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3 Hawaii bikers arrested in Vegas drug probe

By Ken Ritter

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:54 a.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013

LAS VEGAS » Three people from Hawaii are among at least 28 people arrested in Nevada and other states after a four-year undercover investigation that started with a probe of outlaw motorcycle gangs dealing drugs and weapons in and around Las Vegas, authorities announced Thursday.

In all, state and federal grand juries handed up 32 indictments of people who police identified as members of the Vagos, Bandidos and Chosen Few motorcycle gangs, and two Vagos offshoots known as the Green Machine and Wicked Riderz, Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said.

“These were violent criminals involved in primarily narcotics trafficking and the sale of illegal firearms,” Cassell said. He said the Nevada case sparked spin-off investigations and additional arrests in California, Utah, Arizona, Texas, New York and Hawaii.

The investigation was aimed at the Vagos gang when it was launched following high-profile clashes between rival Hells Angels and Mongols members, including a deadly 2002 casino shootout during at a motorcycle rally in Laughlin and a 2008 wedding chapel brawl in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The shooting during the 2002 Laughlin River Run killed three biker club members and injured more than a dozen other people. The melee at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel left six people hurt, including two who were stabbed. Trial is set to start in August for some of the 13 men charged in that case.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Joseph Riehl, special agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in San Francisco, told reporters Thursday that the initial investigation widened after the ATF became involved. They dubbed it “Operation Pure Luck.”

In the end, police and federal agents reported seizing 7.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 161 grams of cocaine, 2,000 prescription pills, 43 firearms and $8,100.

Assistant Sheriff Greg McCurdy of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said U.S. marshals, police in Henderson and North Las Vegas, sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles County, and police in Montebello east of Los Angeles were part of the investigation.

Cassell said the seven men arrested today on state charges included one in Henderson, three in Las Vegas and three in Hawaii.

The other 25 people in the case faced federal indictments.

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allie wrote:
on June 27,2013 | 06:50PM
Pocho wrote:
on June 27,2013 | 07:14PM
kainalu wrote:
The dangerous mainland side.
on June 27,2013 | 07:27PM
hanalei395 wrote:
For Hawai'i ... Las Vegas, .... the ONLY main land on the continent. And fun, not that dangerous.
on June 27,2013 | 08:10PM
serious wrote:
Anyone recall when two HPD officers were arrested in Las Vegas for selling pot?
on June 28,2013 | 05:10AM
ScottKaalele wrote:
I believe they were caught outside of a law enforcement softball game smoking pot. Then they tried to run away but later turned themselves in.
on June 28,2013 | 05:59AM
soundofreason wrote:
They were too young to retire and keep their retirement so they probably just got promoted.
on June 28,2013 | 06:33AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Should also arrest them for making noise with their Harleys.
on June 28,2013 | 07:51AM
Jerry_D wrote:
Bogus news reporting and typical media bias. NO ONE FROM HAWAII GOT ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES. They got arrested on suspicion of fist fighting, and that's it. Read the Las Vegas Sun's news report to confirm. These Hawaii guys are all hard-working contributors to society, with legitimate incomes...yet it seems media wants to vilify them because, face it, "drug busts" is a hot topic that sells. So mahalo to all for keeping comments respectful.
on June 28,2013 | 08:29AM
cojef wrote:
Go figure, using all that manpower from the different law enforcement agencies and come up with 7.5 pounds of meth, 161 grams of coke, 2,000 prescription pills, 43 firearms and finally $8,100 for 4 years undercover work?? Gee-whiz, give me a break, 28 arrested among them 3 Hawaiians. Thought we are all Americans. Didn't know Hawaiians are forgeiners??
on June 28,2013 | 11:30AM
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