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An undercover agent who infiltrated a Las Vegas chapter of the Vagos Motorcycle Club for two years offered a glimpse into the underworld of outlaw bikers

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An undercover agent who infiltrated a Las Vegas chapter of the Vagos Motorcycle Club for two years offered a glimpse into the underworld of outlaw bikers this week as he testified during a federal racketeering trial.

“If the leadership decides to declare war,” Agostino Brancato, the lead undercover agent in Operation Pure Luck, told jurors, “people are going to die.”

Prosecutor Tracey Batson asked who would make such a decision, and Brancato pointed to Pastor Fausto Palafox, the Vagos international president known as “TaTa,” seated among a crowd of lawyers and seven fellow defendants.

Brancato, a deputized agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, detailed the thorough application process and how he became trusted enough to earn a “fully patched” membership. He also discussed the gang’s response to the 2011 melee at a Sparks casino that left a rival Hells Angels leader dead.

A prominent Hells Angel member will remain in jail while awaiting trial on racketeering charges.

A brawny man with a shaved head and a thick salt-and-pepper goatee, Brancato is the first of dozens of witnesses expected to testify in what’s scheduled as a four-month trial for the eight California men.

Brancato, who was introduced to the gang through a confidential informant, talked about Vagos mantras and slogans, such as “we give what we get” and “trust no one.”

Earning Vagos patches

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Members of the gang earned various patches, which were stitched onto leather and denim vests — or “cuts” — for their length of loyalty and their willingness to commit acts of violence on behalf of the group, Brancato said. He testified that he never committed violent acts while he worked his way to a sergeant-at-arms position.

But his testimony could be called into question as the trial rolls on in the weeks ahead and defense attorneys start to cross-examine him.

In 2014, a federal magistrate judge recommended dismissal of felony drug trafficking charges against a former Vagos officer because of outrageous government conduct by Brancato. Two federal judges later refused to throw out the case, saying Brancato did not violate the rights of a defendant during an alleged cocaine transaction.

The start of Brancato’s time with the gang included a 12-page application that asked for work history and criminal history, along with emergency contacts, marital status, education and military background.

“They were shocked that I had no prior arrests,” Brancato said.

Later, when he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon on his bike in Utah, he said, “I did not come out of role.” A Utah member of the gang who bailed him out of jail expressed surprise that he had no felony record.

Brancato told the bikers that he paid for good lawyers to keep his record clean.

Casino shooting death

He became a “hangaround” before the Northern Nevada shooting but was not inside John Ascuaga’s Nugget when Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew was killed.

During the casino brawl, one of the defendants now on trial in Las Vegas, Ernesto “Romeo” Gonzalez, shot and killed Pettigrew, 54, a member of the Hells Angels. Pettigrew was known as the “godfather” of the Hells Angels in San Jose, California.

A California Highway Patrol officer is dead and two others are wounded after a lengthy shootout Shooter was 49-year-old Aaron Luther, a member of the Vagos motorcycle gang who had an extensive criminal record.

Attorneys for several of the eight men on trial have denied that there was a plan to kill the Hells Angels leader, saying that the Vagos members were responding to “active shooters” in the casino.

Brancato recorded Vagos leaders discussing collecting $300 from each of the more than 1,000 members to help pay for Gonzalez’s defense in a state trial.

Prosecutors have said in court papers that Vagos operated as a criminal enterprise and engaged in drug distribution, firearms trafficking, murder, kidnapping, assault, extortion, robbery and witness intimidation.

Thirteen more defendants are awaiting trial in a case that prosecutors allege involves the Vagos gang and crimes in Nevada, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Utah.

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Brancato also testified that in early 2013 Vagos leaders planned an attack in New Mexico, where a member had been run over by someone in the rival Bandidos Motorcycle Club. He described a meeting inside a crowded restaurant with a Vagos leader, who passed him a note scribbled on a napkin: “It’s on with the Bandidos.”

The prosecutor asked: “What did you take that to mean?”

Brancato replied: “That we were at war with the Bandidos.”

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21 comments

  1. LIAR!
    Nobody gets to be S.O.A. without doing something.
    Fucking cops lie their asses off all the time.
    He shouldn’t even be allowed to testify.
    Piece of shit rat.

    Like

  2. BAHAHAHAHA WHAT A CROCKNOF SHIT THESE SO CALLED REPORTERS SWING..VAGOS WOULD NEVER PUT A SEARGENT IF ARMS POSITION TO A 2 YR NEWBIE WITH NO PROSPECT DEMAND OF LOYALTY AND NO RECORD. LAEYERS DONT ERASE ARREST CHARGES AT THE LEAST.NOR ARE THEY INTO COCAINE.AN APPLICATION? HAHAHA JUST LIKE THE TRUMP HATERS.OEOPLE WILL BELIEVE ANYTHING SONE ASSHOLE REPORTER GETS PAID TO PUBLISH

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is a crock of shit. He’s a liar.
    But hell yes, a really good lawyer can get some amazing things done. It just costs a ton of money.
    Just try and find my arrest for 7 felonies, not under this name, a long time ago. Snitched off.
    Got 6 dismissed. 1 a misdemeanor with a diversion & 1 year probation and I was off in 6 months. I deserve an Oscar for that performance and I didn’t give anybody up. No record either.
    And we had everyone from narcotics to the bomb squad trashing our house & property.
    Had my story ready, never changed a word.
    Fuck that snitch. I know who it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They certainly did make him an SA. The rat fuck that brought him in got pinched for drugs while he was a state rep. Pigs made him am offer he couldn’t refuse. He brought the other piece of shit in. Diablo. I got both their pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. No fkn way this lying punk bitch was an S. A. No 1%er club would push him thru ranks n become an SA they would want to c him TCB b4 that went down! And another thing said he never broke the law as S. A. Bullshit that’s all Sargent at Arms do they break laws every god damn day jus riding in pack!!!! Then when it comes to handling business, come on man this rat is full of shit!!! 🤘🏼GFPD! East Coast 16’s

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wake up,,,this is nothing new,,,late 70,s early 80,s you,s were too busy being dumb fucks,starting shit cause your blurred vision,,a brother comes in the bar and says he got ole lady problems and he needs help,,,RIP his colors off and beat his ass. Then let officers decide,,,mouthy MF r,s. Watch m,,if they got nothing too loose. Your the first under the Bus,,If they never did state time,REALITY SETS IN FAST..
    PS,,TAKE PHOTOS OF THE LIAR DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE SWORE TO ENFORCE..
    THEY DONT GET THEIR BY BEING INNOCENT,BY STANDARD,,
    SHOULD BE ILLEGAL
    JULLIANO,,,STARTED ALL THIS B.S. WITH THE WPP,,
    HAVE TOO SAY THOUGH,,,SOME NEED SHOOT N,,,BAD LEADERSHIP, HITTLER ATTITUDES,WITH DUMB ASSES TAKE N THE HIT..
    ITS A CLUB. NOT A GANG. START THINKING LIKE AN AMERICAN…
    ALL THE CONTROL IS BY CORPORATE 1%ERS. AND THEY DONT INTIMINATE,,THEY GOTTA FUCKING ARMY,,,GET SMART,,ALL BIKERS,,RIDERS,SCOOTER TRAMPS,CLUBERS,INDEPENDENT CLEAN HOUSE,,AND ENJOY THE RIDE.
    REAPERS OUT RUN BY NO ONE
    HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS STILL DIES
    RIDE N’ ABOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE

    Like

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