Mongols members take plea deals


Police spent two years building their case against two rival biker gangs for their roles in the Laughlin River Run riot that left three men dead.

Prosecutors spent three more years preparing for trial, watching and rewatching 400 hours of video and interviewing more than 150 witnesses.

Five years after the brawl between the Hells Angels and Mongols inside Harrah's Laughlin, the case all but ended Monday afternoon with a flurry of signatures from the last six Mongols facing charges. They all agreed to plea deals with prosecutors and avoided going to trial next week on a laundry list of charges including murder.

Potential sentences ranged from one year in jail to five years in prison under the plea agreements.

Most of the agreements were conditional and allowed the defendants to withdraw their guilty pleas if District Judge Michelle Leavitt imposes longer sentences.

Alexander Alcantar, 34, who shot and killed two Hells Angels members, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter.

"I shot two men," he told Leavitt, referring to Jeramie Dean Bell, 27, and Robert Emmet Tumelty, 50.

Mongols member Anthony Salvador Barrera, 43, was stabbed to death.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend an 18-to-45-month prison sentence for Alcantar.

Chief Deputy District Attorney William Kephart said he was disappointed at the outcome.

"When you see someone get killed, a few years doesn't seem like enough to me," Kephart said.

But prosecutors had to contend with Alcantar's self-defense argument and legal challenges, including a 2006 Nevada Supreme Court ruling that tossed out most of the charges in the original indictment. A new grand jury indictment was handed up later that year.

"We started with a significant number of charges. After it being whittled down to what it was, and the law being changed as it was, this is what we were left with," Kephart said.

Kephart said he was satisfied that the case was resolved and all the defendants took responsibility for their roles in the melee.

Kenneth Dysart, 45, pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm into a structure. Prosecutors will recommend a 12-to-30-month prison sentence.

Benjamin Leyva, 36, pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the head with a bottle. Prosecutors will recommend a 12-to-30-month prison sentence.

Pedro Martinez, 28, who shot a man, pleaded guilty to battery with a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm. Prosecutors will recommend 24 to 60 months in prison.

Walter Ramirez, 34, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to commit voluntary manslaughter for helping Alcantar escape the casino after the brawl. Prosecutors will not recommend a sentence on the charge, which carries a 12-to-60-month prison term.

Finally, former Mongols president Roger Pinney, 63, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit battery or provoke a breach peace, a gross misdemeanor. He could be sentenced to one year in jail.

Sentencing for all six defendants was scheduled for January.

With Monday's pleas, the only defendant who hasn't ended his case was Hells Angels member Frederick Donahue, who has been on the run since 2002.

In October 2006, six Hells Angels members pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime and battery in the aid of racketeering in a federal case that unraveled during trial. Most of their prison sentences ranged between 24 to 30 months, with the longest going to gunman Calvin Schaefer, who got 51 months in federal prison.

Federal charges were dismissed against 36 other Hells Angels members named in the indictment. State charges against the Hells Angels were either reduced or dropped to coincide with the charges in the federal plea deal.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0281.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.