Phantom Fury Patch Holder Freed

January 8, 2014

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Joel Cleve Miller of Hemet, California, a Marine combat veteran and a founder of the Phantom Fury Motorcycle Club, was released from prison after posting a $50,000 bond on December 26. He had been sentenced to serve two years and had been in prison for nine months.

The Phantom Fury MC is named for the Second Battle of Fallujah in November and December 2004. The battle was officially known as Operation Phantom Fury. Miller, a twenty-year veteran of the Marine Corps was a veteran of that battle. He was discharged from the Marines for bad conduct in 2011 after Naval investigators alleged he had fabricated $16,000 in travel expenses.

The Phantom Fury wear red and white. A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives report released at the time of Miller’s trial linked the Phantom Fury and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Clubs. Miller was arrested by the ATF.

Chrome AK

Miller was convicted in 2012 of smuggling a chrome plated AK-47 home from Iraq in 2005. The weapon was seized after a search of Miller’s home in 2007. Miller claimed the gun belonged to another Marine named Christopher Bruce.

According to Miller, Bruce asked him to keep a bag of guns in 2005 when Bruce was having marital problems. Miller said he returned the bag to Bruce but the bag wound up back in Miller’s home again in 2007 after he moved into the barracks at Camp Pendleton. Bruce then began an affair with Miller’s wife, Melissa. Adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Joel Miller threatened to report the affair to his commanders. So, Melissa Miller then called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and told them the gun was her ex-husband’s. Melissa Miller told NCIS officers that she had filed for divorce and wanted the guns removed from her home because she thought they presented a danger to her children.

The Department of Justice would later state that the chrome AK-47 was discovered as part of a larger investigation into the sale and distribution of automatic weapons in the United States.


After Miller’s conviction, an NCIS supervisor named Albert Nelson claimed, “This case sends a strong message that we will continue to investigate those who illegally possess and distribute dangerous weapons such as machine guns. We will continue our efforts to remove these weapons from the streets where they put innocent lives at risk.”

But at his trial, Miller was unable to question his ex-wife or ex-friend about the ownership of the rifle or about their affair. Both Christopher Bruce and Melissa Miller refused to testify because their testimony might incriminate them and the presiding judge refused to grant them limited immunity.

Joel Miller appealed his conviction and last month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that his inability to question Bruce and his ex-wife unfairly limited his defense. “The district court abused its discretion by precluding (Joel) Miller from calling two witnesses to testify about their alleged extramarital affair,” the Ninth Circuit found. “Their testimony about the affair would have corroborated Miller’s testimony and bolstered his defense that he was framed in retaliation for threatening to report the alleged affair to military authorities.”

Federal prosecutors have not yet announced if they will retry Joel Miller or drop the case.


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16 Responses to “Phantom Fury Patch Holder Freed”

  1. Phuquehed Says:

    Good ol’ blind American justice at work…for the bad guys (also known as the pigs, judges and persecutors!).

  2. Tooj Says:

    A cautionary tale concerning announcing what you are GOING to do.

  3. jj solari Says:

    eric holder mighta bought it off ‘im. he has a gun-exchange thing with mexican drug distributors. i wouldnt be surprised but the thing aint in holders house right now, up above the fireplace, awaiting delivery.

  4. Sieg Says:

    Talk about fucked-up.

    But I’d be a lot more sympathetic if the guy wasn’t a rat. Wonder if the HA that his patch is aligned with knows about his little convos with the law?!

    14 WORDS

  5. Meh Says:

    Anyone with 20 years in service should have had the sense to know precisely what they were storing included prohibited weapons. “Here, hold this bag.” Sheeit. Even for a good bro I’d damn sure make sure I personally checked what was inside it in case it got burgled and insurance became an issue and if I left the home after marital discord and moved into barracks then the bang sticks would go into the base Armory (most will store private weapons for troops going TDY etc). Someone in for two decades would know the drill.

    “Threatening” to go to a CO about adultery is lame shit. Clear your gear out of your house (especially things which go bang) and file for divorce or do whatever.

