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San Bernardino judge denies lowering of bail for Vagos motorcycle club members

BY: Mike Cruz

A Superior Court judge Tuesday denied a reduction in bail for two members of the Vagos motorcycle club arrested during a raid across Southern California. Attorneys for Thomas Henry Gibson and Andrew Eloy Lozano, asked Judge Michael Dest for the bail reductions.
Lozano's lawyer, Mark McDonald, who substituted to represent Gibson, 60, of San Bernardino, told the court that Gibson is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
But based on the charges of possession of marijuana for sale and participation in a criminal street gang, McDonald argued $50,000 to $100,000 bail "is more appropriate."
Prosecutors said the bail was set according to the state bail schedule. Dest said there were no reasons before him to deviate from it.
"So, I'll keep it as set," Dest told McDonald.
Lozano, 35, of Fontana, faces charges of possessing body armor and of street gang participation, and is being held in lieu of $450,000 bail. Lozano has another case pending in Fontana Superior Court, so Dest could not complete a full review.
The judge requested Lozano's case in Fontana to be sent to San Bernardino for the defendant's next court appearance.
Lozano's case in Fontana, filed by prosecutors in January, involves allegations of fleeing from police and participating in a criminal street gang, according to court records. That case was set for a pretrial hearing Tuesday.
Lozano's case in connection with the October
raid also alleges three prior convictions and two prior strikes. The court scheduled Gibson and Lozano to return to court Nov. 1 to decide if they are ready for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 3.
Gibson, Lozano and three other members were arrested in San Bernardino County during a raid announced Oct. 6 by state and local authorities.
State agents say 52 search warrants and 12 arrest warrants were served during a seven-county sweep in Southern California. It resulted in nine arrests and the targeting of the "upper echelon" of the Vagos, according to the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
Hundreds of weapons, including an anti-tank gun and a rocket launcher, as well as methamphetamine and cocaine were seized, authorities said.
The state Attorney General's Office says Vagos is a 500-member, international organization that operates in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.
Vagos leaders in the past have said the group is a social club, not a criminal enterprise, and have complained of being repeatedly targeted by law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.
Lawyers for two others arrested in the sweep, Scott Randall Rivera, 46, of San Bernardino and Caesar Joaquin Rodriguez, 35, of Oak Hills, asked that their cases be continued to Thursday.
-, 909-386-3880, @sbcourts
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