Four members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club left a Christmas toy drive on Sunday only to be arrested on suspicion of drug and firearms charges.
Sheriff's officials said it's unclear what the men's roles were at the Ventura County toy drive. But in years past, the club has tried to shy away from its outlaw image. In Fresno, the Hells Angels have donated gifts during the holiday season to the Poverello House, a nonprofit serving the homeless, for years.
Ventura County sheriff's deputies stopped about a dozen motorcyclists wearing the Hells Angels club patches for traffic violations after they left the event at the Deer Lodge in the small town of Meiners Oaks, Sheriff Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said.
During the stop on Baldwin Road near North Ventura Avenue, sheriff's deputies found two concealed loaded firearms, brass knuckles and methamphetamine, he said.
Deputies eventually arrested Noah Tedesco, 30, of Riverside, on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing methamphetamine and a firearm.
Donoghue said Tedesco previously had been barred from carrying a firearm.
Deputies found a loaded firearm on John Saucedo, 29, of Orange, and he was arrested, he said.
Thomas Holt, 44, of Harbor City was arrested on suspicion of possessing brass knuckles.
Lake Elsinore resident Stefan Amman, 40, also was arrested for allegedly being under the influence of a controlled substance.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Hells Angels is an outlaw motorcycle club, with some of its members involved in drug and firearms trafficking. Some members, though, have worked to polish the club's image.
Merle Hefferman, a representative from the Fresno County Hells Angels, said in a statement released Dec. 1 that its chapter's annual toy drive "was part of an ongoing effort to meet the needs of the community during the holiday season."
It is unclear to which Hells Angels chapter the four men arrested Sunday belonged.