    If it’s a high ranking superior who can railroad you doing the boning, it would be wise for you go to OSI out of self-defense and in any case don’t telegraph your punch with a threat.

  6. CN Says:

    100% chance this winds up on FX or Network TV as a 3 part Mini Series (BASED ON A TRUE STORY). Geraldo and Jerry Springer on line one & two.

  7. Base Says:

    I hate seeing a combat vet getting jammed up. But from reading the article much of the fault of his legal issues fall squarely on his on lap.

    But the big elephant in the room is the wife. More men & some women go to water when it comes to their women or females in general. It’s as if all rational thought fly’s out the window. A change in blood flow would be my quest, goes from flowing through the brain to the Johnson real quick.

    Then you have the threat, Meh has it right, no telegraphing.

    Wonder what happened to that chrome AK? Suspect it has made it’s way to someones private collection?

  8. Stevo Says:

    Base-one of Ciccones fellow gnomes will be asking a patch holder to ‘please help him sell it because a bad guy is going to kill his family if he doesn’t’ whilst filming the meeting in their latest entrapment case.

  9. Base Says:

    You may be onto something.

  10. WARTHOG Says:

    Something similar happened to a friend many years ago. His best friend’s dad was an alderman that was running for reelection. Somebody running against him started the mudslinging campaign that this guy’s son took offense with and shot up the offender’s house. Next morning my buddy gets a phone call about “something” sitting on his back porch. Says he needs him to hold on to it for a few days. Couple days later he comes home to find the FBI in his house. Said his friend threw him under the bus by saying he had been holding that gun for him for months. Short story long, guy created enough reasonable doubt they couldn’t convict him and all it cost was a lifelong friendship. Moral of the story, be very cautious of watching someone else’s guns because you never know what they’re tied to.




  11. Phuquehed Says:

    @Base – I guarandamntee a chromed full-auto AK is hanging on some fucking shit-stain pig or DA’s wall now. The pigs here took my week old 1991A1 from me when they busted me for a PD (while I was parked in a one-car garage, out in the middle of the woods, literally more than a mile away from any other house, on private property with permission of the owner to be there no less).

    Went to court and got burned. $500 gone, just like that. Thing is, we here in this county have yet to have an auction or a print on the huge three-page newspaper about them being destroyed…*ever* in the past twenty years. So where the fuck are all the guns our county and town pigs take from people going?

  12. CN Says:

    Back in the 70’s they handed out bumper stickers that said “The Marines Are Lookimmg For A Few Good Men”. So, those of us in “The Crotch” took those bumper sickers and altered them with an excto knife to read “The Marines Are Lookimg For A Few Good Fish”. The MP’s took this rather badly and made us all pull over and remove the offending stickers. Perhaps Mr. Hemet saw one that was never altered. His white collar BS wasn’t nearly as cool as leaving our 782 gear overseas and replacing it with a duffle bag full of high grade tai stick (no customs checks on those flights) not that I’d have participated in such a clever idea, no, not me. Tai stick? How minor league. OOOOORAH!

  13. dthdlr Says:

    Man some of the comment here seem screwed up. The guy definitely warned the guy. I don’t see where the guy ever talked to anybody. He threatened the guy without making a physical threat. How do you think a Marine would handle this, let alone a biker. the only talking to cops was done buy the wife and the boyfriend as far as I can tell. Do you guys know something that we don’t? If not watch who you call a rat. It may be the wrong guy.

  14. Sieg Says:

    Try reading this again. Where I live, you give then piggers a name and put your beef on someone else, you’re a rat.

     “Miller claimed the gun belonged to another Marine named Christopher Bruce.

    According to Miller, Bruce asked him to keep a bag of guns in 2005 when Bruce was having marital problems. Miller said he returned the bag to Bruce but the bag wound up back in Miller’s home again in 2007 after he moved into the barracks at Camp Pendleton.”


  15. WARTHOG Says:


    You reminded me of changing the army sticker from “Be All You Can Be” to “Bear All You Can Bear”. Thai stick? Ain’t seen any of that in 30 years.




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