One biker grabbed a man and hugged him, saying, “How does it feel to be a Hells Angel?” The answer came six months later in the form of handcuffs and a criminal indictment. That’s how Hells Angels learned that the man was a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, working undercover, the Arizona Republic reports. Operation Black Biscuit was touted as “the most successful undercover operation ever pulled on an outlaw motorcycle club.” In July 2003, three dozen Arizona suspects were charged with gunrunning, murder for hire, and narcotics violations. Five months later, indictments charged 16 Arizona Hells Angels members and associates, including three chapter presidents, in racketeering, conspiracy, murder and drug dealing. Those arrests were synchronized with raids in Nevada, California, Alaska and Washington state.
Investigators risked their lives to penetrate the club known for its death-head logo and tough-guy attitude, crippling the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club across the West. Hells Angels leaders and lawyers say Black Biscuit is a case study in the misuse of informers. As the case moves to trial this spring, records obtained by the newspaper lend credence to that criticism and raise a question: Was Operation Black Biscuit an undercover success that took dangerous gangsters off the streets, an undercover sting that veered out of control or both?