The author is second from right. Photo courtesy of Richard Valdemar.
The Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang goes to great effort to present itself as a motorcycle club rather than a criminal gang. They employ high-dollar attorneys and public relations fronts to deceive the national media and public into believing that they're just good old boys who ride motorcycles as a hobby and don't mean to hurt anyone.
Each year, they and other 1% outlaw clubs conduct highly publicized toy runs to benefit disadvantaged children. Don't be fooled; they're still outlaw 1%ers and members of a criminal gang that has grown internationally to become an organized crime group.
Hollywood celebrities such as Hulk Hogan and Sylvester Stallone, as well as people who should know better such as former U.S. Senator from Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell, have been photographed riding with the Hells Angels and supporting these public relations campaigns. Either these people are fools who have been badly deceived, or somehow they benefit from this criminal association with the Hells Angels organization.
Maybe they need to be reminded of the long criminal history of the Hells Angels and the dangerous threat they present to our communities and to law enforcement in particular.
Before the Mexican drug cartels took over the majority of ephedrine importation and illicit methamphetamine lab production, it was the outlaw biker gangs that made and distributed "crank." The term itself was taken from the biker custom of hiding meth under the crankshaft cover of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Southern California is primarily desert land and biker gangs began "cooking" methamphetamine in rural areas all over California. At the forefront of this clandestine lab production and distribution network was the Hells Angels. This is well documented in books such as "Hells Angels" by Hunter S. Thompson, "Angels of Death" by Julian Sher and William Marsden, "No Angel" by Jay Dobyns, and my favorite title "Hells Angels: Three Can Keep a Secret If Two Are Dead" by Yves Lavigne. Known as the Big Red Machine, or the "81" (the alphabet order of HA, or Hells Angels), the gang derived most of its criminal income from this crank.
By the early 1990s, narcotics and gang units in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside began pooling their information and forming a multi-jurisdictional task force along with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (BNE) to stem the growing meth epidemic.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Special Investigations Unit obtained search warrants for four locations identified with meth distribution and the Hells Angels gang. The warrants were scheduled to be served simultaneously at 7 a.m. on June 7, 1991. The Southern California desert can be hot at this time of the year.
For this Hells Angels raid, the larger San Bernardino County Sheriff's SWAT unit was given the Hells Angels Club House in the city of San Bernardino as its target, while the Riverside Emergency Services Team (EST, or Riverside Sheriff's SWAT) was to take down a Mira Loma location deemed the highest risk location.
The two remaining "less risky" locations were to be served by mixed elements of narcotics and other detectives in raid jackets augmented by uniformed patrol units.
One location in the unincorporated area of Riverside County was near a small airport in an area called Rubidoux, referred to locally as "Rubber Duck." This entry team consisted of detectives from the Riverside Special Investigations, detectives from the Major Narcotic Unit, and two uniformed Riverside Sheriff's deputies.
The team approached the front door of the Rubidoux residence and banged on the door, giving the required "knock and notice." One team member yelled, "Riverside Sheriff's, open the door, we have a warrant!"
The door was suddenly flung open and the deputies were met with gunfire. Several team members returned fire, after one detective was hit in the hip. Numerous shots were exchanged. The Riverside Sheriff's deputies managed to drag the wounded officer out of the line of fire and call for backup units. They pulled back requested medical aid and contained the location.
At the Mira Loma location some five miles away, Riverside EST had not yet initiated its warrant entry. They heard the Rubidoux team's request for assistance, broke off their approach to their target, and rolled Code 3 to the Rubidoux location.
Upon their arrival at the shooting location, the EST provided additional cover and containment to the original Rubidoux entry team. Numerous other officers from surrounding agencies also responded. The suspect shooter was surrounded and trapped.
The members of the team that had originally been fired upon were eventually successful in talking the Hells Angels associate who was inside into surrendering. The 9mm pistol used by the suspect and substantial amounts of cash and narcotics were recovered. Subsequently, the other locations were served and the other suspects arrested.
When dealing with the likes of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang, especially when crystal meth and crank are involved, don't view it as a "less risky" situation. Make your plan and then beef up your security a notch or two. Despite their phony public image, any confrontation between the HA and law enforcement will not be a "toy run."
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No Angel: Jay Dobyns (podcast)
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