Source- Naples Daily News
Five members of a Florida west coast motorcycle gang Friday were indicted in multiple crimes, including murder.
The Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney Office in Tampa announced the charges against five members of the 69’ers Motorcycle Club. Indicted were Christopher Brian Cosimano, aka “Durty,” 30 of Gibstonton; Michael Dominick Mencher, aka “Pumpkin,” 51, of Tarpon Springs; Allan Burt Guinto, aka “Big Beefy,” 27, Brandon; Erick Richard Robinson, aka “Big E,” 45, of Zephyrhills; and Cody James Wesling, aka “Little Savage,” 27, of Riverview.
They were indicted on multiple violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity, including conspiracy, murder, and assault with a dangerous weapon. They have also been charged with firearms offenses and narcotics trafficking.
Cosimano, Mencher, Guinto, Wesling, and Robinson were members of the 69’ers Motorcycle Club, a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence and narcotics distribution, the indictment stated.
On Dec. 21, Cosimano, Mencher, Guinto, and Wesling shot and killed Paul Anderson, the president of the Cross Bayou Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Cosimano also shot and wounded James Costa, the president of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, on July 25.
If convicted of all charges, Cosimano, Mencher, Guinto, and Wesling each face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. If convicted of all charges, Robinson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Robinson and Wesling were arrested yesterday and will make their initial appearances today at 2:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli. Cosimano, Mencher, and Guinto are currently in state custody and will make their initial appearances on a later date.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Tampa Police Department, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Petersburg Police Department, and the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carlton C. Gammons and Natalie Hirt Adams.
Source: The National Post
As temperatures climb and the residuum of salt and grit from winter driving clears, Canada’s bikers start an annual routine.
Riding season is a consideration for every motorcyclist in the country, but for the subset of riders in outlaw motorcycle clubs the routine is regimented — perhaps surprisingly for bands of outlaws, bikers have strict internal rules, and in Canada those rules stipulate exactly when they have to ride their Harley-Davidson motorcycles. If they don’t have a road-worthy bike for the opening of the season, their club typically levies a fine.
The season begins with a mandatory “on-the-road” date in spring and ends with an “off-the-road” date in autumn, two points on a calendar marked by raucous parties that energize not only the bikers but also the police tasked with monitoring them. So from Victoria Day weekend in Niagara Falls to the sprawling Friday the 13th motorcycle bash in Port Dover in October, the National Post followed along as Ontario’s bikers and cops did their colourful tango through 2017’s riding season.
“We’re trying to provide a police monitor of the events, to try to ensure public safety, gather any evidence of criminal activity and gather intelligence and information about the biker gangs involved,” said Ontario Provincial Police Det. Sgt. Scott Wade, a member of the Biker Enforcement Unit, a joint force including members of the OPP and several municipal police services.
While the seasonal events orbit around fun, there is another purpose behind the gatherings.
“It flies the flag. The power of the patch is something that is palpable,” Wade said of the clubs’ names and logos on the back of members’ jackets. “These rides promote that power of the patch and project that power across the province.”
At the Universal Inn And Suites in downtown Niagara Falls, every room was booked in advance for a party hosted by the Bacchus Motorcycle Club. It seemed a courtesy, as bikers continuously milled out front, day and night, greeting arriving members with bear hugs and handshakes, slipping beer into the hands of those newly arrived.
Members of the BEU discreetly — but openly — watched from across the street. Anytime a biker spotted a camera lens pointing at them they raised their middle finger.
“We don’t mind that they know we are here,” Wade said. “We’re not hiding. But we often don’t have much in the way of interaction. We don’t need to. They know we are here and we know where they are and it helps to improve public safety.”
The Bacchus is the second-largest outlaw motorcycle club in Canada, according to police. Members of several friendly clubs, including Vagabonds, Para-Dice Riders and the Hawks, joined them for their party.
Many members of the Bacchus came for the weekend from the east coast where the club was born. Several flew in. Others arrived in pick-up trucks towing Harley-Davidsons, so they could ride with their brothers around town.
At the nearby Best Western, the Hells Angels had their own plans underway. By far the largest biker club in Canada and the world, their spring party was bigger and fancier than what could be seen of the Bacchus affair. The club booked about 50 rooms at the hotel, while other members stayed at the casino nearby — many on points, as good casino customers do. Joining the Hells Angels were members of several support clubs and other friendlies, including the Red Devils, the Longhorns and the Stolen Souls.
If the long line of gleaming Harleys weren’t enough of a marker, orange pylons blocked off a portion of the parking lot. Under a large red awning sporting the Hells Angels’ logo, a merchandise table offered T-shirts and trinkets for sale to curious passersby as a barbecue smoked and sputtered.
This was the marketing end of the weekend run.
