The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

October 10, 2009

Pagans biker gang chief back in jail until hearing

CHARLESTON — The indicted president of the Pagans Motorcycle Club headed back to jail Friday until a federal magistrate can decide whether he should get a chance at bail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Stanley revoked an earlier release order for David Keith Barbeito, pending a Thursday hearing, after the 49-year-old Maryland resident showed up in her Charleston courtroom without a lawyer.

Barbeito’s Baltimore defense attorney was unable to find a lawyer in West Virginia to represent him, Stanley said. She also learned that a Kanawha Circuit, W.Va., grand jury has indicted Barbeito on kidnapping and conspiracy charges, prompting a judge there to order his arrest.

The federal indictment against Barbeito and 54 others alleges such crimes as kidnapping, robbery, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder. The charges describe Barbeito as the club’s national leader and his co-defendants as Pagans members and associates in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.

Many of the charges allege violent intimidation and extortion efforts against smaller biker gangs and clubs, and illegal gambling centered on raffles for nonexistent motorcycles. Other offenses listed in the 83-page document include drug dealing and weapons violations.

A federal magistrate in Maryland had ordered Barbeito’s release Thursday, two days after he was charged. Federal prosecutors sought Friday’s hearing to challenge that ruling. They argue in a court filing that no terms of bail can ensure the public’s safety.

The bearded, ponytailed Barbeito, who wore a black Harley Davidson T-shirt and jeans at Friday’s appearance, faces three racketeering-related counts in the federal case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Loew said they include allegations of violence, and that prosecutors believe he will try to obstruct the case if released.

Barbeito had posted property in Maryland to gain his release, and was ordered to avoid all Pagans activities.

Cautioning Barbeito to say as little as possible without a lawyer there to defend him, Stanley concluded that she must treat him as if he were appearing in court for the first time since being charged. Given the indictment, Stanley ordered him jailed without bail.

“Because you are without counsel, I am powerless, essentially,” she said.

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