Law enforcement agents in Denver arrested twelve people today, November 7, around the metro area who are allegedly associated with at least two motorcycle gangs, including the Hells Angels.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked with the Denver Police Department and other local and state law enforcement agencies to make the arrests after executing nineteen search warrants. Citing the ongoing investigation, representatives from the ATF and DPD said at a press conference that they couldn't divulge the nature of the alleged crimes or exactly how many gangs members they are targeting. However, an ATF special agent said officers expect to make more arrests.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said final charges haven't been determined and that she is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to determine whether federal charges will be brought forward.
At least one property that was raided this morning is in the 3200 block of Navajo Street, which has been home to a Hells Angels clubhouse for more than two decades. The Hells Angels have not responded to Westword's request for a comment for this story.
Founded in the late 1940s in Southern California, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has chapters around the world and is banned in certain countries. The U.S. Department of Justice lists the Hells Angels as a gang involved in the "production, transportation and distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine."
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In 2003, the City of Denver paid $50,000 to settle a legal claim that arose after DPD raided the clubhouse in 2001, according to the Rocky Mountain News .
"The trouble started early on July 31, 2001, at the Hells Angels clubhouse, 3257 Navajo St. According to the lawsuit filed in July 2002 in federal court, members of the Hells Angels were hanging out when numerous Denver police officers ordered them outside at gunpoint, handcuffed them and made them sit on the curb while the clubhouse was searched without a warrant," wrote reporter Kevin Vaughan.
"In all, 10 members of the Hells Angels and the owner of the building filed suit in federal court, alleging that the search was illegal and that the officers 'chilled' their constitutional rights to free association and due process."
At today's press conference, DPD Chief Paul Pazen said that this morning's raids are unrelated to those carried out in 2001.