Cavazos Brothers Speak Out

March 4, 2012

All Posts, Features, News

Three suburban Los Angeles newspapers ran a story Sunday morning about accusations of official corruption in Operation Black Rain. Black Rain was the ATF infiltration of the Mongols Motorcycle Club that ended abruptly on October 9, 2008.

The papers are the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News. They are collectively called the Pasadena Newspaper Group and they have a combined Sunday circulation of 319,000. The 1150 word feature article (linked here) publicizes complaints by former Mongol Alvaro “Al The Suit” Cavazos, Jr. that those Mongols who were indicted for racketeering as a result of Operation Black Rain “were set up by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and a Montebello cop who allegedly falsified a police report.”

The feature, by Tribune Metro Editor Frank Girardot, quotes both Al Cavazos and former Mongols President Ruben “Doc” Cavazos.


Al Cavazos has long maintained that the investigation of a shooting between members of the Gage Maravilla street clique and Mongols at a topless bar called Nicola’s on April 8, 2007 epitomized the corruption of the ATF investigators. The Aging Rebel published a brief account of that shooting (linked here) last December 19.

During that incident, according to witnesses, ATF Special Agent John Ciccone and ATF Tactical Field Officer Chris Cervantes cynically stood and watched as a gunfight erupted. Cervantes is a former Los Angeles Police gang investigator and a current Montebello, California cop. That Los Angeles gang unit, called Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums or CRASH, was notoriously corrupt.

Flawed Investigation

The Nicola’s shooting was mentioned four times in the Mongol’s 2008 indictment. Specifically, the indictment and ATF investigative reports accuse the Mongols Motorcycle Club as an organization of harboring and rewarding patch holders who were involved in the incident.

And, regardless of whether Ciccone and Cervantes were derelict in their duty or not, the police investigation of the incident appears in hindsight to have been at least flawed. The first police on the scene were the ATF, followed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies, followed by Montebello police who actually worked the crime scene. One of the three guns used in the shooting (a .32 caliber automatic) was never recovered and multiple witnesses agree that the Mongols acted in self defense.

The two Mongols involved in the shooting, who have already been publically identified, were Denis “Steaky” Maldonado and Thomas “Danger” Savala.

Al Cavazos believes that official accounts of the Nicola’s shooting fatally flawed the government’s case against the Mongols. Cavazos spent almost a year in jail and eventually “confessed” to racketeering. He has since said, “I didn’t do anything.” In this morning’s feature he told Girardot, “It’s just not right what they did.”

Citizen Report

Al Cavazos made a “Citizen Report” to the Montebello Police Department on November 8, 2011 charging that “Officer Christopher Cervantes committed perjury on February 11, 2008 at the Preliminary Hearing for case Number BA325486 The People of the State of California versus Denis F. Maldonado. Officer Cervantes lied about his observations on the night of April 8, 2007 while investigating a shooting which occurred at Nicola’s Bar in the City of Commerce.”

Girardot reported, “I want to go in front of a judge and have the judge ask who’s telling the truth,” Al Cavazos said. “I want the judge to make sure that whoever is lying will go to jail. That’s what I’m asking for. And, I know it won’t be me.”

Girardot summarized Al Cavazos’ complaints as, “’dirty cops’ and ‘BS testimony’ in court ultimately drove everyone in the gang to plead guilty.”

Let’s Quote Some Cops

The Pasadena Newspaper Group story quotes a Glendale ATF spokesman named Christian Hoffman as saying of the Cavazos brothers “They have nothing to lose and all of a sudden he now doesn’t like his sentencing? I would let the evidence of the investigation speak for itself.” For at least the last four years, Hoffman has been the ATF Glendale Field Office’s first line of defense against nosy reporters.

The story also quotes a Montebello Police Captain named Brad Keller who belittled Cavazos complaint to the press by saying, “He’s disputing the facts that were already tried on this case. We took the time to talk to him to find out where he was going with it. But the outcome of the original case showed we did everything right. The evidence proved we followed the law. And, it’s over.”

In a letter to Girardot, Doc Cavazos wrote “These cases are built on lies by the ATF and supported by informants who either (are) trying to save themselves or a loved one…. No one need take our word for this. They need only to review the evidence. As long as the ATF uses the words ‘Drugs, Gangs, Hate Crimes or Terrorism’ a group or individual stands no chance of a fair trial. For this reason most federal cases plead out.”

That was front page headline in Pasadena this morning: Some people think that cops lie. The body of the story below the headline argues that even if they do there is really nothing you can do about it.


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40 Responses to “Cavazos Brothers Speak Out”

  1. @lil TIGGER Says:


  2. tiger m. Says:

    These guys are total posers. My friend lived 3 doors down from a supposidly high ranking officer in the Mongols M.C. Well long story short I ended up taking a 12 pack down there and pounding a few with them. There total Cholos that ride prefabbed Factory built Harley’s. Recruiting L.A.street gang members that would not even know how to kick start a Hog is beyond a real scooter tramps creed! May that shit head Cavazos and his Bro and son Get whats comin’ to them!

  3. izapp Says:

    Go al, I’m sick of these officer getting away.with winning there cases and destroy people life’s and setting people up as a rat there the problem but that’s how they win there cases ‘ You reap what you sol’ don’t be angry eventually ugly catches up soon.

  4. possible fucktard Says:

    Understood. And they seem to get successfully infiltrated and prosecuted fairly frequently despite all their efforts. Speaking strictly for myself, if I was in a situation where all this was true I would have to seriously consider a way to keep my ass covered so I wouldn’t become the next ATF success story getting pressure to turn on my own or give myself up as a human sacrifice and they win either way. Wouldn’t want to be in that boat alone and even less with a buncha bros I cared about. Guess that’s why I’m such a loyal independent.

  5. Rebel Says:

    Dear possible fucktard,

    I have heard rumors about an ATF CI somehow mixed up in this for a couple of years but I have never found him. My first thought was Coconut Dan Horrigan but I think he had nothing to do with any of it. I know Ciccone was not in San Francisco at the time.

    Obviously, the ATF helped the DOJ make the racketeering case against Ablett but to the best of my knowledge nobody who was there or who was even peripherally involved was or now is in any way connected to any federal police force including the FBI.

    Sometimes men in clubs fight. Sometimes the fights turn deadly. The feds will make a racketeering case out of anything involving bikers.


  6. possible fucktard Says:

    Geez, Rebel, you’ve been busy. Or certain people have been keeping you busy by making lots of news. In a previous post about the Ablett conviction I said that nobody wins. That’s true of the actual fight but now I see where the ATF wins. Weren’t they hovering in Laughlin and in the parking lot at that strip club just waiting to pounce when something happened – and then something did. They may not have been there when Guardado died but they swooped in and took advantage in the aftermath. Point is, they love it when bikers fight each other the cops lock up the survivors and get an automatic win either way. If you don’t like them, why make their job easy?

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear BadMagic,

    Yeah, I should have written on this already. This is the Pagans case, US v Barbeito et al. Weaver legally possessed a gun but the prosecution argued he had the gun to protect a convicted felon. Deirdre Purdy was Weaver’s attorney. I will try to get up to speed on this today or tomorrow.


  8. BadMagic Says:

    And then there is this:

    Your employment by a felon exempts your permit to carry and all citizens 2nd amendment. WTF????


  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear SVD and Observer,

    The felon in possession of abody armor charge started after the North Hollywood shootout in 1997. A couple of desperados went to war with the LAPD after a bank robbery and the cops did not have technological superiority. The orginal rationale of the law was to always ensure that cops could kill “bad guys” but “bad guys” couldn’t kill them. Now it has become just another charge to hang on some guy. You can be charged with this felony even if you only have a component of body armor, like a metal chest plate. And, the body armor can be seized even if you are not a felon but the police do want to fuck with you.

    Body armor is now part of the boilerplate of most search warrants along with indicia, photo albums, printers and computers.


