Crime

Grand jury charges more Modesto Hells Angels members in federal drug trafficking case

A federal grand jury has indicted three more members of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club as part of a drug trafficking investigation that led to the arrests of the club’s president and three others earlier this year.

Michael Shafer, 31, of Modesto, the club’s vice president; Patrick Gonzales, 31, of Modesto, the club’s secretary; and Hells Angels member Ricky Blackwell were charged Thursday in four indictments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento announced in a news release Friday afternoon.

Shafer is accused of conspiring to distribute marijuana, conspiring to distribute heroin and distributing marijuana, along with two counts of using a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking. Gonzales is accused of being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.

Blackwell is accused of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute the drug, possessing a gun while trafficking drugs and possessing a gun after being convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence.

The federal prosecutors said investigators served search warrants at the homes of Shafer and Gonzales, along with other locations.

The investigators found at Gonzales’ home the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club World Rules, prosecutors said, the rule book that governs all Hells Angels Motorcycle Clubs.

Investigators also found the rules for the Modesto charter of the Hells Angels, club meeting minutes, membership information and membership agreements, according to the news release.

In late June, the Modesto club’s president Randy Picchi, his wife Tina Picchi, Michael Mize, and Michael Pack, a prospect with the club, were arrested after investigators served search warrants at seven locations in Stanislaus County, including the Hells Angels clubhouse on Seventh Street in downtown Modesto.

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FBI and ATF agents and Modesto police officers served search warrants at the Seventh Street clubhouse of the Hells Angels motorcyle club in downtown Modesto, Calif. on Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019. Taken from the building were several bags of property and three motorcycles, which were loaded onto flatbed tow trucks. Deke Farrow jfarrow@modbee.com

The Picchis, Mize, and Pack face federal charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Prosecutors allege that Picchi was the leader of a drug ring, and his wife regularly delivered drugs to Mize and others in Ceres.

At the Modesto clubhouse in June, ATF and FBI agents carried off several plastic bags containing seized property. They also carried away three motorcycles after loading them onto two flatbed tow trucks.

If convicted, Shafer could face five to 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine, according to prosecutors. They said Gonzales could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine if convicted, and Blackwell could face five years to life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.
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