Two Pagan’s Motorcycle Club Members Charged With Shooting Hells Angels Associate On New Jersey Toll Freeway | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – Two high-ranking members of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club were charged today with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, drug distribution and firearms offenses, US Prosecutor Philip said. R. Sellinger.
Larry Ortiz, alias “Savage”, 31, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Junius Aquino, alias “Jayo”, 38, of Vauxhall, New Jersey, have been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for the benefit of racketeering (count one) and discharge a firearm during and in connection with a violent crime (count two), in connection with their roles in a gang-related shootout. Aquino was also charged with Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon (Count Three) and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine (Count Four), and Ortiz was also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (Count five) and possession of a firearm in the prosecution of a drug trafficking crime (count six).
According to the documents filed and the statements made in court:
On October 21, 2020, Aquino visited a bar in Verona, New Jersey with other members of the Pagan’s. When Aquino and his associates came out of the bar, a group of individuals approached them and assaulted them with baseball bats. About a week later, Aquino and Ortiz shot a Hells Angels associate on the New Jersey Turnpike in retaliation for the assault on Verona. The Pagan’s and the Hells Angels are known to be rival gangs.
Aquino was also charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The ammunition charge stems from a shooting in Elizabeth on October 31, 2020, in which Aquino shot an occupied vehicle. On November 5, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Aquino’s home and recovered, among other items, several .40 caliber cartridges and approximately 50 grams of cocaine. At the time of Aquino’s arrest, he was vice president of the Pagan’s Elizabeth membership chapter.
Ortiz was charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of drug trafficking. On November 17, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ortiz’s home and recovered approximately 300 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded firearm. At the time of his arrest, Ortiz was chairman of the Pagans’ Jersey City membership chapter.
The charges were laid as part of a multi-agency investigation into the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club – an outlaw motorcycle gang known to engage in illegal activities including drug trafficking, arms trafficking and violent crime. The Pagans have established membership chapters in many US states and territories, including several active chapters in New Jersey. This investigation involved court-authorized wiretapping, the use of multiple undercover law enforcement officers, and the execution of multiple search warrants at physical locations in multiple jurisdictions. As part of the investigation, law enforcement seized 10 firearms and more than 800 grams of methamphetamine.
The first count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000. Count two carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of up to $ 250,000. Count three carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000. Count four carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $ 1 million. Count five carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $ 10 million. Count six carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of up to $ 250,000.
US Attorney Sellinger credited a joint task force made up of special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Newark Division, under the leadership of Special Agent in charge Susan A. Gibson; special constables, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; the Union County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney William A. Daniel; and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to these charges. He also thanked the Elizabeth Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Giacomo Sacca, for their assistance in this investigation.
These cases are part of an operation of the Working Groups on Combating Drugs in Organized Crime (OCDETF). The OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a multi-agency, prosecutor-led, intelligence-led approach. Additional information on the OCDETF program is available at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The government is represented by Deputy US Prosecutors Robert Frazer, R. Joseph Gribko and Samantha C. Fasanello, of the US Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are only charges, and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.