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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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No Harm in Blowing up Angels’ Clubhouse

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The United States need not face trespass and nuisance charges from a Hell's Angel who complained that federal agents blew up his clubhouse while serving warrants, a federal judge ruled.

Maurice Peter Eunice sued Uncle Sam in January 2013, claiming DEA agents needlessly blew up his clubhouse in El Cajon to show off for the media.

Agents had a warrant, but Eunice claims they could have just asked him for a key, and that no one was inside when they blew it up but a frightened dog named Molly.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Oct. 1 this year dismissed the two remaining charges - trespass and nuisance - and closed the case.

In his summary of the case, Curiel wrote that Eunice had been a member of the Hell's Angels since 1994, that he bought the property in El Cajon, east of San Diego, in 1995, and began leasing it to another Angel in 1996 for use as a clubhouse.

"All three buildings on the property are used solely for the Hells Angels clubhouse," Curiel noted.

Eunice claimed the DEA was showing off for TV when it blew up his clubhouse on Aug. 3, 2011.

"These agents held animus and ill will toward members of the Hells Angels. They wanted to punish, deter and intimidate Mr. Eunice who leased his properties to the Hells Angels to use as their clubhouse," Eunice said in his original complaint.

He sought damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, trespass to land, private nuisance, and violation of his civil rights under California's Bane Act.

But Judge Curiel was not persuaded. He noted in his 8-page ruling that it was a "high-risk search warrant" and that "(t)here were eleven arrest warrants and eight search warrants related to the case."

The search warrant was valid so there was no trespass to land, and the SWAT team, not the DEA, set off the "breaching charges and flash bangs," the judge said.

He granted summary judgment to the government and closed the case.

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