A high-ranking leader of the Florida chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club was sentenced to 18 months in prison last week after he was convicted of firearm charges. Another member of the club received 12 months behind bars. The convictions signal the ending of a very successful undercover operation targeting the biker club’s operations in Florida.
Pagans biker boss Richard Todd Badali (53) was previously found guilty by a jury of the unlawful sale of a firearm to a convicted felon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, while underling Thomas Richard Laakmann (60) was found guilty of sale of a firearm to a convicted felon and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
According to authorities, Badali was a high-ranking member of the Pagans and in charge of all the club’s members in Florida. After serving their prison sentence, he and Laakkmann are prohibited from associating with members and associates of the Pagans while on supervised release.
The sentencing of both men concludes a five-year multi-jurisdictional law enforcement investigation, dubbed Operation Road Rash, into the illicit conduct of Pagans members. During the course of the investigation, the FBI was able to infiltrate the Pagans operating in Florida and document the unlawful distribution of narcotics and firearms.
Much of the criminal conduct, including the firearms offenses committed by Badali and Laakmann, took place at a former Pagans club house in Sebastian, Florida. During the course of the undercover operation, law enforcement purchased 24 firearms from Pagans bikers and their associates. Many of the illegal firearms sellers had prior criminal convictions. In addition, many of the recovered firearms were determined to be stolen or had obliterated serial numbers.
Besides weapons, undercover agents were also able to purchase controlled substances, including cocaine, prescription pills and marijuana from the targets during the course of the investigation.
After the undercover operation wrapped up, authorities arrested nine Pagans bikers in November 2014, all of whom are now in prison.
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