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December 12, 2017
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$5,000 reward for wanted local Hells Angel

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
December 1, 2017

By Katherine Minkiewicz

Last Tuesday the FBI San Francisco Division announced that multiple police agencies are searching for a Sonoma County man who’s a federal fugitive wanted for racketeering and assault with a deadly weapon after being indicted in early October by a federal grand jury.

A slew of local and federal agencies — the California Highway Patrol, FBI, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Rosa Police Department, are asking for the public’s help in locating 36-year-old Russell Allen Lyles Jr., who has been a wanted fugitive since Nov. 10, according to Cameron Rogers Polan, a media spokesperson with the FBI San Francisco Division.

The Sonoma County Alliance, a local nonprofit that has run the “Take Back Our Community” program since 2005 which aims to “rid streets and neighborhoods of violent crimes and gang members,” is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of Lyles, who is a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle gang based in Sonoma County.

Eleven other members are facing similar charges including extortion, robbery, assault, witness tampering and murder in a case that involves eight other alleged associates of Hells Angels Sonoma County and one from the Fresno and Boston chapter, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment was initially filed October 10 and was then unsealed on Nov. 20 after the arrest of eight of the defendants following a three-year long investigation. The arrests took place the previous weekend during a raid at 16 different locations, including the Wagon Wheel Saloon in Santa Rosa. One of eight of the members from Sonoma County, Raymond Michael Foakes, who was previously a Rohnert Park resident, was already in federal prison due to an arrest made in 2016 after Foakes allegedly raped the wife of a fellow gang member.

The extensive indictment paints a picture of an extremely violent group that aims to “Preserve and protect the power, territory, reputation and profits of the enterprise, its members and family members, through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults and murders,” and to “... keep victims, potential victims and community members in fear of the enterprise and its members,” the unsealed court indictment documents state. The crimes committed by the group are quite severe and include a lengthy indictment that describe the nature of which the violent crimes were carried out.

According to the same U.S. Attorney’s press release, HASC works alongside with other chapters of the Hells Angels to, “engage in criminal activity including murder, narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, illegal firearms possession and obstruction of justice.”

In a statement U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch said of the indictment, “This week we have taken a significant step towards bringing justice to an alleged conspiracy whose aim has been to commit violent crimes.”

One of these violent crimes includes the alleged murder of an unnamed victim in July of 2014. As described in the indictment, “Brian Wendt, aided and abetted by Jonathan Nelson and Russell Ott, killed Victim 1 at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse.” Nelson had allegedly told the victim to make the drive out to Fresno to meet Wendt. The victim then traveled with Russell Ott from Northern California to the Fresno clubhouse, where the victim was then supposedly murdered.

By Katherine Minkiewicz

Last Tuesday the FBI San Francisco Division announced that multiple police agencies are searching for a Sonoma County man who’s a federal fugitive wanted for racketeering and assault with a deadly weapon after being indicted in early October by a federal grand jury.

A slew of local and federal agencies — the California Highway Patrol, FBI, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Rosa Police Department, are asking for the public’s help in locating 36-year-old Russell Allen Lyles Jr., who has been a wanted fugitive since Nov. 10, according to Cameron Rogers Polan, a media spokesperson with the FBI San Francisco Division.

The Sonoma County Alliance, a local nonprofit that has run the “Take Back Our Community” program since 2005 which aims to “rid streets and neighborhoods of violent crimes and gang members,” is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of Lyles, who is a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle gang based in Sonoma County.

Eleven other members are facing similar charges including extortion, robbery, assault, witness tampering and murder in a case that involves eight other alleged associates of Hells Angels Sonoma County and one from the Fresno and Boston chapter, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment was initially filed October 10 and was then unsealed on Nov. 20 after the arrest of eight of the defendants following a three-year long investigation. The arrests took place the previous weekend during a raid at 16 different locations, including the Wagon Wheel Saloon in Santa Rosa. One of eight of the members from Sonoma County, Raymond Michael Foakes, who was previously a Rohnert Park resident, was already in federal prison due to an arrest made in 2016 after Foakes allegedly raped the wife of a fellow gang member.

The extensive indictment paints a picture of an extremely violent group that aims to “Preserve and protect the power, territory, reputation and profits of the enterprise, its members and family members, through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults and murders,” and to “... keep victims, potential victims and community members in fear of the enterprise and its members,” the unsealed court indictment documents state. The crimes committed by the group are quite severe and include a lengthy indictment that describe the nature of which the violent crimes were carried out.

