California Biker Gang Sues Authorities Over 'Domestic Torture' in Drug and Weapons Raid

Members of a motorcycle club targeted in a massive multi-agency raid that netted dozens of arrests on drug, weapons and other charges filed a federal lawsuit against law enforcement agencies involved in the probe.

The complaint alleges that members of the Vagos motorcycle club and their families were victims of unlawful search and seizure, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy, their lawyer, Joe Yanny, said this week.

Yanny said his clients "were subjected to domestic torture akin to waterboarding" during the March 2006 raid.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as local police and sheriff's departments involved in the raid.

An ATF spokeswoman told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin her office had just learned of the suit was in the process of reviewing it with lawyers.

The raid, one of the largest coordinated law enforcement probes ever conducted in Southern California, involved some 700 law enforcement personnel.

More than 80 search and arrest warrants were issued and 25 people were taken into custody on federal or state charges that included firearms and drug violations.

The bikers' lawsuit claims that local authorities tear gassed one Vagos member's family dog and taunted another member as he was pulled from a shower naked, while federal authorities looked on.

Children of the families targeted were traumatized by the experience and at least two members lost their jobs as a result of the raid, Yanny said.