DENVER -- Federal agents across Denver, its suburbs and in Colorado Springs targeted the Hells Angels and at least one other motorcycle gang on Thursday. A dozen people were arrested and are accused of being linked to organized crime.
At lease one suspect was wounded in the raids in Jefferson County. That suspect was hit by shotgun ammunition designed to break open doors, according to deputies. The person has injuries that are not life threatening.
In Denver's Lower Highland neighborhood, residents received an alarming wake-up call around 4 a.m. as agents surrounded what’s known as the Hells Angels clubhouse. ATF agents were at the clubhouse on Navajo St., for about eight hours.
“[There were] four loud bangs with very bright lights,” said Highlands resident Samuel Elliott. "[I] was worried that there were gunshots.”
The ATF says, in all, 19 search warrants were executed, resulting in 12 arrests.
“This is not just a Hells Angels case,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge David Booth. “There are other people involved.”
The investigation started in June 2019, according to Booth. Denver’s district attorney plans to prosecute the suspects under Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act. She says specific charges are still pending with her office, and charges are also possible from the US Attorney’s Office.
FOX31 also witnessed the ATF at 2300 block of South Race Street in Denver and in the 2300 block of Youngfield Street near Lakewood, where neighbors also heard commotion around 4 a.m.
Residents who spoke to FOX31 only had positive things to say about their neighbors who are alleged motorcycle gangsters.
“They’ve always been really great,” said Jefferson County resident Madison Karl. “Really nice people. Great neighbors.”
ATF agents also raided two Englewood businesses.
Early Thursday morning, agents busted down the door of Kool Kats Tatts, near Dartmouth Avenue and Wyandot Street.
Investigators spent more than 12 hours collecting evidence there and at the business next door, Motorcycle Consignment of the Rockies.
Authorities have not said what kind of charges the 12 suspects will face. More arrests are desired as the investigation continues, officials said.
In 2001, Denver police raided the Hells Angels clubhouse. The city later apologized for the raid and settled with the organization for $50,000 for searching without a warrant, according to news reports from the time. Current Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the 2001 case has no relation to the Thursday raid of the same location.
Attorney David Lane represented the Hells Angels in the 2001 case. He said he had no information about Thursday’s raids and has not been recently contacted by the group.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club website shows it has chapters in 26 states, including Colorado. The website references three clubs in Denver and northern Colorado. The first was established in 2002.