OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — Federal agents attempting to arrest two members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang as part of a seven-state sweep shot and killed one of them in an early morning gunfight Tuesday.
More than two dozen Outlaws members across the country were charged Tuesday in Virginia with participating in a criminal enterprise.
In Milwaukee, Wis., Jack Rosga, whom federal officials described as the group’s national president, was arrested by federal agents and charged with two counts of conspiracy, one alleging that he directed gang members to retaliate against the Hell’s Angels for an attack on Outlaws members, resulting in a murder attempt in Canaan.
A SWAT team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was fired upon at about 6 a.m. while attempting to arrest Thomas “Tomcat” Mayne, 59, the regional treasurer for the Outlaws, along with Kenneth Chretian, according to ATF spokesman Michael Campbell.
Mayne was killed. Two women also were in the house, but nobody else was injured in the shootout, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The SWAT team was used because the ATF viewed the suspects as being part of a “violent criminal enterprise,” said Glenn N. Anderson, ATF special agent in charge of the Boston office. He said the agents were fired at when they arrived.
Authorities found a shotgun and a handgun inside the house after the shooting.
Meanwhile, two Maine men who were arrested as part of the seven-state sweep made their first appearances in federal court.
Thomas Benvie of Sanford and Chretian of Old Orchard Beach made their initial court appearances Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Benvie’s attorney, David Beneman, said he will seek bail at a hearing Thursday in federal court in Portland. Until then, Benvie will be detained. He is one of 27 Outlaws members nationwide charged with racketeering, drug trafficking and other counts in a federal indictment.
Chretian faces a federal charge of resisting in the execution of a search warrant. A detention hearing for him is scheduled for Monday. His lawyer didn’t immediately return a message.
Mayne was one of 27 members and associates of the American Outlaw Association motorcycle gang charged in the indictment unsealed Tuesday in Richmond, Va. A federal grand jury charged many of the defendants with racketeering for allegedly participating in a criminal enterprise involved in attempted murder, kidnapping, extortion, illegal gambling and drug dealing. Defendants are from Wisconsin, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia
Two other Outlaws members with Maine ties listed among those charged in the federal indictment are Joseph Allman, described as a past president and enforcer for the Maine chapter, and Michael Pedini, a former enforcer in the club’s northern Maine chapter.
According to the indictment, the attempted murder of Hell’s Angels member Gary Watson, 63, in Canaan was triggered by the ongoing power struggle between the two motorcycle clubs.
In early September of last year, Hell’s Angels members in New Haven, Conn., assaulted two Outlaws members, sending them to the hospital for treatment. In retaliation, Rosga asked Pedini to “personally take revenge” on the Hell’s Angels, according to the indictment.
The federal indictment documents state that on Oct. 8, 2009, Mayne and Pedini allegedly “surveilled, confronted and shot” Watson while he sat in his pickup truck outside the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Canaan. Watson suffered numerous gunshot wounds and serious injury.
The next day, Allman allegedly told an undercover Outlaws member about the shooting in Maine. “Allman indicated that he was the former Outlaws boss in Maine and had been involved in ordering the [Hell’s Angels] assault,” the documents state.
On or about Oct. 12, Pedini told an undercover Outlaws member in Petersburg, Va., that “he may have to leave town in a hurry and is wondering if he could stay at the Petersburg clubhouse.”
The federal documents noted that Mayne and Pedini added patches to their vests “signifying their involvement in the Canaan, Maine shooting of the [Hell’s Angel] victim.”
It was not clear Tuesday evening if Allman or Pedini were arrested during the nationwide sweep.
In Milwaukee, ATF agents served a search warrant at the American Outlaw Association headquarters — a foreboding black building adorned with red-eyed skulls over crossed pistons and a sign showing an extended middle finger — and arrested Rosga. The agents also carried out a number of boxes, plastic bags and file folders.
A federal judge in Milwaukee ordered Rosga held Tuesday until he could be transferred to Virginia.
Chip Burke, the defense attorney representing Rosga until his transfer, said prosecutors may be overstating Rosga’s role with the group. He said Rosga is charged with two counts of conspiracy but wasn’t explicitly accused of committing violence.
The indictment alleges the Outlaws were engaged in violent activities to expand their influence and gain control against rival motorcycle gangs, including the Hell’s Angels.
In Old Orchard Beach, the shooting happened at a brown, shingled home on a quiet cul de sac, and there were no outward signs of any motorcycle gang activity.
The tax assessor’s office indicated the home is owned by Thomas Mayne, his wife and Chretian. Friends say Chretian was Mayne’s brother-in-law.
Despite the shooting, there was no cause for alarm for either residents or tourists visiting Old Orchard Beach, said Police Chief Dana Kelley. He declined to comment on the motorcycle gang’s presence in the town.
Associated Press reporters Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Larry O’Dell in Richmond, Va., and Bangor Daily News reporter Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.