ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives



FY-04-19

Contacts: Drew Wade/Sheree L. Mixell

202-927-8500



For Immediate Release
www.atf.gov

September 9, 2004

 

ATF AGENTS HONORED WITH PRESTIGIOUS TOP COPS AWARD
For Their Work Infiltrating Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang in Arizona

WASHINGTON – Six special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and five other members of an Arizona task force will receive the TOP COP Award from the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) Sept. 11 for their work in conducting a two-year undercover operation that infiltrated the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Special Agents Carlos Canino, Jay Dobyns, Christopher Livingstone, Jenna Maguire, Joseph Slatalla and Andrew Worrell and their fellow Operation Black Biscuit Task Force members will be honored here at the 11th Annual TOP COPS Awards ceremony for an investigation that resulted in the indictment of numerous Hells Angels members on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charges. All six agents were also recognized with ATF’s Distinguished Service Medal in June.

Using incredible foresight and initiative, NAPO said, three ATF case agents formulated and implemented a multi-agency task force approach to investigating and documenting criminal violations of the notorious and long-considered impenetrable Hells Angels, considered one of the most violent outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in the United States and worldwide. The Hells Angels allegedly committed various state and federal offenses, including narcotics and firearms trafficking, assaults, murders, extortion, prostitution, money laundering and insurance frauds.

“It is a huge honor to have been nominated and win a TOP COPS Award. The tremendous amount of sacrifices and resources so many professionals gave to make the Hells Angels case a success serves to represent the TOP COPS values of duty, honor and integrity,” Slatalla said.

Worrell added, “I feel that to be honored by one’s peers is the greatest compliment. I am indeed honored to have been singled out by TOP COPS.”

From December, the case culminated in July 2003 with the indictment of 36 people (16 as a direct result of the undercover operation), and issuance and execution of 40 federal search warrants and the seizure of three Hells Angels clubhouses, $50,000 in cash, six vehicles and nine motorcycles. The search warrants netted additional evidence, including more than 600 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, silencers, varying quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, illicit prescription drugs, improvised explosive devices, explosives, stolen motorcycles, cash, suspected human skeletal remains and other items.

On Nov. 18, 2003, 16 members of the Hell’s Angels from five different Arizona chapters were indicted for violations of the RICO and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity statutes.

In addition to the ATF special agents, Detectives Chris Hoffman, Mike Johnson, Tim Davis and Nick Susuras and Detective Sgt. Shawn Wood served on the Operation Black Biscuit Task Force and will be honored at the ceremony at the Warner Theatre.

NAPO also bestowed honorable mentions on the following ATF special agents: Gary Smith, Matthew Varisco, Stephen Beach, Richard Clabeaux, Leonard Codispot, Mario Dispenza, Bud Masterson, John Mitchell, Peter Muldoon, Peter O’Connor, Robert H. Poole, Carlos Sanchez, Andrew Vasaka, Louis Weiers and Michael Minichino.

The TOP COPS Awards pay tribute to law enforcement officers from across the country for outstanding service to their communities during the preceding year. The TOP COPS were nominated by fellow officers and selected from hundreds of nominations by an independent Awards Committee. Officers from the top 10 cases were chosen as the 2004 NAPO TOP COPS. This year, there were 33 TOP COPS representing the top 10 cases.

 

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Note to Editors: Media interested in interviewing any of the ATF winners should contact Drew Wade at 202-927-8500 or 202-327-4187 (cell) by 4 p.m. EDT, Friday, Sept. 10.