KINGMAN - The state gang task force revealed one of the main reasons for its surveillance of motorcycle clubs for the last several months with the announcement of six arrests Wednesday.
Two Kingman men were among the six arrested. A seventh person, 53-year-old George Edward Walters of Kingman, is still being sought.
The men face riots charges in connection with an incident at Lazy Harry's bar in Bullhead City June 11.
Sgt. Ernie Severson with GIITEM task force (Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission) said five Hell's Angels and two Desert Road Riders entered the bar that night and targeted two Vago club members who were seated on a back patio.
The seven men attacked the two Vago club members in a fight that Severson said put the other 100 patrons in the bar at the time at risk. "Two females climbed over a railing and contemplated jumping down 20 to 30 feet to get away, if that tells you what it was like," Severson said.
Those arrested were Rudolfo John Martinez, 44, of Rimrock; Gerald Roy Smith, 47, of Rimrock; Dale Leroy Hormuth, 49, of Kingman; James Snider, 45, of Kingman; Stephen Michael Helland, 60, of Golden Valley; and Clifford Daniel Balentine, 54, of Bullhead City.
Balentine is the former president of the Desert Road Riders but is now a member of the Devil's Disciples.
Martinez and Smith are currently being held in Yavapai County but are expected to be extradited to Mohave County where the other four suspects are being held.
The riot charges are classified as a class 5 felony. Additional charges of participating in a criminal gang or syndicate may also be added.
The men were arrested without incident in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday morning.
An eighth individual, John Ross Pemberton, 29, of Prescott Valley, was cited and released for possession of prescription drugs which were not his and possession of illegal fireworks. Pemberton, vice-president of the Nomad chapter of the Hell's Angels, was served with the search warrant because of his ties with the other men.
The arrests were the result of a combined effort between the Department of Public Safety, Kingman Police, Flagstaff Police, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, Fort Mohave Tribal Police, Prescott Valley Police, Bullhead City Police, Lake Havasu Police and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office for what the agencies dubbed "Operation Quiet Riot."
Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries said the investigation was part of the reason local events like the Bike Night were under surveillance by police, but added that the event had received complaints independent of the investigation, including allegations by members of the public of harassment and intimidation.
"Riding a motorcycle is not illegal," he said. "We have made it clear that our focus was one thing and one thing only, and that is criminal activity."
Law enforcement officials said they could not disclose the reason for the surveillance earlier without risking the integrity of the investigation.
Severson said the investigation included more than 40 interviews of witnesses who were at Lazy Harry's when the fight broke out.
It is unclear the extent of the injuries received by the two Vagos who were targeted because they were not at the scene when police arrived.