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Hells Angels Beat the Rap in Chino Valley Arizona Shootout Case

Seven members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club accused of involvement in a 2010 shootout with rival gang, the Vagos, took a hike on the charges. Members of the two clubs shot it out in Chino Valley, north of Prescott, Arizona, in August 2010.

During that fracas a total of at least 50 shots were fired and amazingly, none of the bikers in either group sustained serious injuries.

An attorney for one of the Angels told New Times said the case hinged on the fact that the only government witness to the shootout was a paid confidential government informant.

“The only witness to the incident was a confidential police informant at the time who tried to infiltrate the Hells Angels, was rebuked, and had substantial biases against the Angels to begin with,” the attorney said.

Informant Alfred Acevedo was at the time a “hanger on” with The Vagos – and also working as an informant for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Acevedo and another man were taking care of an errand local President of  The Vagos, Ruben Lopez, when a group of Hells Angels walked into the store. One of the HA members asked Acevedo about his Vagos shirt, and that started the ball rolling. Acevedo made a call to Vagos members who told him to wait there for other club members to show up in surrport. As Acevado watched the Hells Angels from a nearby vantage point and followed the group of Vagos members when they rolled up.

And here’s where a judge lost faith in the government’s version of the event; Acevedo claimed he “got lost” and wasn’t present when the actual shootout took place. Twenty-seven bikers were arrested and five were later indicted by a grand jury. The case went before a second grand jury, and another seven men were indicted that time around.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Detectives didn’t mention that Acevedo was an informant to either of those grand juries. Even the local Deputy County Attorney, Dana Owens, said she didn’t know Acevedo was a paid informant until February 2011.

That government misstep led  Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock’s to throw out the cases. Hancock ruled to dismiss the cases against the five men, but allowed for the state to file the charges again and begin the process anew.

“Acevedo’s status as a paid informant and as the only direct witness to a confrontation that led to the shootings in this case is material and clearly exculpatory,” Hancock wrote in the opinion.

Acevedo has an ongoing history of employment as an informant for various government agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and for the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission Task Force.

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