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Hell's Angels Criminal Enterprise

NCJ Number
Albert De Amicis
Date Published
August 2009
46 pages
Although Ralph "Sonny" Barger, the president of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, describes the organization as "a bunch of fun loving guys who just ride motorcycles" this study provides data to show that it is actually a criminal enterprise involved in multiple criminal activities.
Research data show that the Hell's Angels are involved in murder; the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine; the distribution of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana; the purchase and sale of firearms; and other criminal activities. One of the sources of data for this analysis of the Hell's Angels was a 21-months infiltration of the Hell's Angels by undercover operatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This operation was launched after a riot occurred between the Hell's Angels and the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang in the Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, NV, on April 27, 2002. Another ATF undercover operation infiltrated the Hell's Angels in Phoenix, AZ. Called Operation Black Biscuit, this undercover operation focused on the chapter headed by Ralph "Sonny" Barger, the president of the Hell's Angels for over 40 years. Based on the evidence obtained through this operation, 16 high-ranking Hell's Angels were indicted on charges that ranged from murder, murder for hire, violation of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws, and drug trafficking. The 16 defendants were not convicted on the key charges of racketeering or running a criminal enterprise. Half of the defendants plea bargained to lesser offenses, and five other defendants had Federal charges dismissed. The plea agreements resulted in no more than 5 years in Federal prison. 79 notes, 2 tables, and 11 references