According to the same U.S. Attorney’s press release, HASC works alongside with other chapters of the Hells Angels to, “engage in criminal activity including murder, narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, illegal firearms possession and obstruction of justice.”

In a statement U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch said of the indictment, “This week we have taken a significant step towards bringing justice to an alleged conspiracy whose aim has been to commit violent crimes.”

One of these violent crimes includes the alleged murder of an unnamed victim in July of 2014. As described in the indictment, “Brian Wendt, aided and abetted by Jonathan Nelson and Russell Ott, killed Victim 1 at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse.” Nelson had allegedly told the victim to make the drive out to Fresno to meet Wendt. The victim then traveled with Russell Ott from Northern California to the Fresno clubhouse, where the victim was then supposedly murdered.

In addition to the charge of rape, Foakes was also involved in money laundering. In 2007 Foakes committed various acts of bank fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in order to attain a residence in which to set up an indoor marijuana cultivation operation.

As for Lyles, his indictment includes overt acts of possession of copious amounts of firearms and other dangerous weapons such as brass knuckles, homemade mace, a large capacity magazine for an AR-15 rifle and knives. He was also indicted for stealing a motorcycle from an unnamed victim in 2015.

Upon a criminal case record search via the Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma, it was found that Lyles has an enormous criminal case record that goes all the way back to 1992.

In a felony case from 2016 that is still ongoing, Lyles was charged with two counts of threatening to commit crime with intent to terrorize, two counts of personally using a deadly weapon, two counts of inflicting corporal injury and several other charges of assault and using a deadly weapon. In 2011 another case with Lyles for possession of a deadly weapon and the manufacturing, selling and possession of dangerous weapons and carrying an explosive. In 2008 he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and an $100 fine for driving with a suspended license and had similar misdemeanor cases from 2004 and 2001.

According to a press release from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Lyles is a Windsor resident and business owner and also has a home in Healdsburg and is familiar with the areas of Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Law enforcement believes that he may be traveling through those areas with his pregnant fiancé who is not a fugitive. 

Authorities are warning the public not to approach Lyles if he is seen and to instead call law enforcement. Anyone with information on his whereabouts are encouraged to call the FBI San Francisco Division at: (415) 553-7400 or the Santa Rosa Police Department at (707) 528-5222. Tips can remain anonymous authorities note.

“We have received tips,” Rogers Polan says. “We don’t have a number though.”

Even though Lyles is yet to be located, Stretch said he is thankful for all the police agencies working to bring the case to a close.

“This operation proves once again the value of pooling the resources of the federal government with those of our state and local law enforcement partners — it is only through this coordination that we are able to stamp out violence in our communities. I commend and thank all of our law enforcement partners for their extraordinary work in bringing this phase of the operation to a successful conclusion,” Stretch stated. 

 

As for Lyles, his indictment includes overt acts of possession of copious amounts of firearms and other dangerous weapons such as brass knuckles, homemade mace, a large capacity magazine for an AR-15 rifle and knives. He was also indicted for stealing a motorcycle from an unnamed victim in 2015.

Upon a criminal case record search via the Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma, it was found that Lyles has an enormous criminal case record that goes all the way back to 1992.

In a felony case from 2016 that is still ongoing, Lyles was charged with two counts of threatening to commit crime with intent to terrorize, two counts of personally using a deadly weapon, two counts of inflicting corporal injury and several other charges of assault and using a deadly weapon. In 2011 another case with Lyles for possession of a deadly weapon and the manufacturing, selling and possession of dangerous weapons and carrying an explosive. In 2008 he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and an $100 fine for driving with a suspended license and had similar misdemeanor cases from 2004 and 2001.

According to a press release from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Lyles is a Windsor resident and business owner and also has a home in Healdsburg and is familiar with the areas of Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Law enforcement believes that he may be traveling through those areas with his pregnant fiancé who is not a fugitive. 

Authorities are warning the public not to approach Lyles if he is seen and to instead call law enforcement. Anyone with information on his whereabouts are encouraged to call the FBI San Francisco Division at: (415) 553-7400 or the Santa Rosa Police Department at (707) 528-5222. Tips can remain anonymous authorities note.

“We have received tips,” Rogers Polan says. “We don’t have a number though.”

Even though Lyles is yet to be located, Stretch said he is thankful for all the police agencies working to bring the case to a close.

“This operation proves once again the value of pooling the resources of the federal government with those of our state and local law enforcement partners — it is only through this coordination that we are able to stamp out violence in our communities. I commend and thank all of our law enforcement partners for their extraordinary work in bringing this phase of the operation to a successful conclusion,” Stretch stated.