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Modesto Hells Angels Leader Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Charges

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The investigation was led by the Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. (Shutterstock)
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A senior member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Modesto is facing up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine after pleading guilty to federal drug charges Friday.

In a Fresno courtroom, Michael Shafer, 33, admitted to charges of possession and conspiracy to distributed heroin and marijuana, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in a news release.

The Department of Justice said investigators obtained a court-authorized wiretap for Shafer’s phone as part of a years-long investigation into the Hells Angels. The wiretapped calls and messages showed that Shafer was conspiring to distribute marijuana and heroin. According to court documents, Shafer conspired in 2019 with a former Hells Angels member who was incarcerated in Pleasant Valley State Prison to smuggle heroin into prison.

The wiretap also produced evidence of Shafer’s intent to distribute marijuana, officials said.

Sentencing Scheduled for October

Shafer is scheduled to be sentenced in October, according to the Justice Department. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years.

The prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation intended to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations through a multi-agency strategy.

Agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, Modesto Police Department, Turlock Police Department, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Highway Patrol, according to the department’s news release.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson and Laurel Montoya prosecuted the case.

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