Mongols sentenced in No Cal shooting

Four members of the Mongols motorcycle gang were sentenced for their roles in an attack on a Hells Angel in November. The attack occurred in Humbolt County. All the Mongols pleaded guilty.

Here’s the story from the Eureka Times-Standard:

Four men arrested in connection to the non-fatal shooting of a suspected Hells Angels member in November were sentenced in Humboldt County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon to terms ranging from three years in prison to 180 days in jail.

All four men, three of whom were found to be card carrying members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement offered during their preliminary hearing, after evidence surfaced that the victim — Robert Thompson — may have fired first.

Deputy District Attorney Ben McLaughlin said although there are no current plans to charge Thompson as a felon in possession of a firearm, the matter is still under investigation.

The accused gunman in the case, 28-year-old Mongols gang member Eric Gunner Lundin, was sentenced by Judge Dale Reinholtsen to three years in prison for felony charges of assault with a firearm and participating in a criminal street gang.

Lundin’s attorney, Glenn Brown, said his client will likely serve “a little over two years.”

Dustin Liebes, a 36-year-old who the prosecution named as the president of the area Mongols chapter, was sentenced to one year in jail with five years probation. Shasta County resident Eric Garcia, 28, was also given a one year jail sentence with five years probation. Both men had pleaded guilty to participation in a criminal street gang, and both were granted 110 days time served.

 

Wounded biker confirmed as one-time murder suspect

The Merced Sun-Star confirmed Monday that a man shot outside a Eureka bar was a one-time double murder suspect. (H/T Mike Alerich)

Robert Thompson was shot several times outside The Shanty Bar in Eureka Saturday night. A member of the Hell’s Angels, Thompson’s shooting is suspected of being linked to ongoing tension between the Angels and the Montebello-based Mongols.

Here’s a snippet of the Merced story:

19162-harleythompson-thumb-100x147.jpg

Robert Daniel Thompson, the man acquitted of murder charges in the 1986 unsolved homicides of two Atwater girls, is in the hospital after being shot Friday in Eureka.

The 43-year-old Hells Angel was listed in serious, but stable, condition at UC Davis Medical Center on Sunday, according to hospital staff.

Although details about the incident are sketchy, the Eureka Times-Standard reported Thompson was shot several times outside of a bar called “The Shanty,” found lying in an intersection, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

Biker gang clash in No Cal leaves one man seriously injured *

Thanks to a nice email tip, my attention was drawn to the Eureka Times-Standard, which details a bar shooting in Old Town Eureka that left a man wounded. Eureka’s police chief told the paper that the shooting stemmed from a clash between Hells Angels and Mongols bikers.

(My question is, how did they know they were Mongols since the Mongols are forbidden from wearing their logo?)
Anyway here’s a link to the story and an excerpt or two:

A Merced man was seriously wounded after he was shot outside The Shanty in Eureka late Friday night, and four men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder shortly afterward.

Robert Daniel Thompson, 43, of Merced was found lying in the intersection of Third and C streets, bleeding from several gunshot wounds, when police arrived at about 11:10 p.m. About five minutes later, officers stopped a vehicle at Watson and D streets and arrested four men believed to be involved in the shooting.

<snip>

Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said earlier Saturday that the shooting may have stemmed from the longtime battle between the Hell’s Angels and Mongols motorcycle gangs, but detectives have not been able to confirm that.


*Who doesn’t love Google magic?

Turns out the victim in this case might be a Hell’s Angel who is a registered sex offender and a onetime suspect in a 20-year-old double homicide.

Here’s a couple of links of interest:

Questions about Doc

This comes from Aging Rebel:

Maybe the Feds have the Mongols by the huevos. Maybe after, numerous attempts over the last 30 years, the Department of Justice is finally, actually going to deconstruct a major outlaw motorcycle club. Maybe not. But, don’t dismiss the possibility. “The future right now,” former Mongol Tony Vodnik rhetorically asked the Associated Press yesterday. [...]

Mongols in the spotlight in Tuesday’s Column

About the time Ruben “Doc” Cavazos published his autobiography, “Honor Few, Fear None,” his life as an outlaw motorcycle gang member began to come apart.

The book, published in June, tells Cavazos’ story and includes re-tellings of violent episodes between members of the gang and outsiders.

To hear “Doc” tell it, the Mongols were taking on an assortment of gangs in an international turf battle that stretched beyond the San Gabriel Valley.

