Watch FBI serve warrants in Modesto, Salida
The president of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, his wife and another defendant made their first court appearance in federal court on Wednesday.
Modesto residents Randy Picchi, 61, president of the club; his wife Tina Picchi, 51; Michael Mize, 61; and Michael Pack, 32, a prospect with the club, are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
The defendants were read the charges against them on Wednesday, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 12.
Randy Picchi was the leader of a drug ring and Tina Picchi regularly delivered drugs to Mize and other people in Ceres, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.
The case was developed from wiretaps on Randy and Tina Picchi’s phones, surveillance of the suspects and traffic stops, according to the affidavit. Local law enforcement assisted the FBI in the investigation.
At Randy Picchi’s direction, Tina Picchi delivered “distribution-level quantities” of narcotics to Mize and others five or six times a week, the document said.
During surveillance, investigators learned that Tina Picchi’s regular route was to Mize’s home in Modesto, then to a location in Ceres, according to the affidavit.
In intercepted phone calls, investigators heard the suspects discuss things like the quantity, purchase and payment for drugs; getting pulled over by law enforcement while transporting the drugs; and a bad batch of methamphetamine and remedying it by cutting it with a different batch, the affidavit said.
Through the wiretapped conversations, the affidavit details the control Randy Picchi had over his wife’s drug trafficking, which he referred to as her “errands.”
In one recorded conversation with her mother, Tina Picchi says, “Every dime of money we make he buys more dope and more dope and more dope. He just spent six thousand dollars buying more dope yesterday. I said, ‘You know what are we doing it for; we can’t move; we can’t get nothing .... I can’t get a diamond ring. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.’ ”
Mize was stopped by agents on March 29 after allegedly selling drugs to a man on a bicycle and found to be in possession of 10 grams of methamphetamine.
In April, Randy Picchi directed his wife to pick up a pound of methamphetamine from Hells Angels prospect Mike Pack, the affidavit said. Pack was pulled over by a Modesto police officer on April 19 and found to be in possession of 499 grams of methamphetamine, investigators said.
Tina Picchi was stopped by law enforcement twice, once in March and once in April, while on her route to deliver drugs, according to the affidavit. Police dogs alerted to the presence of drugs, but officers were not able to locate any, the document said.
The wiretap later recorded her discussing transporting the drugs by placing them in a body cavity, the affidavit said.
On May 11, she was stopped again while driving on Interstate 5 to make a delivery to a customer in Redding, it said. That time, a California Highway Patrol officer found about 4 ounces of methamphetamine wrapped in a plastic glove and hidden in a cup of soda, according to the affidavit.
The investigation culminated Tuesday when the FBI and local law enforcement served search warrants at seven locations in Stanislaus County, including the clubhouse of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in downtown Modesto.
Randy and Tina Picchi and Mize were arrested, but Pack remains at large.
The Fresno Bee contributed to this report.