Mongols, Black Rain, Dobyns (25)

Meanwhile, back in the world, what were all the other bad boys up to? Federal agencies had been watching their Hells Angels cases turn into train wrecks. They had even foreseen it, and were inspired to lay out ever more ambitious infiltration strategies. At the same time, they found the Mongols organization very easy to penetrate. There was confusion within the ranks. In the summer of 2008, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, who had been the Mongols international president, got kicked out for instigating violence and stealing nearly $200,000 from the club. One income stream was the money paid in advance by chapters nationwide, for complete background checks on prospective new members. Doc was supposedly paying a private investigator $500 for each background investigation, but he just pocketed the money and would eventually notify each chapter that their prospect(s) had “checked out OK.”

A month or two later, Operation Black Rain’s arrest warrants were served, per the Central District of CA, and other federal jurisdictions’ indictments. Doc and his son and brother (also former international officers who had been kicked out) were arrested with the 50+ California Mongols. Those three, and several others, immediately agreed to cooperate. Doc stayed busy telling tales to the government about his former brothers and affirming that the Mongols are indeed a racket, just as the G-men suspected all along.

Operation Black Rain culminated in a multi-agency, multi-state sweep that utilized more than 1,500 police in military accouterments, equipped with 162 search warrants. They seized a bunch of motorcycles and guns. Out Bad quotes John Torres, the same agent who had blatantly overstated what an impressive coup it was to sentence Danny Fabricant. With characteristic hyperbole he announced, “Today, the leadership of the Mongols, one of the most violent outlaw motorcycle gangs, was taken down. For three years, four brave and dedicated ATF undercover agents put their lives on the line to infiltrate the Mongols.”

The press release didn’t mention the three others, back East, who continued to play motorcycle games for another year. In other words, a total of seven ATF undercovers had been accepted into the Mongols by the time Operation Black Rain suddenly ended. Luckily for the ATF, the East Coast Mongols were friendly with the Outlaws. After all, they had a common enemy – the Hells Angels. At least two of the ATF/Mongols became Outlaws. After a year or so, they rose in the ranks and were able to cause the indictment and convictions of the international Outlaw president and many others in that club.

In the West, there was the ultra-violent Billy Slow Brain, agent William Queen, whose masquerade only managed to bring about some relatively minor charges and sentences. Strangely, back when Queen ran Operation Ivan against the Mongols, he spoke to the press about guns and drugs and assaults, but said nothing about racketeering. And Ciccone himself, back in the Operation Black Rain days, had testified to a 2004 grand jury that the Mongols motorcycle club was not a racket. The case was People v. Fernandez, and Ciccone said the members were in it for fear and intimidation, not money. But by the summer of 2009, rage against the Mongols was intense, and the government longed to prove them to be a racketeering enterprise.

Agent Ciccone muddied the waters by, for instance, telling the judge that US v Cavazos had to be top secret, because if sealed plea agreements were unsealed, the lives of those defendants would be at risk. The wily agent also took the time to correspond with The Aging Rebel website, posing as a biker and Hells Angel groupie called T-Dogg. These outpourings provided Davis, who is proprietor of the site, with plenty of insight into Ciccone’s psychological motivations for persecuting motorcycle enthusiasts.

When the Mongol arrests were made, Doc and the other “cooperating” Mongols who were not immediately released were taken to the protective custody wing of an old San Bernardino County jail. Meanwhile Danny, recently convicted in Trial II, was still in the Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles, which has six 128-bed housing units for male, pretrial guests. More than 40 of the remaining Mongols were to be housed there. In jails and prisons, there is normally an unofficial truce between motorcycle club members whose organizations are currently “at war” with each other. Still, the security people quickly decided that the incoming Mongols would be divided into the other five units. Having no common yard or chow hall, the guests of the various units ordinarily do not interact with each other.

In the MDC-LA, it was well known where Danny could be found on weekends – the “extra law library” sessions. Guests who are not representing themselves can sign up for one weekend per year in the law library. A few weeks later, Danny got a note from a Mongol he knew, asking if it would be okay if he signed up for a weekend session, so they could talk. Sure. They traded common information, mostly about Ciccone. Different Mongol officers then signed up for individual weekend advice sessions. Danny received copies of a lot of their discovery paperwork, which will help in his next trial.

The Mongols’ case was assigned to Florence Cooper, the “best” judge in the Central District. (Danny had the second worst). Late in 2009, the nice old judge was planning to retire, so about 30 of the Mongols entered guilty pleas, because chances for lenient sentences were better with her and a guilty plea, than with a to-be-assigned judge and a trial. Unfortunately, Judge Cooper died a few months before retirement, and her replacement “really dumped on them.”

Meanwhile, the ATF also experienced trouble in the ranks. Jay Dobyns had abandoned his Jay “Bird” Davis persona since 2007. The other Davis, “Aging Rebel” interviewed Dobyns and captured a quotational gem: “Going through what I have and am going through changes a person… You lose faith in people in general. You question whether or not people you trusted really understand loyalty.” This, from a man who had received all kinds of help and brotherly support from the Hells Angels it was his mission to betray. He had collected evidence against them and while they fought their charges, Dobyns was suing his employers for not appreciating him enough. Apparently, the ATF is well known for punishing agents who fall from favor. Cops of all kinds cherish their cult of brotherhood, but it seems like motorcycle clubs could teach them something about loyalty. The master betrayer was betrayed by his own gang.

When Dobyns eventually published a book about “living the ultimate bad boy fantasy,” his PR touted him as the man who brought down the Hells Angels. But he himself admitted that in nearly every way, the Hells Angels had won. The big major case that Dobyns engineered had pretty much dried up and blown away. He attributed this failure to the squabbling between his ATF bosses and the local prosecutor. Other sources say that even when the judge threatened to dismiss the damn thing, the bosses defied the disclosure rules and held back material because it would reveal Dobyns’s lack of credibility.

Though he had granted them victory, Dobyns was sure the Hells Angels were out to get him anyway. Supposedly, his name had been inscribed at the top of their hit list. Despite his media stardom, things were not going well at work. He told a reporter, “The only people who hate me more than the Hells Angels are ATF’s shot-callers.” It was to Special Agent in Charge William Newell that Dobyns reported the threats made against him. Newell, he said, not only refused to protect him from an international crime syndicate, but concealed the fact that he had asked for help. Even when the wayward agent’s house burned down, Newell refused to investigate. The strong implication was, where a drama queen and attention whore like Dobyns was concerned, who knows? He might have torched the place himself. Not surprisingly, the ATF deemed him mentally unfit to work.

Dobyns marketed himself as a courageous whistleblower and the lone defender of… something or other. But his complaints did not stem from the agency’s misdeeds toward anyone else, or anything the fake Solo Angeles had been allowed to get away with. It was all about his own perceived mistreatment and Newell’s callous disregard for his family’s safety. Dobyns whined that the government should take him under protection instead of abandoning him. The Dept. of Justice issued a report that favored Dobyns, and scolded the ATF for not giving him the same sweet WITSEC deal the other degenerate snitches get.

Dobyns complained to the ATF’s John Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division. Torres blew him off and Dobyns accused him of defamation. At one point, the agency offered Dobyns $373,000 if he would just STFU. But no. He sued the ATF again for around four million dollars. They sued him back, all indignant about him using Operation Black Biscuit for his own profit, and demanding to know how much he had made off the book No Angel.

About Pat Hartman

I write. Please see the page "How I Inherited a Hells Angel"
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