ATF Agents Honored with Prestigious Top Cops Award

For Their Work Infiltrating Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang in Arizona

Sep 09, 2004, 01:00 ET from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Hells 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.
      Contacts: Drew Wade/Sheree L. Mixell

SOURCE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives