Hells Angels

Four Hells Angels Found Not Guilty of "Rioting" Charges From 2009 DPS Operation

Four members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club were found not guilty of charges of "rioting" and assisting in a criminal street gang.

The four acquitted, Rudolfo "Rudy" Martinez, Gerald Smith, Dale Hormut, and Stephen Helland, were among seven bikers arrested by an Arizona Department of Public Safety task force in 2009, during "Operation Quiet Riot."

The operation was a six-month investigation into an ongoing feud between the Hells Angels, the Desert Roadriders, and their mutual rival Vagos in northwestern Arizona, in what DPS officials called "a struggle for power."

The four Hells Angels found not guilty were accused in an assault on Vagos members at Lazy Harry's bar in Bullhead City.

On the other hand, several members of Vagos were arrested by a DPS task force in February after allegedly beating up a guy at Lazy Harry's.

In the 2009 case, though, a fifth Hells Angels member was also arrested in the operation -- George Walters -- but he lost the safe gamble of taking a plea deal for a couple years in prison.

The other two people arrested were members of the Desert Road Riders -- a Hells Angels ally -- and have yet to go to trial on the charges.

A report in Kingman's Daily Miner says the prosecutor in the case acknowledged that the fight lasted just a few minutes, implying that he wasn't exactly prosecuting a "riot," although that's what the men were charged with.

Back in '09, then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas was on his high horse after a judge ruled that the Hells Angels were an organized criminal enterprise and subject to state gang laws.

Since the Hells Angels were acquitted of the gang charges as well, it looks like that label's not flying up in Mohave County.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley