FRESNO, Calif .– Michael Shafer, 33, of Modesto, today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and conspiracy to distribute and possess in the intent to distribute marijuana, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Shafer was vice president of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Modesto in 2019. As part of a multi-year investigation into the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, investigators obtained a court-authorized wiretap for Shafer’s phone. The bugged calls and messages showed Shafer conspiring to distribute marijuana and heroin. Specifically, in April 2019, Shafer conspired with a former Hells Angels member incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison to smuggle heroin.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Modesto Police Department, Turlock Police Department, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. prosecutors Ross Pearson and Laurel Montoya are continuing the case.
Shafer is due to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on October 22. Shafer faces a maximum legal sentence of 40 years in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $ 5 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after considering all applicable statutory factors and federal sentencing guidelines, which take a number of variables into account.
This effort is part of an operation of the Working Groups on Combating Drugs Against 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 www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The case is being prosecuted under the joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses its enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and reintegration programs for sustainable crime reduction.