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Warped Hells Angels’ ‘justice’ revealed: California biker was held down and forcibly TATTOOED for sleeping with rival’s wife, while his spouse was raped in revenge, with others killed and cremated, court documents reveal


Forced tattooing, rape as revenge and murder are just some ways members of the Hells Angels in California dolled out punishment to others for perceived injustices. 

The details were included in the recent court filings as several members have found themselves in court or heading to prison for their role in dealing out biker ‘justice.’  

Merl Hefferman of California’s Fresno chapter was well-known for organizing children’s charity events, but prosecutors fear he may have routinely turned victims to ash in a funeral home dubbed the ‘pizza oven.’

He was jailed for four years on Friday after a 10-year racketeering investigation after being convicted of using a crematory to dispose of a member’s body. 

The investigation led to the arrest of others mmebers of a California Hells Angels including Raymond Foakes, who raped a member’s wife in revenge, as others forced tattooed the member.  Christopher Ranieri was convicted for his role in the murder of a member who had threatened others. Russell Lyles was sentenced to more than 60 months in prison for using his fist to punish members or ‘toughen them up.’

‘The Hells Angels followed a malicious code of conduct, encouraging the beating, maiming, and even killing of anyone who dared to cross their criminal enterprise,’ said US Attorney Ismail Ramsey.

Merle Hefferman, 54, was the public face of the Sonoma County chapter, organizing children's charity events in a bid to improve its image

Merle Hefferman, 54, was the public face of the Sonoma County chapter, organizing children’s charity events in a bid to improve its image 

Hefferman became 'fascinated' with the Fresno crematorium  and asked for the keys to the facility so that he could make 'something disappear' someday, the court heard. He was sentenced to four years in prison for disposing of a body using a creamatory

Hefferman became ‘fascinated’ with the Fresno crematorium  and asked for the keys to the facility so that he could make ‘something disappear’ someday, the court heard. He was sentenced to four years in prison for disposing of a body using a creamatory

Prosecutors fear that missing Hells Angels members Robbie Lane Huff II (left) and Juan Guevara (right) may also have met their end in the crematorium

Prosecutors fear that missing Hells Angels members Robbie Lane Huff II (left) and Juan Guevara (right) may also have met their end in the crematorium

‘The defendants now face the consequences of their violent racketeering activities.’

The Sonoma, California, chapter of the Hells Angels lived by the motto ‘F*** around and find out,’ Ramsey’s deputy Nina Peng told an earlier court hearing. 

Former chapter president Raymond Foakes was convicted of racketeering charges in May after a jury heard he spent four hours torturing the man who slept with his common-law wife in 2016.

‘Foakes was the main guy. He was Mr. Hells Angel,’ Peng told the jury,

‘He got respect by beating people, including other Hells Angels, down into submission.’

‘Foakes beat the victim with a baseball bat, forcibly tattooed the victim’s forehead, and induced Nelson to pistol-whip the victim in the face,’ Ramsey said.

‘He was also convicted of witness intimidation, in connection with his sexual assault of the victim’s wife while the victim was still being beaten at the Sonoma clubhouse and threatening her to comply with his demands and not report to the authorities,’ he added.

The chapter showed it was prepared to ‘murder its own’ after Sonoma member Joel ‘Doughboy’ Silva fell foul of East Coast members during ‘bike week’ in 2014 by threatening a friend Salem chapter president Christopher Ranieri.

When Ranieri protested to his California counterparts ‘they agreed that Silva had to be killed’ and lured him to the Fresno clubhouse where he was shot in the back of the head.

Christopher "Rainman" Ranieri

Raymond Foakes

Christopher ‘Rainman’ Ranieri (left) was convicted of conspiracy to murder, and Raymond Foakes spent four hours torturing the man who slept with his common-law wife

The club house of the notorious Sonoma County chapter of the Hells Angels

The club house of the notorious Sonoma County chapter of the Hells Angels 

David Cesena was jailed for 52 months for a home invasion robbery

Russell Lyles received 63 months for racketeering after being accused of involvement in multiple assaults and extortion plots

David Cesena (left) was jailed for 52 months for a home invasion robbery, Russell Lyles (right) received 63 months for racketeering after being accused of involvement in multiple assaults and extortion plots

Ranieri flew to Fresno for a party celebrating the murder but Hefferman, 54, was tasked with disposing of Silva’s body.

Levi Phipps, crematory manager at the Yost & Webb Funeral Home in Fresno testified that on the day of Silva’s murder Hefferman and his step-son threatened him with a gun and loaded Silva’s body into the incinerator.

Phipps alleged that before Silva’s murder, Hefferman became ‘fascinated with the crematory’ and asked for the keys to the facility so that he could make ‘something disappear’ someday.

Whistleblower Joseph Hardisty told prosecutors that Fresno chapter president Brian Wendt later admitted pulling the trigger on Silva and said ‘he had used the pizza oven for five or six bodies’.

He also gave Hardisty a phone number to call and say he was ‘cooking pizza’ if he ever wanted to use the crematorium himself.

Among those thought to have disappeared in the oven are former Hells Angel Robbie Huff who disappeared in 2015 after allegedly helping cover up Silva’s murder by burning his pickup truck.

Another named by federal prosecutors is fellow member Arthur Carasis of Contra Costa County who disappeared in 2016.

A third was named in court as Juan Guevara who disappeared in September 2015 from Kern County.

Jonathan ‘Jon Jon’ Nelson, 46, and Russell ‘Rusty’ Taylor Ott, 69, of Santa Rosa, were convicted of murder alongside Wendt, 45, in June last year for their roles in Silva’s death and are awaiting sentence.

David Cesena was jailed for 52 months for a home invasion robbery and his fellow Sonoma County member Russell Lyles received 63 months for racketeering after being accused of involvement in multiple assaults and extortion plots.

The indictment described the Hells Angels as a 'violent transnational outlaw motorcycle gang'

The indictment described the Hells Angels as a ‘violent transnational outlaw motorcycle gang’

Ranieri and Foakes remain to be sentenced. 

Sonoma member Jeremy Greer, 43, was sentenced alongside Hefferman to 84 months on Friday after admitting multiple brutal assaults, armed robbery, home invasion robbery, and witness intimidation.

‘Hefferman, Greer, and other members of their criminal enterprise attempted to use fear and intimidation to get away with their crimes,’ Ramsey said.

‘I commend the witnesses who did not succumb to this group’s intimidation tactics and came forward to law enforcement.’



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