  10. observer Says:

    The body armor issue is I believe analogous to the anti-missile component of the international nuclear war chess game, which by the way we are all playing, as pawns of course. In essence, if country A has anti-missile protection for its ICBMs only, it is hoping for a return strike capability. Country B is not too concerned about that. A more threatening posture occurs when country A chooses to defend its cities. This suggests the possibility of initiating a first strike, and surviving a return strike. This is the sticking point of all ABM (anti-ballistic missile) treaties. So basically, protecting your weapon, whatever that may amount to, is not much of an issue. But body armor affords a very dangerous and hence threatening (from LEO perspective) level of invincibility, which the LEO perceives, rightly or not, as making the wearer just that much more likely to “launch a first strike” against said LEO. So in an unexpected way, wearing body armor makes someone (potentially) more dangerous and threatening than if they were simply armed instead.
    That said, the enduring and endangering stigmatization of ex-convicts, in this way and many, many others, is I feel unjust.

  11. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    “They even have a law forbidding ex-convicts from posessing body armor, the most passive of defense technologies ”

    I actually found the one about the body armor to be among the most perverse laws of which I’ve ever heard. It’s like someone decided once a person has convicted of a felony, whatever the circumstances, that person has now acquired a lifelong obligation to be a soft target. That’s sick.

  12. Rebel Says:

    Dear ciscokid,

    Oh no offense taken at all. Don’t worry about that.

    I understand that the three Cavazos are controversial and not everybody’s favorite people. So I thought guys deserved an explanation of why I ran the story. Personally, I found it a lot easier to make fun of Doc Cavazos before he wound up in a SHU in the Mojave. And, Al Cavazos accomplished something I couldn’t accomplish, which was to get some real, live newspaper coverage about police excess in the Mongols case. And, that was from a paper that seem to be pretty unabashedly pro-ATF.

    I only gave you an explanation because I thought I owed it to you.

    Enjoy this warm, gorgeous day man,


  13. Glenn S. Says:

    Philo, I don’t think the last shot would have made a difference had it been a cop. It would have been a “fog of battle” thing, and a whole bunch of experts would have stood ready to testify that the cop was just reacting as he had been trained.

  14. Glenn S. Says:

    And another thing (yeah, ad nauseam): They keep passing those laws against things that are not wrong in and of themselves by even the worst control freak’s definition, just to make it easier for them to enforce other laws or to target those they think are undesirable and, by their logic, unfit to live in a free world. One example is the law against convicted felons owning or possessing guns. Nevermind that they already have a whole bunch of laws forbidding me and everyone else from shooting people, robbing banks, and even shooting up in the air to celebrate April Fool’s Day. And nevermind that anybody that might want to rob a bank or shoot someone is not going to let something like a gun control law stand in their way of acquiring the tools of the need. They even have a law forbidding ex-convicts from posessing body armor, the most passive of defense technologies! And if they find a gun (or maybe body armor) anywhere near an ex convict, they charge the ex con with possessing the item, and he sits in jail for months or years waiting for his day in court.

    Won’t happen in my lifetime, but it would be nice if the citizenry would recognize the fact that the law is a poor guiding principle in and of itself.

  15. ciscokid Says:

    rebel, not directing anything in your direction so my apologies if it came off that way. just putting it out there in general.

  16. BadMagic Says:

    A cops “coup de grace” shows how scared they were. Anyone else it shows how callus?


  17. Philo Says:


    “Looking at the right or wrong in the stories posted here (as opposed to the legal or illegal), there are often cases of moral ambiguity.”

    I’d expand that to life in general anymore. That’s why I tell all my little Philo’s that what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘the law’ are often two very different things these days. When faced with a choice, do what’s ‘right’.

    Ablett’s trial would be a good illustration of the difference between the two were it not for the “coup de grace” shot. Sans that one shot, it’s clearly a self defense case; while the law says it’s a racketeering case. One is ‘right’, the other is ‘the law’.

    This is the world we live in …


  18. Glenn S. Says:

    Thanks Doc. Another thing that I’ve noticed is the widening gap between the concepts of right and wrong and legal and illegal, as well as the fact that if they do it, its a mistake, and if we do it, its a crime. If the cops taunt a guy into reaching for his gun and shoot him when he does, its justifiable force. If we do the same thing, its murder and any of our friends that happen to be nearby are conspirators. And if we and our friends belong to a motorcycle club (but not the Masons or Shriners, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving or…), its a RICO violation. If I lie to the cops, its obstruction of justice, accessory after the face, or conspiracy. If they lie to me, its good police work. The courts have ruled that the laws do not have to be fair, and they are not.

