Published: February 4, 2005
Local News: Rockford
Hells Angels members indicted
The president and a former vice president of the Rockford chapter face racketeering and drug-conspiracy charges.
By MIKE WISER, Rockford Register Star
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ROCKFORD — The president of the Rockford Hells Angels motorcycle club chapter and its former vice president have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Peoria on racketeering and drug-conspiracy charges.
The indictments, announced Thursday, say President James “JW” White, 50, of Belvidere and Richard Abrams, 39, of Rockford plotted and directed others to find and murder members of rival motorcycle gangs in Peoria and LaSalle counties.
Also named in the indictment are David “Pulley” Ohlendorf, 39, of New Lenox and Melvin “Road” Chancey, 35, of Alsip.
The four men also allegedly conspired to distribute more than 20 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine between 1993 and 2002.
“This indictment represents a significant investment of each agency’s time and resources and an ongoing commitment to work together to ensure that such acts of violence and drug dealing as charged in the indictment will not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Jan Paul Miller said in a news release from Peoria, announcing the indictments.
Excerpts of the indictment provided by the Justice Department cover nearly a decade of alleged criminal activity undertaken by the four gang members. Specifically:
-- Chancey, a former president of the Chicago chapter, and Ohlendorf shot another motorcycle club president in the chest and leg in June 1994.
-- Chancey and others traveled to Kankakee armed with guns and pipe bombs to find and kill other motorcycle club members and bomb their clubhouse in 1995.
-- Chancey threatened to bomb a bar, and its customers’ vehicles and kill its employees if members of the Hells Angels were asked to pay the cover charge in 1997.
-- Ohlendorf directed others to arm themselves and travel to Peoria to kill other motorcycle club members and did make the trip in 2002.
According to Winnebago County court records, White and Abrams have had brushes with local authorities, but mostly for traffic violations. In 2001, White was allegedly in possession of a motorcycle made up of stolen parts. Abrams bailed him out of jail; that case is pending.
Abrams had a possession charge that was dismissed in 2002.
The allegations in the indictments are reminiscent of the violence and drug problems the Rockford community experienced in the late 1980s through the 1990s while the Hells Angels and a rival gang, the Outlaws, were embroiled in a war that included killings and bombings.
In recent years, some in the Angels tried to put a happier face on their club. They opened their clubhouse to the public for a party in April 2004 and encouraged people to “Get Your Bike Blessed” by Pastor James “Oats” Oldfield, a longtime club member.
No one appeared to be inside the Hells Angels Rockford headquarters, 1109 Rock St., Thursday night. Calls to known associates of the Rockford club were not returned.
Agencies participating in the investigation included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Internal Revenue Service; Illinois State Police; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.