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Wed Apr 15, 2020, 12:02 PM

Racketeering charges dropped against men tied to Vagos biker gang, including 4 Californians

AP April 15, 2020
LAS VEGAS — A long and troubled federal prosecution in Nevada of current and former Vagos biker gang members from California and other states accused of running an international criminal enterprise and killing a rival Hells Angels leader in a 2011 casino shootout is over.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro in Las Vegas approved a government request Monday to dismiss all charges against 11 remaining defendants, closing the federal racketeering case filed in September 2016 after a state court conviction of the Vagos member who acknowledges he was the shooter was overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court. <>

In February, the jury returned acquittals on all charges against defendants including Pastor Fausto Palafox, former international president of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, which was founded in San Bernardino in the 1960s; and acknowledged Vagos gunman Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez.

“This case was precipitated on lies,” said Joshua Tomsheck, lawyer for defendant Paul Voll, who was awaiting trial with a second group of defendants. Tomsheck called the result a vindication.

Attorney Chris Rasmussen noted that his client, John Siemer, spent three years in federal custody after pleading not guilty and was never brought to trial. Rasmussen called the dismissal “a momentous ending to a long saga.”

U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said his office sought to end the case in the interest of justice. <>

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