From WMBF News partner the Myrtle Beach Herald
By Charles D. Perry
Police seized guns, computers and bales of a "green leafy substance" — among other items — during last week's search of 10 properties tied to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, according to warrants released Wednesday.
The April 30 searches were the culmination of an 18-month investigation called "Operation Red Harvest," which has led to 226 indictments and 29 arrests. An additional search was done in Georgetown County.
Prosecutors have said the gang grew marijuana on a rural compound along Freewoods Road in the Burgess community.
The pot was then sold at the Dunes Cycle shop on S.C. 707 and the gang got a cut of the proceeds, records show.
The 10 search warrants offer insight into how police received their information, bought drugs through undercover operations and eventually raided the properties.
Here's a look at what police found at each location and why they went there:
10154 Freewoods Road (Doucette compound)
This is the place prosecutors call the "compound." The search warrant describes the property as an acre lot with four structures on it. The partially wooded land holds a tan double-wide mobile home, a yellow single-wide mobile home with a screened-in porch, a white vinyl apartment and a storage shed with wood paneling. There's only one address for the property, and police say it belongs to Thomas Allen Doucette Sr.
Investigators went to the home because a confidential informant told them about marijuana being grown in a storage shed on the property. The informant offered details about the techniques used to grow and harvest the drugs, and said the plants were dried in a single-wide trailer.
During surveillance, a county drug agent saw the "grow shed" and watched two people walking in and out, turning on a spigot and taking a hose into the building. The agent also saw a bright light coming from the building, which matched the informant's description.
When police raided the property on April 30, they took nearly 60 items, including clothing, ammunition, brass knuckles, shotguns, computers, cell phones, a scale from the "grow room," three bales of a "green leafy substance" and three dead plants.
They also found more than $10,000 in cash, including $8,010 in a small gray safe in the master bedroom of the main residence.
Doucette Sr., 49, has been charged with first-degree assault and battery, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, third-degree assault and battery by a mob, kidnapping, eight counts of criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, and 22 counts of distribution of marijuana.
Some of his relatives have also been charged.
4671 Leonard Road (Home
of Doucette's son)
Near the intersection of S.C. 544 and S.C. 707 is the split-level home of Thomas Allen Doucette Jr.
Police believed Doucette had some marijuana at his house, but their April 30 search didn't turn up any, according to the warrants. They did seize cell phones and a computer.
Doucette Jr., 29, was charged with simple possession of marijuana, criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of trafficking marijuana more than 100 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds and distribution of marijuana.
10615 S.C. 707 (Dunes Cycle)
This shop is where the warrants say drugs were sold.
The tan metal building is a little over a mile from where S.C. 707 intersects Holmestown Road. Formerly the home of Wild Child Custom, the structure's name was recently changed in Horry County business records to Dunes Cycle.
County drug units learned about marijuana being sold in the building from a confidential informant, according to the search warrants. Hells Angels Red and White owns the building, and a portion of the drug sales were going to the club. Officers made several drug purchases there.
On April 30, police seized 19 items from the shop, including digital recorders, paperwork, computers, a shotgun, body armor and photographs.
9479 Freewoods Road
This tan double-wide dwelling is the home of Christina Elizabeth Baker, 26. It's less than a quarter of a mile from the intersection of Freewoods and Bay roads. Police informants said Baker helped cultivate and distribute marijuana, according to the warrants. They also believe she stored some of the drugs at her trailer.
But when police searched her home on April 30, they didn't find any marijuana. They did locate a plastic baggie with a white rock-like substance in it, records show. They seized two cell phones, and they found more than $2,000 cash in her living room, mostly in twenties and hundreds.
Baker is charged with criminal conspiracy, two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and two counts of trafficking marijuana more than 100 pounds, but less then 2,000 pounds
8075 Highway 814 (Hells
Located near S.C. 544, the brick building with white trim is surrounded by a chain link fence and has an electronic security gate. "Hells Angels Myrtle Beach" is displayed in a front window.
Drug agents went to the clubhouse because they suspected the gang kept its financial documents, meeting minutes and travel records there.
When they searched the clubhouse on April 30, they confiscated 36 items, including two filing cabinets, paperwork, a laptop computer, ammunition, framed Hells Angels patches, Hells Angels signs and two vials of an unidentified liquid.
6315 Enterprise Road
Investigators went to a green metal building near the home of 35-year-old Jacob Austin on April 30 because they'd been told by informants that Austin ran an individual marijuana operation there, according to the warrants.
Austin is also considered a partner in the drug operation at the Doucette compound.
However, officers did not find any drugs at this site during their search. They did seize a laptop computer.
6288 Enterprise Road
During their search of Austin's home, which is near S.C. 707, police seized 11 items, including a thumb drive, cell phones, paperwork, a satellite, a printer, computers and some burned documents that were pulled out of a fire pit.
Austin is charged with criminal conspiracy, three counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and trafficking marijuana more than 100 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds.
8280 Tartan Lane (Home of gang secretary's girlfriend)
Near S.C. 707, this white house with dark shutters is the home where Jeffrey Lozier, secretary of the Myrtle Beach Hells Angels, often stayed with his girlfriend, according to the warrants.
Police suspected Lozier would have the gang's financial records with him.
During the April 30 raid, they seized nearly 60 items from the home, including a glass smoking pipe, two containers with green substances in them, tools, framed Hells Angels pictures, a Christmas card from a kitchen drawer, paperwork, a Hells Angels briefcase and a Hells Angels vest.
Lozier, 41, is charged with two counts of accessory before the fact to a felony, simple assault and battery, two counts of third-degree assault and battery by a mob, kidnapping, seven counts of criminal conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
His girlfriend, Diane Vitek, was not initially indicted, but she has since been charged with simple possession of marijuana and distribution of anabolic steroids.
1429 Seacroft Drive (Gang
This turquoise home near Surfside Beach is the address of record for Lozier, according to the warrants. During their April 30 search, police seized 21 items from the house, including more than 100 shirts, earrings, ammunition, paperwork, a Christmas photo from the living room, a plastic bag with bullets, body armor, cell phones and a camera.
119 Deer Trace Circle (Gang president's home)
Ellis Schindler is the president of the Myrtle Beach Hells Angels, according to the warrants.
Authorities have said he manages the gang's marijuana business and directs assaults and other illegal activities.
The warrants state that he has an "inside contact" in law enforcement.
Along with the drug activity, police informants have said Schindler bought illegal weapons and stored them away from the gang's clubhouse.
During their April 30 raid, police seized more than 80 shirts, a Hells Angels jacket, a Hells Angels wallet, brass knuckles, cell phones, ammunition and a computer.
More suspects sought
Three more suspects in the 'Red Harvest' case turned themselves in Tuesday, said police Sgt. Robert Kegler.
• Joshua Burnette, 24, of Murrells Inlet was charged with third-degree assault and battery by a mob, kidnapping, three counts of criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and manufacturing marijuana
• Glenn O'Brien, 30, of Myrtle Beach was charged with third-degree assault and battery by a mob and criminal conspiracy
• Joseph Sagone, 50, of Melbourne, Fla., was charged with criminal conspiracy, manufacturing marijuana and two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana
As of Wednesday afternoon, police were still searching for five more suspects, Kegler said. Those individuals haven't been identified because their indictments were sealed by a judge.
Solicitor Greg Hembree could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
John Hilliard, a lawyer who represents Schindler, said he hadn't looked at the search warrants and didn't feel comfortable talking about documents he hadn't seen.
Charles D. Perry • 488-7258