    Looking at the right or wrong in the stories posted here (as opposed to the legal or illegal), there are often cases of moral ambiguity. The Ablett case is an example of a tragedy where questions of right and wrong are not perfectly clear, despite the government’s stance and the jury’s quick verdict. Too many Americans, these days, are willing and eager to use the government’s position and the jury’s decision as a determining factor as to who is right, who is wrong, and what should be done about it. But if you re-read the entire Ablett stories, and substitute an off-duty cop for Ablett in your head, the ending will be an entirely different one. The cop would have likely received professional councelling for his traumatic experience. Ablett will likely get life.

    Gone are the days when the town marshal kept the peace with the backing of the wise people. Here are the days of the army of occupation.

  19. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Glenn S:

    I hear you loud and clear– especially on the idea of the growing criminalization of everyday life–but I think that advocates for those victimized by the criminal justice system become less effective on those occasions when they appear to minimize or dismiss the victims of real crimes.

    By the way, I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your posts here.

  20. Glenn S. Says:

    Square Verbose Doc: “sometimes I chafe at the specifics of some of the articles, because you sometimes write as if there is nothing that should be illegal and there is no such thing as a crime.”

    Doc, since I’ve been old enough to run afoul of the laws, it seems like the bar to prove guilt has gotten progressively lower, the heavy handedness of the cops has progressively increased, the cries from metaphoric lynch mobs (or victims’ advocates depending on perspective) have gotten progressively louder, the punishments progressively harsher, the mainstream media progressively more unbalanced in its reporting of all things crime and punishment, while all three branches of government, no matter which label they presently wear, has come to treat constitutional rights as an inconveinience that should be worked around if possible, ignored if not. This country locks up more of its citizens than any other, including the ones our government routinely criticises for human rights violations. (In fact, when the US government criticises another country for human rights violation, it’s generally because the government wants the citizenry to jump on the bandwagon and hate the other country, and the other country just says something to the effect of “looks who is the pot calling the kettle black.”)

    There’s plenty of strident and well funded advocates for all victims, potentian victims, and hypothetical victims of real and imaginary crimes, but few advocates for those victimized by the system.

  21. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    RVN 69 wrote:

    “rather, we were just talking”

    And let me say that I find it a pleasure and a privilege to be able to do so. Thanks for you kind words and no offense taken whatsoever.


  22. RVN69 Says:

    I have always appreciated the way you have approached our lifestyle from your perspective. My post was not intended as criticism of you or defense of Rebel who can certainly handle himself, rather, we were just talking.


  23. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Rebel:

    I have to apologize; I misread things sometimes, and I do it from a Square’s perspective. I gather now that the mocking tone I picked up in the article I to which I referred was mainly directed at the chain of circumstantial evidence bound with witnesses who have axes to grind and advantages to gain. I think I misread it as you classifying arson used as a tool in business competition as an example of “boys will be boys”. I think I kind of got to that when you compared it to what Microsoft would do. My bad. And I’m not criticizing. I give you the square’s perspective on this because I think that what you are writing about is too important to have the mainstream continue often to try to dismiss it as the work of some guy who is an “apologist for criminals”.–which you say happens often, and which is totally unfair. To overcome that, I think sometimes you have to really spend a few minutes in a square’s head.

    Like I said, your time is now.

    With much Respect,

  24. Rebel Says:

    Dear Square Verbose Doc,

    All due respect. Criticism is all good feedback. It keeps me grounded and humble. And, I think George Christie is being framed on this one.


  25. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear RVN69:

    Completely agreed that the idea of racketeering (which I think does truly occur in some settings) is being completely misused by the government in all the instances discussed in stories on this site. My comment was in response to some other things mentioned in some of the recent stories–the tone in which some illegal actions were described seemed to me maybe to mock the idea that, for example, burning down a competitor’s store should be illegal (and I’m absolutely not saying that that incident did or did not happen as alleged) Maybe I over-read it someitmes..but as I implied, I don’t want to get bogged down in that. The big picture is that maybe there is a more widespread undercurrent of anger at the abuse of judicial power than you might think.

