2 tied to Hells Angels indicted
Two Snohomish County men are charged in a murder and racketeering case.
By Diana Hefley
Two Snohomish County men with alleged ties to the Hells Angels motorcycle club were indicted in federal court on Tuesday as part of a sweeping investigation involving murder and stolen motorcycle parts.
Elizabeth Armstrong/ The Herald
Snohomish County sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement officials gather at a property near Lake Roesiger where Rodney Rollness was arrested on Tuesday.
Rodney Rollness, 45, of Snohomish was charged Tuesday with a laundry list of crimes, including his purported role in the killing of Michael "Santa" Walsh, who was shot to death in 2001 in Arlington. Court papers describe Rollness as a former Hells Angel.
Paul Foster, 49, of Arlington also was charged Tuesday for reportedly helping Rollness and another former Hells Angel cover up the killing.
Richard Allen Fabel, 48, Ricky Jenks, 28, both of Spokane, and Joshua Binder, 30, of North Bend also were indicted Tuesday. Fabel and Jenks were arrested in Spokane.
All the men except Foster are current or former members of the Washington Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels, prosecutors said. The group is believed to be the only Hells Angels chapter in the state, according to court records.
Investigators said that since 1999, all of the defendants except Foster have engaged in a pattern of racketeering that included murder, attempted murder, intimidation, extortion, robbery and trafficking in stolen property.
Fabel, also known as "Smilin' Rick," is president of the Nomads chapter, according to the indictment. He is charged with directing gang members to engage in criminal activities.
Fabel and Jenks also have been indicted in Nevada for their alleged part in a fight and fatal shootout with a rival motorcycle gang. Their trials are pending.
Rollness and Binder reportedly left the Hells Angels in 2003. Along with racketeering charges, they are accused of conspiracy to commit murder and murder to further racketeering.
FBI agents and local police on Tuesday descended on Rollness' house and property just off Dubuque Road near Lake Roesiger east of Snohomish. The property is surrounded by fir and cedar trees with signs warning "Beware of Dogs," "No Trespassing" and "Watch for Children."
Also on Tuesday, police raided locations in Spokane, including the Hells Angels clubhouse.
The indictment was the result of a two-year investigation that began with the Monroe Police Department. Monroe police, the Washington State Patrol and the FBI launched an investigation after Monroe police received information about the Hells Angels trafficking in stolen motorcycles and parts, according to prosecutors.
The investigation eventually led detectives to an unsolved murder.
A passer-by stumbled upon the body of Michael Walsh on July 25, 2001, off a road in Granite Falls. Police said he was last seen at a party at Foster's Arlington house.
The Snohomish County sheriff's cold case homicide squad was brought to assist with the murder case.
"These cases are very labor-intensive to put together. (The members) are part of a very closed society. They hold information closely in the group," said Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.
Rollness and Binder appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle Tuesday. Trial was set for March 20. If convicted of the murder charge, Rollness and Binder could face life in prison or the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Tuesday's indictment is not related to charges filed last summer against dozens of members of the Bellingham-based Bandidos motorcycle gang.
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