Author Topic: SAGUACHE COUNTY JOHN DOE: M, 30-40, found in the Rio Grande Forest, CO - 19 October 2002  (Read 360 times)


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Local law enforcement making preparations for Hells Angels

Jul 9, 2002

Scott Schwebke

MONTROSE -- Local law enforcement agencies are preparing for an influx of Hells Angels expected to travel through Montrose later this month en route to a motorcycle rally in Gunnison.

About 400 Hells Angels from around the country are expected to gather in Gunnison July 21-29. With family and friends, the Hells Angels contingent is expected to swell the town of 5,500 by an added 1,500.

The Montrose Police Department and the Montrose County Sheriff's Office plan to have all available officers on standby during the duration of the rally to prevent any trouble locally.

"We are hoping that we don't have any problems, but we will be prepared if there are," said Montrose Police Chief Gary Mecham.

Local law officers are hoping for the best but are prepared for the worst, particularly if some of the Hells Angels decide to camp near Montrose because there are no accommodations in Gunnison, Montrose County Undersheriff Dick Deines said.

"You've got to expect problems because everybody else, wherever they have been, has had problems," he said.

The Colorado State Patrol plans to keep close tabs on the Hells Angels, said Trooper Gordon Strople.

"We will watch them, but we won't stop them unless they give us a reason to stop them," he said.

MPD officers recently received training from the Colorado State Patrol regarding tactical and safety procedures to deal with the Hells Angels, Mecham said. During the rally, area law enforcement agencies will share intelligence on the Hells Angels' activities. The MPD also plans to send three officers to Gunnison during the rally as a preventative measure.

More than 200 police officers -- including three from the MPD -- sheriff's deputies and Colorado state troopers and SWAT team specialists will be on Gunnison streets or staged for quick response if trouble should occur, Gunnison Police Chief Jim Keehne said. "Hopefully, it will be a non-event," he said. "All we can do is base our experience on their (the Hells Angels) past performance, which of late hasn't been very good."

Last month, two prospective Hells Angels were shot and wounded along a highway near Laconia in central New Hampshire. The next day a man was beaten in Laconia by Hells Angels members, though police say the two incidents appeared unrelated.

In April, three people were killed in Laughlin, Nev., as Hells Angels and Mongols, a rival motorcycle gang, engaged in a gun battle inside a casino. The last Hells Angels rally in Colorado in 1996 triggered a gunfight between bikers at a hotel in Steamboat Springs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report