WASHINGTON — More than 125 members and associates of the Hells Angels and other motorcycle gangs were arrested on drug and racketeering charges today in FBI-led pre-dawn raids in California and 10 other states, the Justice Department said.
A state trooper in Connecticut was shot but not seriously wounded, and an FBI agent was struck in the head with a sledgehammer during the raids, authorities said.
In Stratford, Conn., Trooper Angel Gonzales, 31, was wounded in the hip during a raid, said State Police spokesman Adam Berluti. Gonzales was reported in stable condition. Berluti said a suspect is in custody.
An FBI agent was treated for minor injuries after being attacked with a sledgehammer in the same raid.
FBI Director William H. Webster credited the raids, dubbed "Operation Roughrider," with "averting five potential murders." Bureau spokesmen declined to elaborate.
Street Value of $2 Million
Drugs obtained during the undercover operation had a street value of $2 million and included methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, hashish, PCP and LSD, Webster said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has said that some motorcycle gangs, once the essence of disorganized life on wheels, are believed to control between half and three-fourths of the nation's illicit methamphetamine, or "speed," traffic.
In a joint statement, Webster and Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III hailed the arrests in 50 locations as a demonstration of continuing progress by federal authorities in cracking down on criminal activity by motorcycle gang members.
The California raids were conducted in territories covered by FBI field offices in Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, the FBI said.
The FBI said only that more than 125 people, including more than a hundred members and associates of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, were arrested.