Anchorage Daily News (AK) - November 11, 1987
Author: NANCY MONTGOMERY Daily News reporter ; Staff
Fourteen Alaska Hell's Angels nearly the entire Alaska club membership,
according to the FBI were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with drugs
and weapons violations and conspiracy to murder rival gang members.
The arrests were part of a roundup of 38 Hells Angels , including three
national leaders, in Alaska, California, Kentucky, North Carolina and
South Carolina, according to the Justice Department.
Anchoragebased federal agents and police, and 38 FBI agents and a dozen
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents flown up from the Lower 48 started
simultaneous raids in Anchorage and Fairbanks at 9 a.m.
More than 75 guns, ammunition, silencers, a crossbow and a quantity
of cocaine were seized in the Alaska raids. Some of the cocaine was
packaged in salmon cans and containers of Old Spice shaving cream for
The arrests were the result of an investigation that began 21 2 years ago
when an Alaska Hell's Angel approached law enforcement officials and became
an informant, said Chuck Lontor, Anchorage FBI special agent in charge.
Lontor would not reveal the man's motive for becoming an informant.
The man rose through the ranks of the Hell's Angels to become one of the
club's national officers, tape recording meetings as he went.
During the investigation, the informant and undercover agents purchased
more than 20 pounds of high explosives, three automatic weapons, two
silencers and methamphetamine and cocaine valued at $1.6 million, the
Justice Department said.
The informant also helped agents follow an unfolding plan to use
explosives to murder members of the Outlaws Motorcycle club, a group
located in Texas and the southeast, Lontor said.
Lontor would not name the informant, what rank he had achieved within
the club or his current whereabouts, for security's sake, he said. The
man is a likely candidate for a new name and identity provided by the
witness protection program, he said.
The murder conspiracy was allegedly in retaliation for the Aug. 12, 1986,
killing of Hell's Angels member John Cleve, authorities said.
Cleve was an Anchorage chapter member murdered in a Louisville, Ky.,
bar after he wore his "colors" or Hell's Angels insignia inside the bar
despite being warned against doing so, according to John Stephen Graham
of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Graham said the Angels
believe the Outlaws were responsible for the killing.
Four Fairbanks men and three Anchorage men will be charged with conspiracy
to commit murder, said Hassel Caudill, special agent in charge of the
Seattle office of the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The Fairbanks men are Jeffrey L. Esley, 32; Dennis Pailing, 32; Charles
Potter, 40; and Mark Greer, 32, Caudill said. All were reported living
at Mile 7 on the Richardson Highway. He was unable to identify the
Anchorage men to be charged with the conspiracy to commit murder.
In Anchorage, a total of 10 men were arrested: Edwin Hubert, 35, of
Primrose Street, and Montgomery Elliott, 34, of Barbara Street, were
charged with cocaine distribution; Rick Fabel, 30, of Lois Drive, was
charged with possession of a machine gun and altering a gun's serial
number; Dan McIntosh, 40, of Dorbrandt Street, was charged with possession
of a destructive device and silencer and dealing in explosives; Thomas
Vinczen, 25, of Rivera Court, was charged with possessing and transferring
a machine gun and silencer; Chris Livesay, 32, of Carnelian Street,
was charged with possession and transfer of a machine gun and being a
felon in possession of a firearm, and Daniel Watson, 23, of Bliss Street,
was charged with possession of a machine gun, a large caliber handgun,
and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Fable, Livesay and McIntosh were arraigned in U.S. District Court Tuesday
Also arrested in Anchorage were: Rick Rikelman, 32, and Gerald Protzman,
38, of Rosewood Street; William Spearman, 45, of Barbara Street, and
Russell Hagel, 38, of Aurora Street in Eagle River. No charges had been
filed against them in District Court Tuesday.
Lontor said the arrests proceeded without incident. "They were very
polite," he said.
"I think we did a real number on them," said Lontor, who estimated that
only three or four Alaska Hell's Angels had escaped arrest and prosecution.
Still, security was beefed up Tuesday at the U.S. District Court, with
metal detectors and scanners in preparation for the men's arraignments,
Lontor said. But a Federal Building official said the security measures
would be permanent.
Federal agents estimate the Hell's Angels number some 800 in more than
60 chapters throughout the world. The group was founded 37 years ago in
the California steel town of Fontana and has maintained a notorious
In recent years, members had built a sophisticated crime network with
tax shelters, highpriced lawyers, computers to manage their administrative
and financial matters and an arsenal of weapons including antitank rockets,
Claymore mines and M60 machine guns, according to authorities.
In 1985, a 50city Angels' dragnet codenamed Operation Roughrider resulted
in the arrests of 100 Angels, mostly on federal drug and racketeering
charges. Authorities then said the Angels were supplanting the Mafia in
some forms of racketeering.
"It's thought they control the methamphetamine industry," said ATF special
agent Caudill, who said they'd also been bowing to market demands and selling
more cocaine of late.
The Alaska chapter was accepted by the national organization in 1983, after
spending 16 years as The Brothers. Rick Rikelman, then president of the
Anchorage chapter, said there were about 50 members in Anchorage, Fairbanks
and the MatSu Valley.
"We're the best in Alaska," Rikelman said in 1982, anticipating acceptance
into the Angels. "Now we're going to be the best in the world."
The group invested in an auto wrecking business and sponsored a musher in
the 1984 Iditarod. Although its numbers had apparently shrunk to less than
half, Caudill said the Alaska chapter played a "prominent" role within the
organization and religiously attended national runs.
"If you're from the Lower 48, it strikes you funny that people who ride
Harleys would live in this climate," he said.
Edition: Final Section: Metro Page: C1 Record Number: 223140 Copyright (c) 1987, Anchorage Daily News