The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and several other agencies worked together to coordinate a large bust at 6 a.m. Thursday on a local chapter of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.
At a press conference held that afternoon, Dave Thomas, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Columbia, announced 21 arrests and the 100 firearms seized.
In an 80-page indictment, prosecutors accused members of the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter of the Hell’s Angels of engaging in money laundering, arson, and drug selling. The chapter was located in the Midlands and Catawba areas.
“This has been an ongoing investigation by the FBI, and our state local partners, of over two years. This is one of the great examples of what, in law enforcement, we are trying to get into,” said Thomas. “We had received information that the Hell’s Angels were establishing chapters and conducting criminal activity throughout the Midlands here and North Carolina.”
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said he has been pounded by this case the past two years as the Hells Angels moved and tried to develop their headquarters in Lexington. He said the people of Lexington noticed the gang and kept asking him why he was letting it happen.
“We can’t tell people, unless they’re violating the law, where they can go and what they can do,” he said Thursday, “But we got our gang unit involved right away and we started doing intelligence and of course we joined with FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), and all the others to start working on getting these people under indictments.”
Metts said the Hell’s Angels brought organized crime to South Carolina, which he said is much different from the average everyday drug dealer his department normally handles. Metts said it took time to conduct this bust on the large networked organization.
Jay Richardson with the US Attorney’s Office in Columbia said 23 search warrants were executed around 6 a.m. Thursday in North and South Carolina. During the operation, law enforcement seized methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, pills and approximately 100 firearms, including 2 automatic machine guns.
Officials said they could not yet reveal specifics on the raids, including where they actually occurred.
Those arrested include:
•Daniel Eugene Bifield, a/k/a Diamond Dan (Leesville)
•Somying Anderson, a/k/a Ying (West Columbia)
•Bruce James Long, a/k/a Bruce-Bruce (West Columbia)
•James Frederick Keach, Jr., a/k/a Big Fred (Pelion)
•Lisa Ellen Bifield, a/k/a Lisa Ellen Meyers, Lisa Ellen Stockton (Leesville)
•Trent Allen Brown (West Columbia)
•Bruce Ranson Wilson, a/k/a Diesel (Swansea)
•Mark William Baker, a/k/a Lightning (Lancaster)
•David Channing Oiler, a/k/a Gravel Dave (Lancaster)
•Richard Thrower, a/k/a Little Mark, Rat (Lancaster)
•David Pryor, a/k/a Yard Owl (York)
•Frank Enriquez, Jr., a/k/a Big Frank (Rock Hill)
•Donald Boersma, a/k/a Brooklyn Donnie (Clover)
•Johanna Looper, a/k/a JoJo (York)
•Thomas McManus Plyler, a/k/a Uncle Tom (Rock Hill)
•Jamie Hobbs Long (Lancaster)
•Kerry Chitwood (Gastonia, North Carolina)
•Carlos Hernandez (Charlotte, North Carolina)
•Ronald Dean Byrum, Jr., a/k/a Big Ron (Gastonia, North Carolina)
South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report.