Newport Beach - A reputed member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang who was arrested after a July 27 brawl with a rival motorcycle gang in Newport Beach was arrested three years ago on suspicion of murder, only to be set free after authorities decided the killing was in self-defense.
Rodrigo Jose Requejo, a 34-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita man, was accused of killing a man and stabbing his twin brother during a fight on an off-ramp from the 241 Toll Road.
The surviving twin, Jason Amman, told police that Requejo had followed them off the freeway and instigated the fight, killing his brother Justin. Prosecutors decided to drop charges after witnesses said that the Amman brothers started the fight, and that Requejo only pulled the knife when it turned into two against one.
Requejo is facing charges of assault and battery for his role in the July 27 brawl at Blackie's by the Sea, a popular Newport Beach bar.
The fight between ranking members of the Hells Angels and Set Free Soldiers was arranged beforehand, Capt. John Desmond, detective commander of the Newport Beach police, said at a press conference Monday morning.
"This was not a chance encounter," Desmond said.
Leaders of the Set Free Soldiers arrived first that Sunday afternoon, Desmond said.
When five members of the Hells Angels showed up at 1:45 p.m., 10 more Set Free Soldiers came out and surrounded them, Desmond said.
"We believe the Set Free Soldiers were possibly setting up members of the Hells Angels," said Sgt. Evan Sailor of the Newport Beach police.
There was a heated exchange, followed by a brawl that included a billiard ball thrown by a member of the Hells Angels, and two Hells Angels being stabbed, Desmond said.
Police responding to the scene stopped a car with three members of the Set Free Soldiers inside, along with two knives with blood still on the blade, Desmond said.
Police later learned there was a videotape of the entire incident, and were able to identify a number of suspects.
With that information, police obtained seven search warrants and 11 arrest warrants in Orange County and served them Aug. 6.
A warrant was also served on Set Free member Glenn Schoeman in Norco.
Set Free Soldier leader Phil Aguilar, Sr., along with his son Matthew John Aguilar, 29, a musician, and Michael Alan Timanus, 29, a laborer, were all charged Friday with weapons violations and "street terrorism." Club member Jose Enrique Quiñones was charged with attempted murder, and Schoeman was charged with accessory after the fact.
Other reputed Set Free members arrested but released without charges pending further investigation were Mark Randall Beavers, 52, David Leonard Bermeo, 33, and Jeremy Gaither, 28.
Aside from Requejo, three suspected Hells Angels members from Costa Mesa were arrested. John Phillip Lloyd, a 41-year-old tattoo artist was charged with weapons violations. Police said Lloyd was the Hells Angel that threw the billiard ball. Scott Michael Guinn, 23, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and Brian David Heslington, 35, was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine while armed; neither has been charged.
Police don't know the root of the disagreement that led to the July 27 brawl, Sailor said.
"We believe the Set Free Soldiers were possibly setting up members of the Hells Angels," Sailor said.
Police are investigating the groups for other possible criminal activities, Sailor said.
At the press conference Monday, police displayed scores of weapons seized at the two locations.
Police seized 20-plus handguns, 8-10 shotguns, several thousand rounds of ammunition, several rifles and numerous knives and daggers at the Hells Angels locations, and roughly the same number and class of weapons at the Set Free locations, along with several Tasers, they said.
More than 300 police personnel from the Newport Beach, Anaheim, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana police departments, along with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, District Attorney's office and Probation Department, the north county SWAT team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Riverside Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's office have worked on the case.