Two high-ranking members of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club were indicted last week for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, narcotics distribution, and firearms offenses.
Larry Ortiz, aka “Savage,” 31, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Junius Aquino, aka “Jayo,” 38, of Vauxhall, New Jersey, were indicted for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in connection with their roles in a gang-related shooting.
Aquino was also charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and Ortiz was also charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed and statements made in court Aquino visited a bar in Verona, on Oct. 21, 2020, accompanied by other members of the Pagan’s.
When Aquino and his associates exited the bar, a group of individuals approached and assaulted them with baseball bats.
About one week later Aquino and Ortiz shot at an associate of the Hells Angels on the New Jersey Turnpike in retaliation for the Verona assault.
The Pagans and the Hells Angels are known to be rival gangs. The notorious club is also engaged in a long and bloody war with the Hell’s Angels Motorycle Club, which, like the Pagans, double as violent street gang.
Pagans members in the tri-state area are known to traffic drugs and run extortion rackets; illicit businesses that place them in direct competition with the Angels.
In October, 2020, New Jersey’s State Commission on Investigation held a hearing on the Pagans’ local expansion efforts, alleging the club had grown from 10 to at least 17 chapters since 2016, and aimed to become the most dominant biker gang on the East Coast.
Aquino was also indicted for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
The ammunition charge arises from a shooting that occurred in Elizabeth on Oct. 31, 2020, during which Aquino shot at an occupied vehicle.
On Nov. 5, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Aquino’s residence and recovered, among other items, multiple .40 caliber rounds of ammunition and approximately 50 grams of cocaine.
At the time of Aquino’s arrest, he was the vice president of the Elizabeth chapter of the Pagan’s.
Ortiz was indicted for possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
On Nov. 17, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ortiz’s residence and recovered approximately 300 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded firearm. At the time of his arrest, Ortiz was the president of the Pagans’ Jersey City membership chapter.
These charges were filed as part of a multi-agency investigation into the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club – an outlaw motorcycle gang known to engage in illegal activity, including narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, and violent crimes.
The Pagans have established membership chapters in numerous states and U.S. territories, including multiple active chapters in New Jersey.
This investigation involved court-authorized wiretaps, the use of multiple undercover law enforcement agents, and the execution of multiple search warrants at physical locations in multiple jurisdictions.
Through the investigation, law enforcement seized 10 firearms and more than 800 grams of methamphetamine.