MODESTO — Federal agents stormed a Hells Angels clubhouse in downtown Modesto, along with a home in Salida and a home in west Modesto Tuesday morning.
The FBI would not comment on what the investigation was about, but the group’s attorney said the FBI has at least four arrest warrants and has already taken three people, one of whom is a member of the motorcycle club, into custody.
“When you represent Hells Angels or when you’re a member or an affiliate of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, this becomes, unfortunately, pretty common practice,” attorney Claire White said in a phone call with FOX40.
Seven locations were searched.
The Department of Justice said the Modesto chapter president, Randy Picchi, his wife, Tina, and Michael Mize were taken into custody Tuesday.
“There’s a fourth person who is allegedly a prospect of the club who has a warrant issued in his name,” the group’s attorney said.
He was later identified as Michael Pack.
Jay Dobyn, a retired undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said he understands how the group works.
“They portray themselves to be harmless and good-natured and civic-minded, and at times, they are,” Dobyn said.
Dobyn said he worked undercover and investigated a Hells Angels chapter in Arizona 16 years ago.
“At many times they’re extremely violent, extremely wicked, territorial,” he said.
Stanislaus State Professor Blake Wilson is a former Bay Area criminal defense attorney. He said 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,” he said.
Wilson explained 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,” Wilsons said.
The suspects will appear in the Fresno federal court Wednesday. If convicted, each suspect could face at least 10 years in federal prison.