Unmasking The Hells Angels: ATF Agent Breaks Silence On Two-Year Undercover Mission

By Tommy Wilson | Monday, 15 April 2024 12:00 PM
Views 3.1K

In a life fraught with danger and deception, Jay Dobyns, a retired agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), spent two years undercover, infiltrating the notorious Hells Angels in Arizona.

His harrowing experiences are now being shared in a new A&E series, "Secrets of The Hells Angels."

From 2001 to 2003, Dobyns lived a double life that nearly cost him everything. The ATF, responsible for enforcing the nation's gun laws, had never before managed to infiltrate the Hells Angels, a group known for its impenetrability. "Cops had never gotten under the wire of the Hells Angels in the past. All the other outlaw motorcycle gangs had been infiltrated, but the Hells Angels prided themselves on being impenetrable," Dobyns revealed to Fox News Digital.

The Hells Angels, founded in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana, California, have a long and notorious history. This includes a chilling incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969, where a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. The perpetrator was later acquitted, with the jury finding he acted in self-defense.

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In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that the Hells Angels had as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters across 26 countries. The FBI still lists the Hells Angels as an outlaw motorcycle gang involved in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking. Despite decades of pursuit by federal, state, and local police, the club has flourished, opening chapters worldwide, winning high-profile legal battles, and aggressively enforcing its trademarks in court.

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Dobyns, who had 15 years of undercover street experience, was assigned to Operation Black Biscuit. To prepare for this assignment, he transformed himself into "Jaybird" Davis, a chain-smoking, Harley-riding renegade. He portrayed himself as a gangster, not a biker, to avoid suspicion. "I never tried to convince the Hells Angels that I was some experienced biker because I would’ve been sniffed out immediately," Dobyns explained.

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His transformation was convincing enough to earn him acceptance into the group. However, he noted the irony of the Hells Angels' internal structure. "For a group that portrays themselves to be these fun-loving rascals … they had massive amounts of internal rules and laws about what the organization’s policies are," he recalled.

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The Hells Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts, unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate due to the crimes of a few members acting independently. They participate in charity events such as "Toys for Tots," motorcycle runs, and blood drives. However, Dobyns' experience paints a different picture.

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His acceptance into the group came after he staged the "killing" of the leader of a rival gang, the Mongols. The shooting death was a ruse, complete with a Hollywood makeup artist and a dead cow used to splatter the victims’ clothing with blood and brain matter. This incident marked the beginning of a dangerous journey for Dobyns, filled with fear and paranoia.

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As he moved up within the Hells Angels, his personal life began to deteriorate. His wife hardly recognized him, and he admitted to putting his job before his family. "I put a massive amount of battle damage on my wife and kids," Dobyns confessed. "My regret, my failure, the shame that I continue to carry today is that I put my job in front of my family."

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Operation Black Biscuit ended in 2003, becoming "almost too dangerous to survive in," according to Dobyns. It resulted in 16 indictments, including charges of murder and racketeering. However, the end of the operation did not mean the end of danger for Dobyns. His identity was uncovered, and threats began pouring in, including plans to gang-rape his wife, murder his family, and infect him with HIV.

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In 2008, his house was burned down while his wife and children were still inside. They escaped unharmed, but the arsonist was never caught. Dobyns reflected on the threats, "The Hells Angels have their Ph.D. in violence and intimidation. They’re very good at it. … They don’t forgive, and they don’t forget."

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Despite the threats, Dobyns refuses to live in fear. He retired from the ATF in 2014 after more than 500 undercover investigations spanning 20 years on the job. In 2009, he co-wrote a memoir, "No Angel."

Reflecting on his experience, Dobyns acknowledged the public's fascination with the Hells Angels. "They’re all likable," he chuckled. "Those guys, in my personal experience, were pleasant to be in the presence of. … They’re dangerous and violent men, but they’re also very charming."

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