Several members of California’s Hells Angels motorcycle club are facing legal consequences after a series of disturbing allegations surfaced, involving murder, forced tattooing, and acts of revenge.
Merl Hefferman from the Fresno chapter, who was recognized for organizing children’s charity events, received a four-year sentence following a decade-long racketeering investigation. He was convicted of using a crematory, known colloquially as the ‘pizza oven,’ to dispose of a member’s body. His involvement led to the arrests of other members, including Raymond Foakes, Christopher Ranieri, and Russell Lyles, each facing charges for their respective crimes.
US Attorney Ismail Ramsey commented, “The Hells Angels followed a malicious code of conduct, committing violent acts against those who crossed their path. Now, they face the legal consequences.”
Prosecutors shed light on the inner workings of the biker gang, revealing a motto by the Sonoma chapter: ‘F*** around and find out.’ One particular incident highlighted was the murder of Joel ‘Doughboy’ Silva by Christopher Ranieri, due to a conflict during a 2014 event. After Silva’s execution, Hefferman was given the responsibility of disposing of the body, which led to a confrontation at the Yost & Webb Funeral Home in Fresno, where a body was loaded into an incinerator.
Whistleblower Joseph Hardisty disclosed that multiple bodies might have been disposed of using this method, potentially including Robbie Huff, Arthur Carasis, and Juan Guevara, all former members.
Both Ranieri and Foakes were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, involving activities like conspiracy to murder, robbery, and drug dealing. Their sentencing is pending.
Lyles, after voicing concern over Foakes’ extreme actions, pleaded guilty to racketeering, earning a 63-month prison sentence. His legal team described his penchant for using his fists as punitive measures or to “toughen” members up.
Additionally, Jeremy Greer from the Sonoma chapter received an 84-month sentence after confessing to multiple heinous crimes. David Cesena was imprisoned for 52 months due to his role in a home invasion robbery.
US Attorney Ramsey applauded the bravery of the witnesses, stating, “Despite the Hells Angels’ attempts to use fear and intimidation, witnesses came forward, ensuring justice was served.”