Last week a federal grand jury handed down an 84-count racketeering indictment against Cavazos and dozens of other Mongols. It detailed allegations including murder, attempted murder, gun possessions, racial attacks, maimings and drug offenses.

As part of the criminal case, the government barred members of the gang from wearing clothing displaying the Mongols’ logo.

Here’s how the book jacket pitches Cavazos’ story:

“In reality, the Mongols are a tightly knit band of brothers devoted in equal measure to the club, their fellow Mongols, and their freedom. They live to enjoy life, party and travel the open road. Above all, they demand respect. When pushed too far, Mongols join together to push back. Just ask the Hells Angels, the Ukrainian mafia, the Mexican mafia and the U.S. government. All have tested the Mongols’ resolve.

“Doc takes you to the streets and into the bars, the secret meetings, the brawls, and the shoot-outs, all proof that if you live like a Mongol does, you must honor few, fear none.”

But why buy the book when the indictment lays out some of the same excitement without the hyperbole?

For example, on the day the book was published by HarperCollins, Cavazos awarded patches to two members accused of stabbing two innocent by-standers at a Mobil gas station in Pasadena on April 6.

They were among the last patches Cavazos awarded.

As Cavazos embarked on a high-profile tour of swanky bookstores in upscale neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, other members of the gang began to grumble about his leadership.

Principle among their complaints was Cavazos’ penchant for recruiting street gang members and a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars of Mongol money.

Cavazos frequently hit up his buddies for contributions to a Mongols legal fund. The money began to go missing.

Finally on Aug. 30, at the “House Lounge” in Vernon, Hector “Largo” Gonzalez and William Munz told the rest of the gang that “Doc” was stealing from them.

They also pointed to tensions between the gang and La Eme and voted Cavazos “out bad” from the organization.

“Out Bad” – sounds like a good title for the sequel.

Photo from a Mongols party in Beverly Hills

18218-mongolsparty-thumb-300x173.jpgMongul author Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, Mongol Little Rubes, Mongol Ogre and Mongol Bouncer attend the Book Expo Celebrity Dinner at Restaurant 208 on May 30, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.

 

Doc, Little Rubes, and Bouncer are all mentioned in the 177-page federal indictment handed down against the gang Tuesday.

Here’s a mention of “Bouncer”:

COUNT THIRTY-THREE

[21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B)(viii)]

On or about July 25, 2006, in Los Angeles County, within the

Central District of California, defendant PETER SOTO, also known

as “Bouncer,” knowingly and intentionally distributed at least

five grams, that is, approximately 13.5 grams, of actual

methamphetamine, a schedule II controlled substance.

 

Here’s a mention of “LIttle Rubes”

COUNT SIXTY-FIVE

[18 U.S.C. 924(c)]

On or about May 24, 2008, in Los Angeles County, within the

Central District of California, defendants RUBEN CAVAZOS, JR.,

also known as “Lil Rubes,” and BRIAN MCCAULEY, knowingly

possessed a firearm, namely, an H&K .45 caliber handgun, bearing

serial number 25-093654, during and in relation to, and in

furtherance of, a crime of violence, namely, the racketeering

conspiracy set forth in Count One of this Indictment, a violation

of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d).

 

 

The strange and terrible saga of Thursday’s column

There are some fascinating peeks at the workings of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang in the federal grand jury indictment released Tuesday.

Their brutality is apparent:

“On August 18, 2006, in Los Angeles County, defendant (William `Dago Bill’ Shawley) advised an undercover law enforcement officer that he and defendants (David `L.A. Bull’ Gil) and (Aaron `Sick Boy’ Price) had captured an individual and tortured him for three hours, by breaking the man’s knuckles with a pair of pliers, breaking his knee by hitting it with a metal pipe.”

Alongside the action, a sub-plot emerges from the pages and pages of court documents.

It lies in the ongoing feuds among individual Mongols and a turf battle between bikers and area street gangs who are loyal to La Eme.

While there’s been a push by former Mongols president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos to recruit street gang members, old-time members have been resistant.

Meanwhile, newer members have been reluctant to pay taxes on illicit drug sales to La Eme, because they are already paying the Mongols.

Last year, Cavazos wanted to broker an agreement between the organizations, but instead found himself targeted, according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, an informant told an undercover ATF agent that “Cavazos was attempting to negotiate with La Eme to compensate them for the narcotics-trafficking being conducted by Mongols members.

