Feds: Biker gang plotted to kill rivals

CHARLESTON, WV The defendants include national Pagans President David Keith "Bart" Barbeito of Myersville, Md., and national Vice President Floyd B. "Jesse" Moore of St. Albans. Also named are members and associates in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.

The 44-count indictment portrays Barbeito and Moore as leaders of a sprawling organization engaged in kidnapping, robbery, extortion, conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes in an effort to be the pre-eminent biker gang in the region, said Charles Miller, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Many of the charges detail violent efforts to intimidate and extort smaller biker gangs and clubs, and illegal gambling centered on raffles for nonexistent motorcycles. Other crimes listed in the 83-page document include drug dealing and weapons violations.

"The PMC and its existing support clubs unlawfully threatened and intimidated people who wanted to start a motorcycle club in the PMC territory," the indictment says.

Two of the most serious charges involve murder conspiracies. Moore and others are accused of conspiring in September 2005 with a prison guard to kill an inmate suspected of cooperating with law enforcement.

Moore also is accused of conspiring with the president of a local chapter of the Avengers Motorcycle Club to commit murder. Neither target was actually killed, Miller said.

The indictment further accuses Moore of ordering two Pagans known as Darrell "Mr. Nice Guy" Bumgarner and David "Kicker" Cremeans to beat a member of the Road Disciples Motorcycle Club at a Huntington bar in March 2003. Prosecutors say the men were to collect money from the rival club's president and order him to obey the Pagans or be shut down.

Court records did not indicate whether Bumgarner or Cremeans, who are in custody, have lawyers. A federal magistrate spent much of Tuesday determining whether the defendants qualified for legal assistance and ordering most held until hearings next week.

In Virginia, James Hicks, 45, was fatally shot early Tuesday as state troopers and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were serving a search warrant in Dinwiddie County, State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said. The warrant was sealed, and both Molnar and ATF spokesman Mike Campbell said the shooting was not related to the indictments. Authorities would not say if Hicks might be a member of the motorcycle club.

However, later in the day, Richmond police sent out radio advisories to officers to be aware of possible pay-back from the motorcycle club members because of what happened in the police shooting, said spokesman Gene Lepley.

"The advisory warned about possible retaliation against law enforcement from the Pagans and that it had something to do with what happened in Dinwiddie County," Lepley said.

The Pagans have about 700 members generally concentrated in the U.S. and are known for aggressive behavior, said Jim Hernandez, a criminal justice professor who teaches a course about gangs at California State University, Sacramento.

"They have a tendency, just from what I understand, to be a lot more aggressive, to be a lot more involved in service industries like meth, and they've given their patches away to people who've attacked Hells Angels," Hernandez said, referring to the rival California-based biker gang.

In 2002, 73 members of the Pagans were indicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from a fatal brawl at a Hells Angels convention in Long Island, N.Y. The fight left one man dead and at least 10 others injured.

Federal authorities targeted the Pagans' activities in the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning convictions against a smaller number of defendants.

"At that time, we believed it was certainly a blow to the Pagans Motorcycle Club," Miller said.

Forty-nine people were arrested Tuesday morning, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said. By afternoon, at least three had been released on bond.

Barbeito and Moore are being held and prosecutors said they did not know if Barbeito had an attorney. A working telephone number for Moore's attorney could not immediately be located. Federal prosecutors are seeking to hold both men, along with more than 20 others, without bail.

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