Tue
11
Dec
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Could a notorious biker club's survival hinge on a trademark? The feds are betting on it

When federal prosecutors finally managed to put mobster Al Capone behind bars, it wasn’t for murder or bootlegging, but tax evasion.

Fast forward several decades and government lawyers in Southern California say a similarly novel tactic could be the key to taking down the Mongols, a notorious motorcycle club that has long been targeted by authorities for killings and drug trafficking.

Instead of tax returns, the court battle this time will be won or lost in the decidedly unexciting trenches of trademark and forfeiture law.

Wed
05
Dec
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Mongols’ Defense: A Club Can’t Conspire With Itself

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — A defense attorney for the Mongol Nation motorcycle club told a California jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors had not presented any evidence that the club ever violated racketeering laws or engaged in a conspiracy — indeed, he said, it could not be convicted of conspiracy because an entity cannot conspire with itself.

“There’s no evidence that the Mongol Nation conspired to do anything,” Joseph A. Yanny told the Orange County jury in his closing arguments.

“There are individual members” who have committed crimes, he acknowledged, but “there’s no evidence at all that the club joined in those activities.”

He said the club itself cannot be held liable for “isolated incidents committed by boneheads.”

Mon
03
Dec
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Bykes for Tykes has record year

COOS BAY — Santa rode south on his Harley for a special visit to Coos Bay so he could lead local motorcycle clubs in their annual Bykes for Tykes event over the weekend.

This is the 19th year that Walt Evans of Coos Cycle and Supply and his band of bikers joined together to donate bicycles and toys to families in need this Christmas.

“We have almost 300 bikes this year, that’s a record for us," Evans said. "We had 225 a couple years ago."

Last year, the Bykes for Tykes event donated 140 bikes which means this year the donation likely doubled in size. It’s important to note that Bykes for Tykes also collects hundreds of toys for donation as well.  

Unlike years past, the bikes and toys were donated to the Bus Jam fundraiser put on by local radio station K-Dock and the Rotary Club instead of being taken to the Salvation Army.

Mon
26
Nov
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Hellbent bikers provide security to Camp Fire evacuees at Chico church

CHICO — When members of the 823 Hellbent Motorcycle Club of Chico rode up to East Avenue Church just days after the Camp Fire began, they weren’t expecting what they saw.

What they expected was a few dozen evacuees. What they saw was hundreds living in fear and chaos.

The bikers had come to drop off 50 of about 100 hygiene kits they’d organized and assembled. They found hundreds of people who’d fled to the church as an unofficial shelter. The men left all 100 of their kits with volunteers, and understanding that it would barely make a dent in the need, they found the church’s pastor, Ron Zimmer to ask, what can we do?

What was needed — desperately — was security, Zimmer explained. Those first days were hectic and unorganized and everything was up for grabs if you got there first. The church volunteers were trying to keep everyone in order but they could only do so much and the Chico Police Department could only come out so many times during the day.

Fri
02
Nov
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Former federal agent testifies about his years undercover with the Mongols Motorcycle Club

A veteran federal agent who spent years undercover after infiltrating the notorious Mongols Motorcycle Club offered his first-hand account Thursday of a secretive culture of violence and intimidation during testimony in an ongoing federal racketeering trial.

The three years that Darrin Kozlowski and three other U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Officers spent embedded in the outlaw motorcycle club already has led to guilty pleas from 77 members of the Mongols. Now, the since-retired special agents’ efforts are at the center of the government’s attempts to seize legal control over the Mongols’ trademark name, a move that would bar the bikers from wearing the patches that now adorn their vests.

Thu
25
Oct
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Upland candidate Rudy Zuñiga says he quit the Vagos motorcycle gang, criticizes police chief

Upland City Council candidate Rudy Zuñiga and his supporters are criticizing Police Chief Darren Goodman over comments he made about documents showing Zuñiga was once a member of the Vagos motorcycle gang.

“For Chief Goodman to assume that I’m a gang member when I’ve never spoke to you, you don’t know me, we never had any conversations,” Zuñiga told the council and Goodman Monday, Oct. 22, during the public comment portion of the regular council meeting. “I’m not what you think I am. I’m actually a really nice guy.”

During the meeting, Zuñiga said he was part of the gang in the past, but said his name should have fallen out of the state’s gang database after he hadn’t been active for more than five years.

Mon
15
Oct
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How I Infiltrated a Dangerous L.A. Motorcycle Gang—and Lived to Talk About It

Sun
14
Oct
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Mongols motorcycle club returns to Palm Springs for annual event

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Mongols motorcycle club is back in Palm Springs for their annual event -- selling out all 255 rooms at the Hilton in downtown Palm Springs. The Palm Springs police department has implemented extra security measures in the surrounding area out of "an abundance of caution."

“You can’t escape the noise...there’s a couple hundred that come in at one time with all the bikes. So you got the vibrations of the bikes coming up and yeah...it’s a pretty large spectacle,” said Shannon Anderson, the General Manager of the Hilton Palm Springs.  

Some locals expressed concern with the return of the biker group. “If you even Wikipedia them...and it says rape, murder drugs...I think it makes people feel uncomfortable,” said Marsha Robinson, a local shop owner. One bar said they refuse to let anyone inside wearing a leather Mongol vest. 

Thu
11
Oct
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Hundreds of members of outlaw Mongols motorcycle club staying in Palm Springs this weekend

(video) --- If you see more police on the streets of Palm Springs this weekend, it's because the notorious Mongols Motorcycle Club is coming to town.

The group will be holding a membership meeting at the Hilton hotel in Downtown Palm Springs and Palm Springs police will increase its presence in what police Lt. Frank Browning called "an abundance of caution."

Police wouldn't comment on their plans, but Browning, in a post on the social media site Nextdoor, said the department was expecting several hundred members of the Mongols to hit the streets this weekend.

"We have sought out the assistance of numerous police agencies to ensure everyone’s safety, and security remains a priority," he wrote.

Tue
09
Oct
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Police records: Upland council candidate Rudy Zuñiga is Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang member

A candidate for Upland City Council is more than the business owner he declares himself to be on the November ballot, according to records from Upland police. Rudy Zuñiga, 47, is a documented member of the Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang, police records show, leading the city’s top cop to question his fitness for elected office.

During a traffic stop seven years ago, Zuñiga told Upland police Officer Maurice Duran he was a member of the outlaw group, according to the field interview report filed by Duran that day. Since Zuñiga announced his candidacy for Upland City Council, he has made mention of his affiliation with motorcycle enthusiasts but has not publicly identified the group.

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