Witnesses Describe Hells Angels Raids
Metro Police Not Saying What They Found
POSTED: 3:35 pm PST November 11, 2009
UPDATED: 6:52 pm PST November 11, 2009
facebookdel.icio.usbuzzdiggreddit›› Email›› PrintLAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Metro police said little Wednesday about the early morning raids of several homes and clubhouses belonging to the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
SWAT officers served a total of six warrants, although police would only confirm one of the locations, a home on Torrey Pines Drive near Washington Avenue. The house is in a largely residential neighborhood, between Rainbow and Jones boulevards.
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Police were keeping mum Wednesday about why they searched the houses and what they found, but some neighbors said they saw the whole thing.
“They just came, opened the door, four SWAT team canine police with dogs,” said a teenager named Ariadna.
She said she was across the street, and she caught the whole thing on her cell phone camera.
“There was nobody in the house. Actually, I think somebody told them. They just left in the morning before the night," Ariadna said.
Police said they searched six residences -- four in the northwest side of town, one in the southeast and one in Henderson. They said this was part of several ongoing investigations, including a stabbing at the Special Memory Wedding Chapel. Last December, police said Hells Angels and their rival gang, the Mongols, had weddings scheduled an hour apart. A fight ensued, and two people were stabbed.
“They are noisy with their bicycles and when they have a party. There are plenty of people there with wives," said neighbor Beatrice Orteza.
“They were always drinking and saying bad words, screaming at things," said another neighbor, Alex.
Now, neighbors said they are happy to see police cracking down.
“I was scared. We were scared already. We know already that was a different kind of people,” Orteza said. ”Long hair and big mustaches -- what do you expect with those kind of people?”
That wedding was not the first run-in between the Hells Angels and the Mogols. While nationwide, the organization has been linked to several police and federal investigations, the Hells Angels gained the most notoriety in southern Nevada during the Laughlin River Run riot of 2002.
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Members fought with Mongols motorcycle club inside the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. One Mongols member was stabbed to death and two Hells Angels’ were shot and killed.
In 2007, two members of the Hells Angels who were accused of fighting in the brawl were sentenced to prison.
Police didn't say exactly what they were looking for. All they said was that the warrants had nothing to do with drug activity or murder, and no arrest were made. They said there were no confrontations, and no one was hurt during the raids.
Calls to Hells Angels headquarters, as well as an attorney who represented the gang in the past, had not yet been returned Wednesday evening.
The Hells Angels are represented by more than 100 chapters worldwide, including a chapter in southern Nevada.