(CNN) – Federal agents raided the Hells Angels clubhouse in Modesto Tuesday, along with homes in Salida and West Modesto. Authorities say the raids were in conjunction with a drug investigation. Now, the club’s president and several others are facing charges for conspiracy to distribute meth.
Representatives with the Department of Justice say all of this are evidence that some Hells Angels members trafficked meth. “When you represent Hells Angels, or when you’re a member or affiliate of the Hells Angels Motorcycle club, this becomes unfortunately a pretty common practice,” said Claire White, attorney for Hell’s Angels
Agents raided homes in Salida and West Modesto, along with the Hells Angels clubhouse in downtown Modesto Tuesday morning. According to the DOJ, three people are now in custody — including the Modesto chapter president and his wife. “There’s a fourth person who is allegedly a prospect (potential member) of the club who has a warrant issued in his name,” said Wilson.
Former undercover Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent Jay Dobyn says he understands how the group works, “they portray themselves to be harmless, and good-natured, and civic minded, and at times — at times — they are.” Dobyn says he went undercover and investigated the Hells Angels branch in Arizona 16 years ago and that members are anything but angelic, “at many times, they’re extremely violent, extremely wicked, territorial.”
Blake Wilson, Criminal Justice Assistant Professor at Stanislaus State says, “I’ve defended many members of Hells Angels.” He says it would be unfair to stereotype the group, “they all have their own story and their own reasons and their own explanation or justifications for their situation.”
Wilson explains that since the group is recognized as a corporation, it’s not as tough to search and seize evidence, “getting a search warrant to search a business or a corporation is a lot easier than searching somebody’s home.
The suspects will be in federal court Wednesday.