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Saturday, 2 March 2013

The vice president of the Rock Hill Hells Angels club, who pleaded guilty two months ago to federal racketeering charges, wants to withdraw that plea

The vice president of the Rock Hill Hells Angels club, who pleaded guilty two months ago to federal racketeering charges, wants to withdraw that plea, claiming that prosecutors and the FBI misled him, court documents show.

“Diamond” Dan Bifield of the Rock Hell City Nomads chapter avoided being part of a federal trial that alleges a vast web of drug dealing and other crimes by the Hells Angels and fellow bikers.

But now – as the trial against four of Bifield’s associates finishes its third week – Bifield claims prosecutorial misconduct in the case where 20 were arrested in a June 2012 raid across South Carolina and North Carolina.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Drake declined to comment on Bifield’s allegations because of the trial. A response to Bifield’s claims will come “in due course,” she said.

Bifield, who had other charges dropped in the plea deal, claims he “sacrificed” himself in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. He maintains that he has been on lockdown 23 hours a day since his arrest, and “lies” were told to turn his wife against him.

Lisa Bifield, one of the 20 arrested, also pleaded guilty to a single charge in exchange for prosecutors dropping several other charges. Dan Bifield claims that he did not know his wife had agreed to plead guilty to possession of a firearm associated with trafficking and crimes of violence. He also alleges that he was not told his wife would testify in the trial against others.

“The U.S. Attorney used my wife, Lisa Bifield, to place me under duress for me to sign a plea deal by threatening to put my wife in prison for 14 years and telling her she will never see her 14-year-old daughter again,” Bifield alleges in a handwritten affidavit filed Feb. 19 in federal court.

Bifield, who lived near Columbia, pleaded guilty to being a ringleader in what prosecutors say is a web of money laundering, weapons and cocaine and methamphetamine distribution throughout the Carolinas and stretching to the Northeast.

Bifield’s lawyer, assistant federal public defender Allen Burnside, could not be reached for comment Friday. No action on Bifield’s allegations is expected until after the trial is finished. Bifield had been scheduled for sentencing later this month.

The trial of four of the others charged in the June raid has been taking place in U.S. District Court in Columbia. Prosecutors finished presenting evidence Thursday, after which the judge dismissed charges against a fifth defendant, Donald “Brooklyn Donnie” Boersma of Clover.

Boersma said he was innocent but declined to discuss the cases against his codefendants.

Boersma’s lawyer, Herbert Louthian Sr., said Boersma “had the courage” to fight to clear his name. Louthian declined to speak about other defendants or the trial, but he said the government’s claims against Boersma, a prospective Hells Angels member, were not backed up by evidence.

“I felt the government’s case was weak,” Louthian said. Federal prosecutors and police “had a good story but didn’t have the facts to support it.”

Still facing multiple charges in the current trial are: Rock Hill Hells Angels president Mark William “Lightning” Baker, David Channing “Gravel Dave” Oiler, Bruce James “Bruce-Bruce” Long and Thomas McManus “Uncle Tom” Plyler.

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