    With respect,


  26. RVN69 Says:

    Square Verbose Doc Says:
    “sometimes I chafe at the specifics of some of the articles, because you sometimes write as if there is nothing that should be illegal and there is no such thing as a crime.”

    Doc, I think you are misinterpreting what is said. If I whup some guys ass for being disrespectful or if I even kill him, I should be charged with an appropriate crime such as murder or assault and battery. If I violate the drug laws, then I should be charged with a drug crime violation (Personally I think drug use should be legalized). I shouldn’t be charged with some trumped up racketeering charge using some crime allegedly committed by another member of my club as a predicate charge. Evidence against me should be presented at trial and I should be able to see it and confront my accusers. Instead we have grand jury indictments presented as evidence, crimes commited by federal agents and their paid rats as predicate crimes, and lifetime federal incarceration as an inticement to plead guilty to “racketeering” in order to preserve the facade of justice.

    We can only hope that somehow the travesty that is a federal prosecution gets exposed to the general public for what they really are.

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  27. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Rebel:

    A “60’s radical” friend of mine posted something about the police industrial complex on Facebook just this week. That makes you, him, some papers in California, and now maybe the “Gray Lady” herself (if I’m reading you right). I don’t discuss things from here too much with my most mainstream friends but on the few occasions I have, they actually seem to get it too. Its hard for anyone not to be enraged by the most egregious entrapment stories from Black Rain if they listen with an open mind. And lots of people seem “surprisingly” annoyed at the NYPD (described by our Mayor as the world’s 7th largest army) for going on spy missions on college campuses in neighboring states. Maybe there’s potential for more of a consensus against having a sub rosa police state than many here think–some kind of “silent majority”. (I thought I’d use Nixon’s term for an added dose of irony). Sad to have to speculate on potential for a consensus against something like that in the US, but that’s where we’re at.

    I’m still reading here daily, and sometimes I chafe at the specifics of some of the articles, because you sometimes write as if there is nothing that should be illegal and there is no such thing as a crime. But I’ve decided that to me, those specifics are not so important for now.

    This is your time. Write on!



  28. Rebel Says:

    Dear Square Verbose Doc,

    There you are!

    Yeah, well duh-uh! That was one of the goals in that book. A couple of interesting people have read it. There might even be a nice, big, fat, think piece in your little, local paper within the next six weeks or so. You know, not one of the tabloids but the broadsheet.

    I don’t know, because I am not writing it, but I think it might be pretty good. Some of these guys have much deeper pockets and much better resources than I. Some of them also come equipped with excellent credibility.

    Always good to hear from you,


  29. Rebel Says:

    Dear Hose-a 1%,

    I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words. That book might slightly encourage people who write about motorcycle clubs to be a little more skeptical of the government press releases.


  30. Rebel Says:

    Dear OneEye,

    Well the subject came up when Special Agent Darrin Kozlowski was cross-examined by the defense during the Ablett trial. The defense lost.


  31. OneEye Says:

    After watching the video, I’m always amazed that the government agents seem to boast-if not wear as a badge of honour-the fact that they have beaten a polygraph. Don’t jurors, judges, John and Jane Q pick up on this? A liar is a liar. How the fuck do I know when you’re in liar mode and truth mode? So, when they take the stand and place their hand on the Bible, and “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God,” is that their absolution and suddenly they’re truthful? Didn’t they utter something along those lines prior to submitting to the polygraph? Oops, that’s right, they’re liars.

  32. Hose-a 1% Says:

    Rebel.I’m in the process of reading out bad.Very good read and I recomend all patch holders read it.I have been a victim of the feds and understand alot of your books content.I just wish the mainstream sheeples would open there eyes to the bullshit alphabet gang.
    Thanks for a place to have a voice.F.T.F.
    Hose-a 1%er Pagan’s M.C.Retired

  33. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    It is, to me, an interesting example of synchronicity that perhaps the only piece in the “mainstream press” on this subject that is not basically a rehash of an official ATF press release appears shortly after the publication of “Out Bad”.

