday’s sentencing, he tried to withdraw his plea but he was denied by Superior Court by Judge Robert O’Neill. As part of his plea deal, Sanders cannot appeal his sentence.
Bonnie Dumanis, the San Diego County District Attorney accused Sanders of planning “to have witnesses and law enforcement officers killed.”
William Sherman, who heads the San Diego office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Sanders had “engaged in a series of violent crimes against the citizens of San Diego.”
After his sentencing, Sanders spoke on camera with a reporter from KGTV, the ABC affiliate in San Diego.
During that interview, Sanders accused the DEA of targeting him because he is a Hells Angel and of altering evidence to convict him. “Yeah, I was definitely targeted by law enforcement,” he told the television station. “These law enforcement officers are just flat out obsessed with trying to put another Hells Angel in jail. The District Attorney’s Office is biased against us, and they go along with it.”
He also denied the allegation that the Hells Angels is a gang. “They try to label us as a gang, “ he said. He characterized the club as a corporation that pays “federal and state taxes to the United States.”