“These guys are great guys. Very polite — ‘Yes sir, no sir’ — and my guys have no problems,” said John Forbeck, valet manager for the Fallsview Group, the hotel’s owners. “They’re not causing any trouble.”
Some of those hosting the bikers were uneasy talking about it.
“Why let your tongue get your teeth knocked out,” one quipped. The truth is, bikers are usually good customers: they tend to tip well, and if there is any damage there is a fast cash offer to take care of it, some said. Between all the clubs, police estimated about 200 to 250 outlaw bikers were Niagara Falls for the weekend. Club members rebuffed the Post’s attempts at interviews.
“We do find that in these public settings, when they are in the public eye, I’d say they are on their best behaviour and we don’t have the same amount of problems with them,” said Wade. “They live and breathe and are structured around committing crime,” he said, “but as far as direct interaction with them, a lot of times people who live near them say there are no problems.”
The real action for the Hells Angels wasn’t in the hotel parking lot. For that, they headed to the clubhouse of their Niagara chapter, host to the key party of the weekend. The clubhouse, a former wrecking yard on Garner Rd., is at the edge of town, on the other side of the Queen Elizabeth Way from the famous waterfalls. An enormous tent was set up. Unlike the parking lot canopy, this one blocked any glimpse inside.
On Saturday night, bikers and their guests swarmed the property. Prospect members, those who have formally started but not completed the arduous membership process, did most of the heavy lifting. Some spent the night watching the driveway, vetting the occupants of cabs, trucks and vans as they pulled up and greeting those arriving on bikes with colours on display.
Across the road, and dotted around the area, members of the BEU watched, some with cameras and binoculars. They wore police uniforms, at least most of them did, and sat in marked police vehicles
One of the Hells Angels wandered over to a police SUV. He waved, leaned into a window and chatted. Another member stopped and asked officers if it was legal for him to park on the street out front.
As a stretch limo cruised past the cops, a hand emerged from an unwinding, darkened window and a middle finger slowly rose.
As people continued to arrive, including cabs filled with young women in short skirts, the sound of an amplified announcer was heard, coming from inside the tent, followed by loud cheering.
Boxing matches — many of them between members — had begun.
Over the past 36 years, Friday the 13th motorcycle rides to Port Dover, a quaint town on the north shore of Lake Erie, have become legendary. With a Friday the 13th falling in October in 2017, it was the perfect way for any rider, including outlaw bikers, to close the riding season.
With good weather, the event was shockingly large. It is one for all riders, not just those wearing colours; outlaw bikers were a small fraction of the massive, pulsating crowd of thousands that jammed the main street and all side roads with motorcycles of all descriptions. The BEU was there too, but said they were only interested in the “1%ers” — the self-declared fraction of motorcycle riders who are outlaws.
The Hells Angels were out in strength, seeming to treat it as an end of season run. Other outlaw bikers were in the crowd — even a lone, patch-wearing member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, the Hells Angels’ bitter rivals.
The Bacchus also came to Port Dover, but were not nearly as visible. A cluster of patch-wearing members gathered in the driveway of a private home off the main drag. They were drinking heavily and acted friendly with a BEU patrol — overly so, as they attempted to hug the officers.
This trip seemed more about profit than parties for the Hells Angels, although there were opportunities for both.
Among the merchandise stalls some were run by assorted Hells Angels chapters, offering a large selection of “support wear.” The club has another strict rule — only members can wear the official logo — so they sell clothing and souvenirs to the public that show support without using the winged skull logo. There are baby clothes, women’s clothes, men’s clothes, flags, key chains, books, shoes, mugs, hats, stickers and more.
“ACAB” is written on several items. Asked what that means, a prospect member answered with a wide grin: “All Cops Are Bastards.”
As the bikers hawked it, BEU members walked through the cluttered marketplace of stalls.
The Hells Angels responded in various ways: some jovial, others ice cold. A few called out jibes: “Sorry, we don’t sell doughnuts,” one said as Det. Staff-Sgt. Len Isnor, head of the BEU at the time, sauntered by.
“They are here for money,” said Isnor. “The Hells Angels are into anything that makes them money.
“They are here to sell to the public. They are projecting their lifestyle onto the public, like ‘Snitches get stitches,’ ‘Three can keep a secret if two are dead,’” he said quoting T-shirt slogans. “They preach their lifestyle and if they get as many people following their lifestyle, then they have that trusted group they can do business with.”
The Port Dover run signified more than the end of riding season for Isnor. After 23 years in biker enforcement and becoming an internationally recognized expert for court testimony, he retired shortly after.
“I’ve seen the bikers become a lot more sophisticated,” he said of his time watching them. “The bikers, when I first started in 1995, were basically thugs. They were ride-by-the-seat-of-their-ass type bikers. They didn’t show any profits like they do now.
“Now they are a lot more sophisticated.”
Even so, they still climb on their bikes and ride, as long as the seasons allow.
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