Mongols biker club trial: Relationship between head of gang, retired Montebello officer questioned

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Thursday, June 30, 2022
Mongols club trial: Relationship between leader, officer questioned
Testimony resumed for a hearing in which a judge will decided if the Mongols Motorcycle Club will get a new trial after being convicted of conspiracy and racketeering in 2018.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Testimony resumed inside an Orange County federal courthouse on Wednesday morning for a hearing in which a judge will decide if the Mongols Motorcycle Club will get a new trial after being convicted of conspiracy and racketeering in 2018.

Former Mongols President David Santillan continued to testify.

He's accused of being a confidential informant and working with the government during the Mongols' trial after his wife, Annie, shared a June 2021 recorded phone conversation with other members of the biker gang calling him a rat.

During the call, Santillan is heard talking about John Cicconne, the lead ATF agent on the case.

However, Annie testified this week, saying she only did it to get back at her husband for cheating.

READ ALSO | Was head of OC biker gang a 'rat'? Testimony will help determine if Mongols get new trial

Claims that the head of the Mongols Motorcycle Club was a federal informant sit at the center of a bid to overturn the group's racketeering conviction.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Joe Yanny and Santillan went back and forth over Santillan's relationship with retired Montebello police officer Christopher Cervantes and Ciccone.

"The relationship was just cordial, respectful relationship just to keep the peace between us and the club," Santillan said.

The U.S. Attorney's office asked him whether he is - or ever was - any sort of informant for the ATF or for any state or federal agency.

Santillan responded, "Never."

Yanny played a clip from a National Geographic show segment on the Mongols in court as evidence of their relationship.

Ciccone said whenever he worked a Mongols event and there was the potential for problems or violence, he would go to Santillan because he's the president of the Mongols and can convey the message to his members.

He said their communication was for public safety and showed the Mongols that there is ATF presence at their events.

Yanny said they had more than just casual run-ins.

"It was an improper line of communication, particularly for a law enforcement personnel trying to convict an entity of being a criminal organization," Yanny said.

Testimony will reconvene on Friday, July 22, at 7:30 a.m.