Justin “Mooch” DeLoretto, a founder and officer of the Mongols Motorcycle Club in Oregon, turned himself in to the Lane County Jail Tuesday. Lane County is in the middle of the Oregon coast and surrounds the city of Eugene.
It is the second time DeLoretto has surrendered to Oregon authorities to pay his debt to society. Last June a Lane County Circuit Court judge sentenced him to one year in jail after a jury found him guilty of the misdemeanors of reckless endangering, reckless driving and menacing.
Not A Threat
The Lane County Sheriff’s Department, however, actually runs the Lane County Jail and they assigned DeLoretto a low “risk assessment” score. Because his jailors did not consider him a potential risk to the city of Eugene or the state of Oregon, and because the Lane County Jail admits more prisoners than it can hold, the Sheriffs cut DeLoretto loose after one day.
The terms of his probation prohibited DeLoretto from moving out of state. But, he needed a job so he moved to San Diego, joined the Mongols chapter there and went to work in a tattoo parlor owned by one of his club brothers.
When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided all people, places and things Mongol last October they raided that tattoo parlor. DeLoretto was detained and investigated. And, so Lane County, Oregon learned that he had violated his probation by leaving the state. Oregon issued a warrant for his arrest and asked him to please return to account for his misdeeds.
DeLoretto eventually did after he couldn’t find another job in San Diego.
He was being held on $50,000 bail late Wednesday but he probably will not be locked down for long.
Lane County Sheriff’s Captain Doug Hooley told the Eugene Register-Guard, “There’s nothing with his risk assessment score that’s keeping him from getting out. It may be later today or it may be two weeks from now, but he is eligible for release.”
A Little Background
DeLoretto was a founding member of the Mongols in Oregon. The Mongols established chapters in Portland, Eugene, Medford and Bend last year when the club seemed determined to start a fight with virtually every other motorcycle club in the country.
For years, the best known club in Oregon has been the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club. The Mongols and the Gypsy Jokers both wear a black and white patch and do not attend each other’s parties. Nor did the Oregon Mongols appear to be particularly tight with either the Free Souls Motorcycle Club or the Outsiders MC. Both of those fraternal organizations predate the Mongols arrival in Oregon.
The alleged ill-will between the Gypsy Jokers and the Mongols contributed to the bizarre incident that resulted in DeLoretto’s arrest.
Two inept police investigators -a Eugene city cop and “a regional expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs” for the ATF were trying to spy on DeLoretto. While doing so they temporarily trapped DeLoretto in his car on a one lane road. Naturally, DeLoretto wondered who these clowns were and why they were stalking him.
The situation got worse after DeLoretto observed the two super cops parking in front of a former Gypsy Jokers’ clubhouse. The Mongol assumed his safety was in danger.
When the two cops tried to follow him again a drama ensued. DeLoretto acting, as the police always say, in “great fear for his life” ran the two cops and their unmarked car off the road. The cops called for reinforcements and DeLoretto was soon swarmed by an army of police, arrested and charged with eight felonies.
A jury of his peers eventually decided that his actions were inappropriate but not felonious.