SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Northern California members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club have been indicted on multiple federal charges, including murder; the announcement coming days after a raid in Santa Rosa and arrests in other cities.
Eleven indictments were returned by a grand jury on October 10 and unsealed Monday morning, according to First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Tse, who spoke at a press conference in San Francisco Monday.
Tse said the 11 people include eight members of the Sonoma County Hells Angels chapter, one from the Fresno chapter, another from the Salem/Boston chapter. They face federal racketeering charges including murder, maiming, home invasion robbery, extortion, witness tampering.
According to the complaint, members of the Hells Angels Sonoma chapter committed acts of violence to maintain and enhance membership and discipline within the gang, including against its own members.
The indictment alleges 40-year-old Brian Wendt of Tulare murdered an unnamed victim at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse and was aided in the murder by three co-conspirators: Russell Ott, 64, and Jonathan Nelson, 41, both from Santa Rosa; and Christopher Ranieri, 49, of Lynn, Mass.
Another one of the defendants is the former president of the Hells Angels Sonoma County chapter, Raymond ‘Ray Ray’ Foakes, who was previously convicted of mortgage fraud. Foakes now faces charges of conspiracy, maiming in the aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon and witness intimidation.
On Saturday, federal, state and local law enforcement raided the Wagon Wheel Saloon in Santa Rosa, as well as a home in the city’s Bellevue Ranch neighborhood. The Wagon Wheel was the departure point for a Hells Angels event billed as “Red and White End of Summer Run” on that day.
Six people were arrested at the Wagon Wheel, one person arrested in San Francisco, one in Fresno and another person in Boston, Tse said, adding most of the defendants appeared in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco Monday morning.
FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Jack Bennett said the arrests and indictments were the culmination of a three-year investigation which included Santa Rosa Police, the California Highway Patrol and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Bennet said officers raided 13 different locations, seizing weapons, drugs, motorcycles, and blood-stained garments which would be tested for DNA matches.
“The organized criminal activity was designed to instill fear in the parts of Santa Rosa that are around the motorcycle gangs,” said Bennett. “The victims have lost their lives, their property, and the neighbors, their sense of safety.”
The weapons seized included “everything from handguns to shoulder-fired weapons,” said Bennett.