A tearful Hells Angel motorcyclist wearing a black leather vest with a flying skull emblem was hugged by the jurors who acquitted him Thursday in federal court of major cocaine trafficking charges.
James Colucci, an international officer in the Hells Angel Motorcycle Club Corp., is only the second gang member acquitted in a massive government investigation, despite testimony from a former Hells Angel-turned FBI undercover operative.
The only other acquittal involved weapons charges against an Anchorage, Alaska, Hells Angel, Assistant U.S. Atty. Stephen Graham said.
Colucci, 49, was one of 13 Hells Angels arrested in the San Francisco area in November, 1987, in a five-state roundup of 40 Angels on charges of dealing in methamphetamines, cocaine, illegal weapons and explosives.
Jurors deliberated less than a day before acquitting him of eight charges of conspiracy, distribution of cocaine and use of a telephone for drug dealing.
Colucci was convicted only on a minor charge of possession of three ounces of methamphetamine. He faces a maximum of one year in prison.
The defense maintained that Colucci was entrapped by informant and former Angel Anthony Tait.
Jurors rejected the testimony of Tait, who was used by the FBI to record drug dealing by other club members for more than two years.