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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Pagans national president arrested in raid

national president of the Pagans motorcycle gang was jailed on drug distribution charges overnight after a state police raid on his home in Hempfield, Westmoreland County, that troopers said turned up cocaine and methamphetamine.

Dennis "Rooster" Katona, 45, of Ember Lane, was arraigned on charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver and held on $750,000 bond in the Westmoreland County Prison.

Troopers swarmed over the house Wednesday afternoon while a state police helicopter hovered overhead, causing a stir in the rural neighborhood. Mr. Katona, who was released from federal prison in 2006 following his conviction for a leadership role in a bloody attack on the rival Hell's Angels in New York in 2002, formerly lived in Jefferson Hills and had long been under investigation by the state police organized crime unit.

Police began building a case in the mid-2000s against the Pagans, whose national headquarters is a farmhouse in Fallowfield, Washington County. A state grand jury presentment handed up in Allegheny County in 2009 laid out the structure of the gang, including its four local chapters and the national "Mother Club," and accused members of the Greensburg chapter with distributing drugs supplied from Mexican dealers in Atlanta.

Five members were prosecuted, although the leader, Raymond Overly of Belle Vernon, head of the Greensburg chapter, got away. He remains a fugitive and is believed to be in Florida.

Mr. Katona was still in federal prison when that investigation began and was not charged as part of it, but police later began preparing a separate case against him that culminated in yesterday's raid. Troopers said they seized numerous items from the Ember Lane house, including "multi-ounce" quantities of cocaine and meth.

In the earlier New York case, Mr. Katona had been identified by a federal grand jury as the sergeant-at-arms of the Pagans' Mother Club and the owner of East Coast Cycles Inc., which had motorcycle shops in Rostraver, Florida, Germany and Austria.

According to police and the FBI in New York, Mr. Katona was one of the plotters in the attack on the Hell's Angels' "Hellraiser Ball" on Long Island that involved some 72 Pagans, many of whom live in Pennsylvania.

The Pagans is one of four major outlaw motorcycle gangs in the U.S. but have always been the most prominent in Western Pennsylvania. Two FBI investigations using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in the 1980s crippled them here, but police said they have continued to distribute marijuana, cocaine and meth in the region.

Several other prosecutions have hurt them in the last several years. Most recently, Richard "Big Rick" Speciale, a high-ranking Pagan from Ross, was charged in federal court in West Virginia with distributing cocaine from June 2007, just months after his release from federal prison on a previous cocaine conviction, to January 2010, when Pittsburgh police and the attorney general's office arrested him in Ross.

In March, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg, W.Va.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Police are searching for a fugitive full-patch Hells Angel charged with murder in the beating death of Kelowna dad Dain Phillips.

Investigators spent the weekend trying to locate Robert Leonard Thomas, a 46-year-old member of the Kelowna chapter of the notorious biker gang.

Thomas, full-patch Angel Norm Cocks and five other associates are facing second-degree murder charges in the fatal assault on Phillips on June 12, during which baseball bats and hammers were used.

The other six suspects were picked up Saturday and Sunday, but Thomas remains at large.

He was once associated with the East End chapter of the Hells Angels and was arrested outside the East Georgia clubhouse in July 2005 in an unrelated case.

Sgt. Shinder Kirk, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest has been issued.

"His current whereabouts is unknown," Kirk said Tuesday, urging people to call their local police if they see him.

Thomas is described as heavily tattooed, 5-feet-7-inches and about 221 pounds.

He owns a 2004 Ford F150 truck, according to the personal property registry, and is listed on the truck's record as living in the 900-block of Clement Avenue in Kelowna.

Phillips, who was a married father of three, tried to intervene peacefully in a dispute two of his sons were having with a pair of brothers with whom they had attended Rutland secondary.

But when Phillips drove to a meeting place on McCurdy Road just before 7 p.m. June 12, he was attacked by a group of men who had arrived in two separate vehicles. He died later in hospital.

CSFEU Supt. Pat Fogarty said Phillips was simply trying to do the right thing and resolve the problem when he was savagely attacked.

He said the special enforcement unit worked closely with Kelowna RCMP in the case as it already had an overlapping investigation dubbed E-Pixie involving some of the same suspects.

"At this time, we are unable to go into full details or to name the E-Pixie suspects as that investigation is active and continues to unfold," Fogarty said.

The other investigation stemmed from the attempted murder of a 27-year-old Edmonton resident in Kelowna Sept. 10.

CSFEU head Supt. Doug Kiloh said police and B.C. residents have seen the migration of Metro Vancouver gang violence to the Okanagan and other parts of the province.

The others charged in Phillips's murder - Robert Cocks, the 52-year-old president of the Throttle Lockers puppet club, brothers Daniel McRae, 20, and Matt McRae, 19, Anson Schell, 19 and Thomas Vaughan, 22 - are all described as associates of the Kelowna Hells Angels chapter, which opened in 2007.

"The arrests of these members of the Hells Angels or any other criminal group show that we will aggressively pursue any individuals who use violence or threats to protect or to expand their criminal enterprises anywhere in British Columbia," Fogarty said.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Four more bikies have been arrested over a violent brawl at a nightclub in Adelaide.

Police said the brawl erupted between members of the Hells Angels and Finks bikie gangs at the City nightclub in Hindley Street on May 29.

The four men include three Hells Angels associates and one Finks member.

Twelve men were initially charged over the brawl following a series of police raids last Friday.

The four arrested men have been released on bail and will be jointly charged alongside the initial 12 suspects.


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