The ongoing investigation by federal and local agencies targeted three Sacramento-area chapters of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento said.
The FBI used confidential sources and undercover agents to buy methamphetamine on several occasions from Vagos members and their associates starting in March 2013, according to affidavits supporting the charges. In addition to distributing methamphetamine, the investigation also accuses members of the Sacramento-area chapters of being involved in illegal weapons purchases and handling stolen motorcycles.
It became clear to agents that the gang would be difficult to infiltrate because of members’ longstanding relationships and its extended initiation process, the affidavits said.
“Many of the members are childhood friends, prison associates, and/or white-power gang members,” the affidavits said.
Nevertheless, agents were able to introduce an undercover employee into the Sacramento-area Vagos in spring 2013. In a case that led to three of the charges, the undercover operation got help from a person who cooperated with the FBI in exchange for a reduced sentence in an unrelated case.
That person, referred to in the affidavit as Source No. 2, was described as being motivated to cooperate partly out of a dislike of the Vagos club.
Four of the defendants were arrested July 30 and remain in Sacramento County Jail.
James Cline, 43, of Rio Linda; Leonard Walter, 37, of Sacramento; and Michael Wright, 45, of Sacramento, were charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute. Richard Cardenas, 49, of Sacramento, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
Attorneys representing Cardenas and Walter said they had no comment, while messages left with the attorneys representing Cline and Wright were not immediately returned. All four are scheduled to be arraigned next week in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
Two other Sacramento men named in the indictment, Quentin Stallings, 35, and David Homan, 50, remain at large and are considered fugitives, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say the Vagos have an estimated 600 members with chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Mexico.
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