An Oahu man is one of 23 people from across the country charged in connection with a gang allegedly known for its violent crimes.
A federal indictment was unsealed Friday, charging alleged members and associates of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, including some of its most senior leaders, in a conspiracy involving racketeering, murder, robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault, among other charges.
While the indictment was returned by a grand jury in Las Vegas, federal, state and local law enforcement arrested individuals in Hawaii and across Southern California and Nevada, including in the Las Vegas metro area and in Reno.
Federal prosecutors say Edward Claridan Chelby, 57, of Kailua, was a member of what officials called a “so-called ‘brotherhood’ responsible for drug addiction, death and mayhem in multiple locations, including California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Nevada.”
Chelby was charged with kidnapping and assault in connection with two beatings that occurred in Las Vegas in 2013.
“The Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang is a criminal organization which engages in acts of violence. Those acts, which included kidnapping and murder, threaten the safety of the communities in which the Vagos operate,” said Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) San Francisco Field Division.
“These arrests and indictments are the culmination of a far-reaching, meticulous, long-term probe involving (Homeland Security Investigations) and multiple other law enforcement agencies aimed at dealing a crippling blow to one of this country’s most ruthless and violent criminal gangs,” said Acting Executive Associate Director Derek Benner for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. “Members of this organization wrongly believed themselves to be above the law and immune from justice, but as today’s enforcement actions make abundantly clear, they should not have underestimated our collective resolve.”
The indictment alleges that the gang is a highly organized criminal organization with approximately 87 or more chapters in at least seven countries, on four continents, and approximately 75 chapters in the U.S., including approximately 54 chapters in Nevada and California.
The 23 defendants charged for their alleged roles in the federal racketeering conspiracy and violent crimes in aid of racketeering offenses are:
- Pastor Fausto Palafox, a/k/a “Ta Ta,” 53, of Beaumont, Calif.;
- Albert Lopez, a/k/a “Al,” 39, of Canyon Country, Calif.;
- Albert Benjamin Perez, a/k/a “Dragon Man,” 57, of Santa Barbara, Calif.;
- James Patrick Gillespie, a/k/a “Jimbo,” 68, of Granada Hills, Calif.;
- Andrew Eloy Lozano, a/k/a “Hulk,” 42, of Fontana, Calif.;
- Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, a/k/a “Romeo,” of San Francisco;
- Victor Adam Ramirez, a/k/a “Slick,” 35, of Las Vegas;
- James Walter Henderson, a/k/a “CJ,” 64, of Henderson, Nev.;
- Steven Earl Carr, a/k/a “Big Steve,” 43, of Las Vegas;
- Robert Allen Coleman, a/k/a “Mayhem,” 59, of Las Vegas;
- Jeremy John Halgat, a/k/a “Maniak,” 39, of North Las Vegas, Nev.;
- Paul Jeffrey Voll, a/k/a “Shyster,” 52, of Pasadena, Calif.;
- John Joseph Siemer, a/k/a “Rocky,” 60, of Baldwin Park, Calif.;
- Bradley Michael Campos, a/k/a “Candy Man,” 50, of Alhambra, Calif.;
- Cesar Vaquera Morales, a/k/a “C,” 49, of San Jose, Calif.;
- Diego Chavez Garcia, a/k/a “Boo,” 34, of San Jose, Calif.;
- Edward Claridan Chelby, a/k/a “Recon,” 57, of Kailua, Hawaii;
- Johnny Russell Neddenriep, a/k/a “Johnny Bolts,” 51, of Reno, Nev.;
- Darin Kieth Grieder, a/k/a “Midget,” 48, of Sparks, Nev.;
- Thomas Granville Garretson, a/k/a “Tommy Guns;”
- Bert Wayne Davisson, a/k/a “Flash,” 45, of Sparks, Nev.;
- Mathew Keith Dunlap, a/k/a “Big Mat,” 46, of Sparks, Nev., and
- John Chrispin Juarez, a/k/a “Quicky,” 69, of Moreno Valley, Calif.