Sun
24
Nov
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Top Hatters give away turkeys for Thanksgiving

One-hundred seniors received free Thanksgiving turkeys during a Nov. 19 lunch at the Hollister Rec Center, located at 300 West Street.

Members of the Top Hatters Motorcycle Club handed out turkeys for Thanksgiving during a lunch program put on by Jovenes de Antaño. The club also handed out small gifts by lottery.

San Juan Bautista Mayor and Top Hatter Cesar Flores said the club has given away turkeys for 22 years as “a way of respecting our community and our elders.”

“We want to let them know that they are not forgotten and we are grateful,” Flores said.

Tue
19
Nov
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Murder charge dismissed against man accused of stabbing Hells Angels affiliate ‘Mikey Smash’

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Superior Court judge has dismissed murder and conspiracy charges against an alleged member of a biker gang accused of stabbing to death an affiliate of the Hells Angels at a downtown bar.

Judge John W. Lua on Monday found insufficient evidence to order 60-year-old Russell Vannoy to stand trial on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Michael Adam Morales.

Known by friends as “Mikey Smash,” Morales, 32, was fatally stabbed Feb. 16 inside Guthrie’s Alley Cat, a popular bar in the 1800 block of Eye Street.

The judge did, however, order Vannoy, arrested March 6 in Bellflower, to stand trial on two felony assault charges and a gang participation charge.

As a result of Lua’s findings, prosecutors said, they anticipate filing a voluntary manslaughter charge with gang enhancements against Vannoy.

Sat
02
Nov
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Bill Owens photographed the Hells Angels at Altamont, then hid for 49 years

When Bill Owens got his pictures of the violence at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival published in Rolling Stone, he would not let his name appear on the photo credit. Owens had been threatened and he feared retribution from the same Hells Angels he’d photographed swinging pool cues in front of the concert stage on Dec. 6, 1969.

Tue
22
Oct
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Hells Angel associate arrested in 2015 murder north of Denair

A more than year-long investigation into the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, which already has resulted in federal drug charges against high ranking members, on Tuesday led to the arrest of a suspect in a 2015 homicide.

Hells Angel associate Jeffrey Velthoen, 35, was arrested on suspicion of killing 25-year-old Steven Losey on Feb. 17, 2015.

A bystander found Losey suffering from gunshot wounds in a pickup after seeing him driving erratically, then crashing off the road near the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and Berkeley Road. Losey later died at a hospital.

Velthoen was arrested at his Modesto home in the 2000 block of Terrance Way, northeast of Norwegian and McHenry avenues, said Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Clayton.

It was one of four Modesto locations searched Tuesday morning by the Central Valley Gang Intelligence Task force, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and the Modesto Police Department.

Thu
26
Sep
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Raising Hell, Raised by Hells Angels

In 1968, I was 6 years old. My family was holed up in a derelict shack on Stierlin Road in Mountain View, California, out by the city dump. The place was so small that my younger sister and I bunked on the back porch.

Our neighborhood was made up of sprawling family farms interspersed with clusters of World War I-era homes. There was a bar with six stools, a corner store and a handful of weathered Victorian mansions. It’s all gone now. Our little enclave was bulldozed to make a parking lot for Shoreline Amphitheatre, and the rest was swallowed up by the ravenous Googleplex. Amazingly, the impressive palm tree in our front yard is still standing.

Wed
25
Sep
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Modesto Hells Angels indicted in drug-trafficking case, says prosecutors- Here’s the details

A federal grand jury on Thursday charged three members of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club on various drug trafficking and distribution charges, giving yet another blow to the club after an inquiry earlier this year led to the club’s president being arrested.

The announcement was made in a Friday afternoon press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

Michael Shafer, 31-year-old second in command, Patrick Gonzales, the club’s 31-year-old secretary, and Hells Angels member Ricky Blackwell are accused in four separate charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.

 

Modesto Hells Angels indicted in drug-trafficking case, says prosecutors- Here's the details

Fri
20
Sep
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Modesto Hells Angels VP, Secretary Indicted on Drug Charges

The federal government’s investigation into the activities of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club yielded new indictments Thursday in Fresno.

Chapter vice president Michael Shafer, 31, of Modesto, was charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, conspiring to distribute heroin, distribution of marijuana, and two counts of use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.

Chapter secretary Patrick Gonzales, 31, of Modesto, was charged with being a felon in possession of firearm and ammunition.

Hells Angels member Ricky Blackwell was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and possession of a firearm after suffering a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.

U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the indictments in a news release.

Tue
17
Sep
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No grounds for murder try charge; Burlingame gets assault misdemeanor

The former Lathrop Manteca firefighter that was facing charges of attempted murder for a stabbing outside of a Manteca nightspot in December of 2017 has received probation.

Brandon Dean Burlingame, 36, accepted a plea deal Monday morning in which he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. 

According to Burlingame’s attorney Allen Sawyer, his client – who was facing felony charges that could have landed him in prison for life – will serve no additional jail time and will be placed on informal probation for three years, after which time the charge will be dismissed. 

As long as Burlingame’s probation isn’t violated, Sawyer said, the charge agreed to in the plea is eligible to become a simple assault charge. 

Thu
12
Sep
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‘This ain’t “Sons of Anarchy” ': Savage Assassins say officers trashed their party

The Savage Assassins might look tough. Many are covered in tattoos and wear patches depicting a satanic figure. All drive big Harleys.

But the motorcycle group’s founder, J. Upton, says Fresno deputies are the savage ones.

Upton said deputies crashed a Savage Assassins party last weekend, damaging property and toting off personal belongings in their search for an armed felon. The Savage Assassins said they don’t know the wanted man.

Fresno sheriff’s officials said seven “affiliates of a motorcycle gang” were arrested and 43 were detained early Sunday morning after an hours-long standoff. Of those arrested, only Rey Rodriguez, 31, of Fresno and Stephen Meza, 58, of Tulare were accused of being gang members in possession of firearms.

Upton, 39, said his group and the party’s guests were discriminated against because of their appearance, and they were slandered by being called a “gang.”

Thu
12
Sep
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Judge Refuses to Dismiss Murder Charge Involving Officer’s Killing

A judge refused Thursday to dismiss a second-degree murder count against a man charged with the shooting death of a Pomona SWAT officer who was helping to serve a search warrant at the San Gabriel home of the defendant’s family.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo said dismissal of the most serious charge against David Martinez was “not warranted,” telling attorneys that it will be up to a jury to decide if the defendant should be convicted or acquitted of the Oct. 28, 2014, killing of Officer Shaun Diamond.

The 45-year-old officer — who had 16 years of law enforcement experience with the Los Angeles, Montebello and Pomona police departments — died a day after the early-morning shooting.

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