Convicted motorcycle gang members waiting for punishment

Five members of a Macomb County-based motorcycle gang who were convicted of criminal charges more than a year ago still haven’t been sentenced for their crimes.

 

Five members of the Devil’s Diciples Motorcycle Club were found guilty by a federal jury of conspiring to conduct a criminal enterprise, aka racketeering, and conspiring to make and distribute methamphetamine in February 2015 following a several-month trial in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

 

But none in the group has been sentenced yet. They include club president Jeff “Fat Dog” Smith of Mount Clemens, vice president Paul “Pauli” Darrah of Macomb Township, Dale “Gun Control” Vandiver of Alabama, Vincent “Holiday” Witort of California and Patrick “Magoo” Mckeoun of Alabama, all of whom are in their 50s or 60s. One defendant was acquitted of all charges and another defendant, David “D” Drozdowski of Fair Haven, who was 38 at the time of the first trial, was convicted of two lesser offenses but along with two additional defendants was convicted of the two primary charges last December in the second Devil’s Diciples trial.

 

The convicted men potentially face double-digit years in prison. Racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

 

Each of them has had a sentencing date adjourned and reset at least once. All except Smith have a new date, all set for this summer.

 

Smith’s attorney, Jerome Sabbota, said he received Smith’s presentence report April 29, the longest time he has had to wait for such a report in federal court. Sabbota said he will need time to go over the report with his client and make objections.

 

He said he expects all of the defendants to raise objections to the presentence report, which Judge Robert Cleland can use to determine the punishment.

 

Then both sides –- defense and federal attorneys –- also are expected to file sentencing “memorandums” in which they argue for or against a term.

 

“There will be objections in all of them,” Sabbota said. “There’s a lot of legal issues that will be raised.”

 

Sabbota has said he believes his client and other defendants could prevail on legal issues on appeal.

 

The five defendants’ motion for a stay of proceedings and to acquit them of the charges was denied.

 

McKeoun is scheduled to be sentenced June 16; Darrah, June 27; Witort, and Vandiver, Aug. 9.

 

The second group of convicts from the second trial last fall face later dates. Drozdowski is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22, although his attorney, Ryan Machasic, said he expects it to be delayed. Victor “Vic” Castano of Warren is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 15 and Michael “Tatu” Rich of Alabama is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 6.

 

Drozdowski’s motion for acquittal is pending. In the first trial, he was convicted of aiding and abetting in assault in the aid of racketeering and felon in possession of ammunition. The jury was hung on the racketeering charges and meth manufacturing and distributing conspiracy charges, but he was convicted of them at the second trial. Drozdowski also was convicted of manufacturing meth.

 

Castano and Rich were convicted of racketeering, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Castano was convicted of marijuana trafficking.

 

In addition to the two primary conspiracy charges, Smith was convicted of four counts -- conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business; conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering; attempted assault in aid of racketeering as a primary offender and as an aider and abettor; and conspiracy to suborn perjury and obstruct justice.

 

Darrah also was convicted of conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business, aiding and abetting in the distribution of methamphetamine, two counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering, and aiding and abetting in aid of racketeering activity.

 

Vandiver also was convicted of distribution of meth, conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering, possession with intent to distribute meth, possession of meth precursors, aiding and abetting in assault in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to suborn perjury and obstruct justice, aiding and abetting in the subornation of perjury, and obstruction of justice.

 

More than two dozen co-defendants, many of whom testified against their cohorts at the trials, pleaded guilty to lesser charges or a single charge in exchange for their testimony.

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Jameson Cook
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macombdaily.com




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