Mongols Motorcycle Gang Member Convicted of Murdering President of San Francisco Hells Angels
Jury Finds Christopher Ablett Guilty of all Counts Following Trial
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 23, 2012|
SAN FRANCISCO—Late yesterday afternoon, a federal jury found Christopher Bryan Ablett, a/k/a “Stoney,” a member of the Modesto Chapter of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang, guilty of all four felonies with which he was charged including murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, using a firearm during a crime of violence, and using a firearm causing murder during a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges stemmed from the defendant’s gang-related murder of Mark “Papa” Guardado, the president of the San Francisco Chapter of the Hells Angels, on Sept. 2, 2008, at 24th Street and Treat Avenue in the Mission District of San Francisco.
Evidence at trial showed that Ablett traveled to San Francisco to visit a friend. He was armed with a foot-long military knife and a .357 magnum revolver. Ablett brought with him a Mongols full-patch vest and t-shirt that only a full member of the Mongols is allowed to wear. According to testimony from Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gang expert Special Agent John Ciccone, and former Mongols undercover ATF Special Agent Darrin Kozlowski who infiltrated the gang, the Mongols are an organized criminal motorcycle gang whose primary rival is the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.
When word traveled to Guardado that the defendant was wearing a Mongols patch shirt in a bar in the Mission, Guardado went to the street outside the bar and approached Ablett. A fight broke out during which Ablett stabbed Guardado four times and shot him twice, killing him. According to the testimony of FBI Special Agent Jacob Millspaugh, the case agent, the defendant’s phone records showed that he spent the next several hours calling people who were identified as members of the Mongols—showing that he was reaching out as part of the Mongols communication network. The jury rejected the defendant’s defenses of self-defense, defense of his friends, and heat of passion after the defendant took the stand and testified. The jury also found that the defendant murdered Guardado to maintain or increase his position in the Mongols gang, and that the Mongols engaged in racketeering activity.
Ablett is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15, 2012. He faces a possible sentence of three terms of life in prison plus 10 mandatory consecutive years, a $1 million fine, and five years of supervised release. Specifically, for the charge of murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959, Ablett faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life without parole. For the charge of assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959, Ablett faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. For the charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), Ablett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. And for the charge of using a firearm causing murder during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j), Ablett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The case was prosecuted by former Assistant United States Attorney Christine Wong, Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Haun, Wilson Leung and William Frentzen, paralegal specialist Lili ArauzHaase, legal techs Marina Ponomarchuk, Daniel Charlier-Smith, and Ponly Tu, all of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Violent Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and the San Francisco Police Department.
Case #: CR 09-0749 RS
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.