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‘I like to make things.’ Meet the expert gun builder at the center of the R.I. biker gangs case

In March, two months before explosives experts blew open two Woonsocket motorcycle clubs, state police detectives say they listened in on a phone call between the clubs’ leaders. One talked of killing Christine DeSpain — the woman who made guns in her basement.

“I expected her to show up today,” an angry Rodney P. Lambert, head of the Kryptmen club, is quoted in an affidavit as saying, ”...and I would shoot her in the head.”

Obviously, relations between Lambert and a once ally who investigators say played an important role in the clubs’ illicit activities had dangerously soured.

DeSpain, 47, was a regular at the Kryptmen’s clubhouse, an old, fenced-in industrial building on Second Avenue that backed up to a wooded lot. There she rubbed elbows with who she calls “some of the last real men” and discussed shared hobbies: cars, motorcycles — and guns.

DeSpain knew more about manufacturing firearms and how to use them, investigators say, than any biker.

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Pagans guitar maker Freddy Augello sentenced to life plus 30 years in April Kauffman murder at Shore

MAYS LANDING, N.J. — Freddy Augello finally got his chance to speak his mind in court on Wednesday, and the Jersey Shore Pagans motorcycle club leader, guitar maker, and convicted murderer blamed the 2012 killing of April Kauffman on two other men: one who testified against him and another who died of an overdose years ago.

“I’m not John Gotti," he told Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury.

DeLury was undeterred. After listening to Augello for more than 20 minutes — a speech the prosecutor later called “the ramblings of a man who’s going to spend the next 55 years in jail” — he sentenced Augello, 62, to life in prison for being the leader of a drug ring, and 30 years for murder.

Augello would not be eligible for parole unless he lived to age 117. He plans an appeal of the verdict.

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1 Pittsburgh cop involved in bar brawl with Pagans reassigned

One of four Pittsburgh police officers involved in a bar brawl last month with members of the Pagans motorcycle club has been reassigned while the investigation continues, officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Bill Peduto earlier Wednesday said multiple officers had been reassigned. A spokesman for the mayor later said only one officer had been given new duties.

It was not clear which of the four officers had been reassigned, only that he remained in the narcotics and vice unit. Police Chief Scott Schubert could not be reached.

Detectives David Honick, David Lincoln, Brian Burgunder and Brian Martin were working an undercover detail when they arrived at Kopy’s on South 12 th Street around 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11. Six members of the Pagans arrived about four hours later. An argument between several of the detectives and at least one Pagan escalated into a brawl at about 12:40 a.m. Oct. 12.

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Motorcycle Club Member Sues City, Police Officers Over Bar Brawl

(video) --- PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A member of a motorcycle club, who was seriously hurt in a bar fight with undercover Pittsburgh Police officers, is now suing the city.

According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Frank DeLuca claims in his lawsuit that the officers were drunk, aggressive and provoked the brawl.

Frank DeLuca suffered face and head trauma.

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Allegheny Co. DA has questions about brawl involving Pagans, police

(vid below) ---PITTSBURGH - The district attorney of Allegheny County has questions about several undercover Pittsburgh police officers who got in a drunken brawl while on the job.

Last week, Stephen Zappala decided to withdraw all criminal charges against the members of the Pagan Motorcycle Club.

"We had a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. I don't think they committed a crime," Zappala said.


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Allegheny Co. DA Withdraws Charges Against Motorcycle Gang Members In Bar Brawl

(video) --- PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn charges filed against members of a motorcycle club in the wake of a bar brawl on the South Side last month.

The brawl, which was caught on surveillance video on Oct. 12 at Kopy’s Bar, involved members of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang and undercover officers.

“The video posed problems for law enforcement, as a result of the actions that occurred there. I think that… I was looking forward for an opportunity to start cross-examining the officers,” said defense attorney Lee Rothman.

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Grand jury indicts 41 people connected to R.I. motorcycle gangs

(video) --- PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A statewide grand jury has indicted 41 of 61 people arrested this spring in a state police undercover investigation into alleged assaults, drug-dealing and gun-running by Rhode Island motorcycle gang members or their associates.

The state attorney general’s office released the 171-page indictment on Thursday that listed 424 counts of alleged crimes.

Sixteen others have already waived their right to have their cases presented to the grand jury and pleaded guilty, said Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

Four others had their cases referred to the state’s Drug Court or to the attorney general’s Adult Diversion Unit, which serves as an alternative to prosecution for first-time nonviolent felony offenders.

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What led to brawl?: Zappala is right to criticize police obfuscation

Serious questions have been raised about the official police account surrounding a recent brawl

What were members of the Pittsburgh police doing drinking in a South Side bar before fighting four men, all allegedly members of the Pagans motorcycle club, earlier last month? And why are the police stonewalling the district attorney’s office as the city attempts to figure out what led to that drunken melee?

These are the questions that must be answered as serious questions have been raised about the official police account surrounding the recent brawl.

The Oct. 13 dust up was ostensibly the result of a drug dealing sting gone awry. According to the police, the undercover officers had their covers blown before a Pagan allegedly started pushing and throwing punches. The officers claimed the use of force was necessary for bringing down the unruly men.

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Pagans biker sped away from Newark cops after firing gun, police say

A North Bergen man wearing Pagans Motorcycle Club clothing was arrested in Newark early Wednesday after he was spotted firing a gun, police said.

Larry M. Ortiz, 28, also tried to escape police by speeding away from officers on his motorcycle, but eventually crashed in Elizabeth, Newark police said in a statement.

Newark police responded to the 100 block of Sherman Avenue around 12:30 a.m. after officers were alerted by the city's gunshot detector system, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said.

Officers saw a man on a motorcycle drive away from the scene, and witnesses told the officers that a man on a motorcycle fired a gun on Miller and Vanderpool streets, which run parallel, police said.

No injuries were reported to police.

Officers then located a man on Frelinghuysen Avenue and Empire Street who fit a description given to them. Police said the man ignored the officers' demands to pull over.

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District attorney waits on critical information from police about undercover bar brawl

(video) --- PITTSBURGH - The Allegheny County District Attorney told Channel 11 he is waiting on critical information from Pittsburgh police about a bar brawl involving undercover officers and members of the Pagan Motorcycle Group.

"That's why I got cameras up and down Carson Street because I don't want to go through this nonsense," said Stephen Zappala, Allegheny County district attorney.

A lot of questions remain over what led to the fight inside Kopy's, and the role of the undercover police officers seen on the video.

“I don't know what kind of games these guys are playing, but this is serious stuff," Zappala said. "That's one of the reasons I'm talking with the U.S. attorney.”