Dozens arraigned after biker gang crackdown

Dozens of people shuffled into District Court in Providence Thursday to be arraigned on charges in the state’s crackdown on violent biker gangs.

First up was Deric “Tuna” McGuire, who authorities say is the leader of Rhode Island’s Pagan motorcycle gang. He was held without bail and faces more than 220 counts, including marijuana, cocaine and weapons charges, after sweeping raids by state and federal authorities Wednesday.

The scope of “Operation Patched Out” could be seen by the reams of paperwork: An affidavit for the case spanned more than 1,200 pages in a jumbo-sized three-ring binder that state prosecutors brought to court. Fifty people were arrested.

McGuire is depicted as at the top of an organizational chart released by state authorities investigating biker gangs taking hold in northwestern Rhode Island; on Thursday morning, he was in cuffs.

“These gang members are not recreational bikers organizing local charities,” Rhode Island State Police Col. Ann C. Assumpico said in a news release. “These are violent criminals who belong to some of the most sinister motorcycle gangs in this country.”

Besides McGuire, who was by himself, the defendants — some of whom are purported to be drug suppliers or customers, but not members of the Pagans or Kryptmen groups themselves — were brought, shackled together in pairs, before Chief Judge Jeanne E. LaFazia.

All were in street clothes after their arrests in Wednesday’s raids. Prosecutors told LaFazia that they expect to level even more charges based on what they found.

Some defendants were denied release and will have hearings in two weeks; others were given the opportunity to post bail. The arraignments stretched beyond the morning, with one prosecutor estimating that after a dozen and a half arraignments, there were 20 more left for the afternoon.

The pre-dawn raids were part of an operation by the Rhode Island State Police, which was helped by the state attorney general and federal authorities.

State police said Wednesday they had seized 53 weapons and large caches of marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin.

Search warrants stretched from Burrillville to Woonsocket to Chepachet to Milford, Massachusetts.


Like and follow us on Facebook