    Had to say it.


  34. Rebel Says:

    Dear ciscokid,

    I pay attention to Doc because the government of the United States manipulated the threat of what Doc might say in order to railroad a bunch of guys into guilty pleas. Then after the federales used whatever they could get out of that strategy they screwed Doc over, secretly, and then they hid him where they thought nobody would find him. And, by nobody I mean me.

    So yeah, if the government wants Doc to shut up I want to hear what he has to say. That’s it in a nutshell. Also, I was told that John Ciccone is afraid of what Doc might say. So, I think whenever Doc clears his throat I am going to have to report it just to fuck with the ATF. And frankly, if somehow, some way, some other writer decides, for some reason, to put Doc all up in the government’s face I am delighted. Like, “write on esteemed fellow journalist!”

    I admit that my feelings about reporting on Doc are ambivalent. For example, I know that if there is one thing that most ATF Agents, most Hells Angels and most Mongols seem to agree on it is that Doc Cavazos is an asshole. But I am pretty sure Doc is going to start getting some press anyway. You know, I heard this from a psychic in Abu Dhabi so maybe I am wrong. But I think some of it might be national press. There might be somebody with a bigger circulation that The Aging Rebel who thinks what Ciccone’s gang has been doing to Mongols, Hells Angels, Vagos, Pagans, Outlaws, Warlocks and Sons for the last 15 years is sordid and newsworthy.

    Al and Lil Rubes are part of the package with Doc. I know they are all out bad and I have been told why they are out bad. Doc created a gigantic Mongolian cluster fuck and he used the club for his own personal gain. And, Doc denies that by the way. But, I am not trying to mess with anybody’s club business. I have the greatest respect for the Mongols Motorcycle Club and I believe in the collective wisdom of groups. I am just trying to broaden the general public’s knowledge about the ATF war on the motorcycle menace.

    That is why I ran the story Sunday at the top of the page. Personally, I can’t wait for Doc’s next interview. I just wish I could see the look on John Torres’ face when he reads it.

    As far as how Al Cavazos is handling his business, that’s not for me to say. That’s for you to say.


  35. ciscokid Says:

    not sure why anyone continues to listen to anything these piece of shit cavazos’s have to say… when your a stand up, righteous soldier you know to keep your mouth shut!!! you got an issue, you deal with it regardless who it’s with so stop running your mouths fucking sissy’s…

  36. observer Says:

    These guys all look pretty out of shape.

  37. RVN69 Says:

    Gotta say I am surprised the paper’s carried the story at all. The shame is there will not be any follow up, 60 Minutes won’t do any investigation, Woodward and Bernstein are rich and famous and not likely to risk their carfully cultivated image by challenging the police or federal authorities so our sole victory was to publication of the fact we all know, cops and feds lie.

    This was also carried on another site on Sat, and of course I gave a shameless plug to Rebel’s books!

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  38. Glenn S. Says:

    “I want to go in front of a judge and have the judge ask who’s telling the truth,” Al Cavazos said. “I want the judge to make sure that whoever is lying will go to jail. That’s what I’m asking for. And, I know it won’t be me.”

    Unfortunatly, Al Cavazos is making the mistake of forgetting that there are no good guys and bad guys here, just two sides in a conflict. I do not think Al will get to go before an unbiased judge and even if he does, the cops’ word almost always trumps in court. Most judges have long abandoned a neutral role in favor of being soldiers in the war on crime. Most are former prosecutors. Good luck with this one, Al, they’ve got the home field advantage.

  39. Rashomon Says:

    It seems these days that the glare of media and the public scrutiny that comes with it is the only viable way to effect change. I hope more people start openly talking about what is really going on here. Maybe the alphabet cops will think twice about what they do if they know that they will be held accountable for their actions. We can live in hope I guess.

  40. IRISHPUNK Says:

    It was good to see Girardot write the story, but I was really surprised the Newspaper Group actually put it on the front page as a top story and in all 3 papers. Often times the 3 will have separate front pages.

    The best part is this paper covers Montebello and puts Cervantes’ name out there again.

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