The infamous motorcycle gang Hells Angels have sued the federal government over a 2011 DEA bust that included an explosion at one of the group’s clubhouses in LA. The explosion in San Diego County, California’s city of El Cajon is detailed in a recent Vice story.
The official name of the Hells Angels is the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. It is a global motorcycle club known for its tough members who usually ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Considered an organized crime syndicate by the U.S. Department of Justice, the group is also incorporated as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation in the U.S. and Canada. It is estimated that the elite club has about 2,000 to 3,000 members in 250 countries around the world.
Club members have frequent encounters with the law in both Canada and the U.S. In Canada, ex-Hells Angels member Jesse Leigh Bitz was found guilty of making threats against his former boss, according to The Star Phoenix.
The El Cajon raid, which was part of an investigation that spanned two years, was supposed to lead DEA agents to certain Hells Angels members. One member, Maurice Eunice, filed a lawsuit against the government, charging that they used the clubhouse explosion as a show for the media and conducted an unreasonable search and seizure.
The civil rights lawyer who filed the case, Julia Yoo, told Vice that they found photos of Hells Angels members inside the clubhouse who had been stomped on, causing Mr. Eunice emotional distress. Yoo also said that a video of that day proves the media was tipped off as their presence grows just prior to the explosion.
There have been other lawsuits by Hells Angels members in the past few years, including a 2012 suit against the U.S. government over the denial of visas for foreign members. That case was dismissed, and the most recent one filed by Eunice has been delayed.
But legal battles against the Hells Angels by the government have had more success. In California, The Record-Bee reports that a case that’s been languishing for three years is about to head to trial. The case is over a 2011 casino fight between some Hells Angels members and another motorcycle gang that was caught on video.
The fight involved one Vagos Motorcycle Club member and three Hells Angels members. During the trial, the jury will use the video footage to see if they can determine if the fight was picked by one side or another, and they will also have to decide whether it was a planned attack by Hells Angels or the result of tempers gone awry on the spot.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]