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Seize and desist

SWAT teams take guns, ammo and knives during investigation of fight between Hells Angels and Set Free Soldiers.

August 11, 2008|By Joseph Serna

The investigation into two biker gangs that got into a violent melee at a Newport Beach bar last month expanded Monday, when more than 50 SWAT officers raided a massive compound in Riverside County searching for weapons belonging to the Set Free Soldiers, police said.

Authorities are expected to work through the night clearing out the site, made up of several commercial buildings police believe contain the same kinds of weapons authorities seized in seven raids last week, Newport Beach police Sgt. Evan Sailor said.

Hundreds of those weapons were on display Monday when Newport Beach police announced the names of the dozen they arrested last week in connection with a fight between the Hells Angels and Set Free Soldiers on July 27 at Blackie’s By the Sea, a popular bar off the beach.

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Brass knuckles, knives, handguns and rifles with scopes were part of both groups’ armories seized during morning raids Wednesday in Costa Mesa, Anaheim and Rancho Santa Margarita, officials said. Everyone arrested was taken without incident, police said, with Newport Beach and Costa Mesa SWAT teams nabbing their men after surrounding their homes in the 2000 block of State Street and 2500 block of Westminster on Wednesday morning and ordering all inside to surrender.

Accused Hells Angels members Scott Guinn, 23, Brian Heslington, 35, and John Lloyd, 41, were arrested, police said. They were booked on suspicion of multiple drug and weapons violations but have yet to be formerly charged, prosecutors said. A fourth Hells Angels member, Rodrigo Requejo, 34, of Rancho Santa Margarita, also awaits charges, police said.

According to police, four members of the Hells Angels were inside Blackie’s By The Sea to meet members of the Set Free Soldiers, a group that considers itself a Christian ministry but police regard as an outlaw biker gang. Security cameras inside the bar show at first five Set Free Soldiers approaching the Hells Angels and talking, Capt. John Desmond said.

Moments later, 10 more Set Free Soldiers walked into the bar and surrounded the Hells Angels, Desmond said. A Hells Angels member threw the first punch, he said. The fight ended within a minute, police said, but not before two Hells Angels were stabbed in the gut by Set Free Soldiers and Lloyd, a Hells Angels member, had smashed a billiards ball on a Set Free Soldiers member’s head.

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