Last of Hells Angels Rock Hill Nomads chapter sentenced to prison

Posted June 19, 2013 6:47 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

Image courtesy Trent Faris/York County Sheriff’s Office.

The remaining three members of the Hell’s Angels Bike Gang will spend a combined 46 years in prison following their sentencing Wednesday morning in Columbia.

A two-year long investigation and month-long trial came to an end this morning as Mark Lightning Baker, Gravel Dave Oiler and Bruce Long were sentenced in federal court. Authorities arrested more than 20 members of the gang in June 2011 years ago on weapons, racketeering, money laundering, arson and drug charges.

In the last few weeks, most of those arrested sentenced to time in prison; collectively more than 100 years behind bars.

York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris says taking the arrests have  left a positive mark on the community.

Faris says the closure of the Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse on U.S. 21 at S.C. 5 has led to another suspected gang shutting down as well.

In a statement Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bill Nettles shed additional light on how the organization operated.

Members and associates of the Hells Angels South Carolina Nomads Charter operated from Lexington to Rock Hill, South Carolina. As part of the coordinated criminal activity, the group engaged in drug dealing, money laundering, firearms trafficking, use of firearms in relation to crimes of violence and drug dealing, attempted armed robbery, arson, and other offenses. The Hells Angels’ leadership coordinated the criminal activity and received kickbacks or cuts of the illicit proceeds generated by members and associates of the Hells Angels. During the investigation, the gang’s leadership transitioned from long-time Hells Angels member, “Diamond” Dan Bifield, to recent inductee, Mark “Lightning” Baker, after the Charter’s members voted Bifield out as President. Throughout, as Baker and Bifield explained in recorded conversations, members of the Hells Angels were to pay a cut of their profits from illegal activity to the Hells Angels and its leadership.

Though professing to live outside the structure of society’s laws as so-called “outlaws” or “one-percenters” (denoting that they are the one percent that refuses to abide by the law), the investigation showed the Hells Angels to have a highly-organized hierarchical chain of command governed by extensive written rules. Membership, which is limited to white males that own an American-made motorcycle, requires more than a year of association with the gang. Only full members may wear the three-piece patch with the winged death head that has become synonymous with the Hells Angels.

Members of the organization not only supplied weapons, they also supplied methamphetamine (known as “biker’s coffee”) and cocaine, along with bath salts and prescription pain pills. The evidence showed that the defendants were responsible for more than five pounds of methamphetamine and multiple kilograms of cocaine. For example, Baker and Oiler obtained for re-distribution pounds of high-quality methamphetamine from Kerry Chitwood, a member of the Gastonia, NC-based Southern Gentlemen Motorcycle Club. During their drug trafficking activities, club members traded on the Hells Angels’ infamous reputation to instill fear and obtain the drugs they wanted. Similarly, Bifield and Long distributed more than a kilogram of cocaine and bath salts obtained from a variety of sources. Other members of this drug conspiracy (including “Big” Frank Enriquez and Baker) trafficked in prescription pain pills.

The following members were sentenced to prison time and/or probation:

  • Diamond Dan Bifield – 201 months
  • David “Yard Owl” Pryor – 84 months
  • Richard “Little Mark” Thorwer – 27 months
  • “Big” Frank Enriquez – 24 months
  • Fred Keach – 10 months
  • Johanna Looper – 15 months
  • Kerry “Gowilla” Chitwood – 240 months
  • “Big” Ron Byrum – 51 months
  • Trent Brown – 24 months
  • Lisa Bifield – 84 months
  • James “Sonny” Rhodus – 5 years’ probation
  • Bruce “Diesel” Wilson – 18 months
  • Mark “Lightning” Baker – 188 months
  • “Gravel” Dave Oiler – 200 months
  • Bruce “Bruce-Bruce” Long – 168 months

“[We] will continue to work in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies to identify organized violent criminals in our joint effort to protect the public,” said ATF Charlotte Division Special Agent in Charge Wayne Dixie.

“The sentencing of members and associates of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in federal court should send a loud and clear message to anyone who chooses to engage in this type of criminal activity; it cannot and will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable.”