Las Vegas police raided six locations Wednesday morning in connection with criminal investigations into the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Part of the investigations involved a brawl last year that resulted in the stabbings of two rival gang members.
Lt. Dave Logue of the Metropolitan Police Department's Intelligence Section said SWAT officers helped in raids throughout the valley, including one in Henderson. The raids were conducted between 6:15 and 11 a.m.
Logue said no arrests were made.
"We were looking for some specific evidence," he said. "We didn't expect to make any arrests unless we found something inside that would have forced us to."
Logue wouldn't discuss what evidence police might have seized in the raids, noting the search warrants were sealed.
He also wouldn't reveal the nature of all of the crimes police were investigating, only confirming that the one investigation focused on a fight at a downtown wedding chapel between the Hells Angels and their long-standing rivals, the Mongols. Three separate investigations are ongoing, he said.
Logue said that in December 2008, members of the Hells Angels were finishing a wedding ceremony when three rival Mongol members walked in to start a separate ceremony. Logue said the encounter resulted in two Mongols being stabbed. No arrests were made.
The incident, which occurred at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel, was not the only violent encounter between the two groups in Nevada.
A gunbattle at the 2002 Laughlin River Run resulted in the deaths of two Hells Angels and one Mongol. Several members of both gangs were sent to prison on charges stemming from the brawl.
Neighborhood residents near a Hells Angels' home near Torrey Pines Drive and Washington Avenue noticed the heavy police presence Wednesday morning.
Rosario Pena was awakened by the sound of an explosionlike noise followed by a series of loud rapping noises. She and her two sons watched events unfold as SWAT officers surrounded the home at 801 N. Torrey Pines for about two hours.
Pena, who lives two doors from the home, saw officers shoot something at security cameras perched on the two-story house.
A front window and garage door were replaced with plywood Wednesday, and the security cameras were covered in a pink paint.
An insignia of an angel is attached to gates surrounding the home; the words 'Sin City' and the letters HAMC -- for Hells Angels Motorcycle Club -- are displayed above the door. The front yard is paved over, and several chairs were scattered about.
Pena said she knew Hells Angels used the home for meetings, but she was never bothered by their presence.
"Sometimes there would be like 60 motorcycles here," she said, pointing at the nearby intersection. "But they are never rowdy."
Another neighbor, who didn't want her name used, was roused by the noise also. The witness said she heard officers yell, "We have the right to come in and check the home. ... We are serving a notice."
She said she saw an officer kick in the front door and enter with a K-9 unit while several other officers broke through the garage door. She said the officers emerged from the home about 10 minutes later but didn't remove any items from the home.
Logue wouldn't comment on any tactics SWAT used in the raids, but said, "We met no type of resistance per se from anybody we encountered once inside the homes."
He added that police are still months away from submitting charges to the district attorney's office for review and that the investigation could spread into other states.
Logue said there are about 20 members of the Hells Angels from two chapters in Southern Nevada.
"We feel pretty confident that our investigation is a strong one," Logue said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638. Contact reporter Maggie Lillis at email@example.com or 702-383-0287.