“Cavazos had met with

La Eme representatives at City Walk in Studio City to offer them a one-time tax payment, but that the offer had been rejected and La Eme had ordered a greenlight on the Mongols.”

Although the meeting took place on the other side of town, it’s pretty clear the San Gabriel Valley is fertile ground for organized crime.

This is prime turf for credit card scams, dope deals, money laundering, extortion, prostitution, assault and murder.

Stuff that happens here every day. Stuff that often gets reported in the newspaper, but in a disconnected, bullet-points-on-a-blotter sort of way that occasionally fleshes out the big picture.

Think about all the groups that operate in our neighborhoods. There’s La Eme. We have the Wah Ching and assorted other Asian gangs. Crips and Bloods rule some neighborhoods, while Armenian and Russian gangsters continue to filter into the SGV from Glendale and Los Angeles.

If anything it’s a Balkanization of sorts. And from time to time, each gang has its moment in the spotlight because of a large-scale federal or county prosecution.

Despite turf battles and rivalries, the prosecutions of these gangs highlight plenty of similarities – mainly the desire to make money. Lots of it. By any means necessary – including beatings and murder.

But it also paints a picture of young men who believe they are the last true individualists in America.

In his 1966 book “Hell’s Angels,” Hunter S. Thompson saw violent motorcycle gangs as part of the bleak and terrible rise of a new form of gangsterism dispensing equal amounts of violence and dope.

“(They are) not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to deal with,” Thompson wrote.

Judge gives U.S. authority over Mongols trademark

The US attorney wanted to own the trademarked logo of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang and a judge granted that request Wednesday, according to an Associated Press reporter who attended an afternoon hearing in federal court:

Here’s the top of the story:

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LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in Los Angeles bars the Mongols motorcycle gang from selling or distributing its trademarked logo after authorities arrested dozens of its members in six states.

 

No word yet if Ruben Cavazos has appeared in court or entered a plea. Cavazos, a former president of the group, is targeted as the head of the conspiracy.

Good times, bad times

Reporter Amanda Baumfeld wrote an extensive story detailing the history of the Mongols Motorcycle gang in Montebello and beyond. Here’s an excerpt:

The Mongols Motorcycle Club began in the 1970s as a group of men with a passion for motorcycles and partying before turning into a violent criminal enterprise, officials said.

Federal law enforcement officials attempted to dismantle that enterprise Tuesday when they arrested suspected Mongols members and their associates in a sweep targeting the outlaw motorcycle gang.

But the Mongols were not always an outlaw gang, according to former member Anthony Vodnik, 60.

Vodnik, also known as “Snake,” is an original Mongol. He served with the motorcycle club for nearly 37 years. Disagreeing about the direction the club had taken, Vodnik retired in January.

“It’s a good club,” Vodnik said. “But some of us older members want to bring it back to how it used to be; we are tired over this war over drugs and who controls drugs.”

Officials say the gang was formed by a group of Latino men who were banned from joining the Hells Angels because of their heritage.

Beaten to death with a pool cue by Mongols *

The single homicide alleged in the federal indictment against members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club occurred on Valentine’s Day last year.

The victim apparently was Leon Huddleston, a homeless man who was beaten to death with a pool cue at a bar in Lancaster.

Here’s a recap of the beating from a Web site known as the Antelope Valley War on Gangs and Crime.

Meanwhile, members of the outlaw motorcycle gang are expected to appear in federal court later today.

* Here’s what Jill Levoy wrote in the Homicide Report last year following Huddleston’s death:

Leon Huddleston, a 25-year-old white man, was beaten with a pool cue at 227 W. Pillsbury St. in Lancaster and died at 7:10 p.m. Feb. 22.

Huddleston, described by police as a local transient, was playing pool at Young’s Bar and Grill when two men came in, walked straight up to him, and hit him with a pool cue. Huddleston fell behind the bar. No argument or brawl preceded the attack. Detectives say they don’t know the motive. Huddleston “didn’t even have a chance to defend himself,” said Sgt. Jeff Cochran of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

The suspects fled, and a handful of bar patrons who witnessed the attack also left the scene. Huddleston lived for a week on life support before dying. Los Angeles County supervisors have offered a $10,000 reward for information in this case. Anyone with tips is asked to call detectives at (323) 890-5635.