By Bradford Betz
Published September 22, 2019
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted three members of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club on multiple drug distribution and trafficking charges, delivering yet another blow to the club after an investigation led to the club's president being arrested earlier this year.
The announcement was made in a Friday afternoon news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
Michael Shafer, the club’s 31-year-old vice president, Patrick Gonzales, the club’s 31-year-old secretary, and Hells Angels member Ricky Blackwell were charged in four separate indictments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Shafer was accused of conspiring to distribute marijuana and heroin and using a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking. He would face up to 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine if convicted.
Gonzales was accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He would face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Blackwell, meanwhile, was accused of cocaine possession with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while trafficking drugs, and possession of a firearm after a domestic violence conviction. He would face five years to life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Officers executed search warrants at multiple locations including the homes of Shafer and Gonzalez, prosecutors said. Investigators reportedly found a rulebook governing all Hells Angeles Motorcycle Clubs and rules dictating meeting times, membership information and membership agreements.
Law enforcement agencies including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives carried out the investigation, according to prosecutors.
Earlier this year, Modesto Hells Angels President Randy Picchi, his wife and two other people were busted on charges related to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.