Fri
01
Feb
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Mongols Motorcycle Club vows to fight trademark loss

(video) --- EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) --

The federal government said they're a convicted criminal gang, and Hell's Angels consider them enemies. They call themselves the Mongols Motorcycle Club - and they're one of the most notorious MC groups in the world.

"It's about honor, respect and pride," David Santillan said.

But for this East L.A.-born brotherhood, the last few years have been a fight for survival. They've been under federal indictment for the last decade. And recently, a federal jury in Santa Ana convicted the national club of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy for murder, attempted murder and drug dealing.

More than 75 of their members were convicted - including their former president Ruben "Doc" Cavazos. But the biggest blow of all - hit them where it hurts the most, they lost the rights to their trademarked emblem.

Wed
16
Jan
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Federal judge to allow experts to weigh in on whether the government can seize Mongols motorcycle club’s trademark

The first-of-its-kind effort to take control of the outlaw motorcycle club's prized patches would break new legal ground

A federal judge presiding over the high-profile Mongols motorcycle club trial has agreed to put out a wide-ranging call for expert legal input on the implications of the government’s unprecedented efforts to gain control of the well-known insignia worn by club members.

Less than a week after a Santa Ana jury decided the notorious outlaw club must forfeit the trademark to its logo, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on Wednesday agreed to solicit briefs from a variety of experts, including trademark attorneys, law school professors, civil rights organizations and think tanks.

Fri
11
Jan
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Jury Decides to Strip Mongols Biker Gang of Trademark Logo

Federal prosecutors say a California jury has decided the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California jury decided Friday that the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo in a first-of-its-kind verdict, federal prosecutors said.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana jury previously found Mongol Nation, the entity that owns the image of a Mongol warrior on a chopper, guilty of racketeering and conspiracy.

The verdict caps an unusual decade-long quest by prosecutors to dismantle the gang responsible for drug dealing and murder by seizing control of the trademark they said was core to the gang's identity.

Gang members were "empowered by these symbols that they wear like armor," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Welk argued.

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.

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