What the Hell Happened in Waco "Biker Brawl"?



UPDATED; ADDITIONAL INFO I have not previously covered the 1%er motorcycle clubs (though I have been considering launching a new blog dedicated to that volatile world).

However in the recent Waco, Texas, case, I have some inside information  from a knowledgeable source that seems to jibe with recently published reports.




My information is that all nine of the bikers slain in the not-so-widely covered Waco, Texas incident were killed by law enforcement officials. This was not another case of what happened in 2002 at Harrah's in Laughlin, when members of the Hell's Angels and Mongols suddenly clashed inside a packed casino, indiscriminately shooting at each other --and any civilians caught in the crossfire (see actual surveillance footage, below).




Another interesting trend has to do with the Mexican Cartels -- seems they have been ramping up production of meth and cocaine for distribution inside the United States. This is because America's laws regarding marijuana continue to evolve. 

Apparently the cartels expect weed to be widely legal here to the extent that there will be no more profit in selling that particular drug.

As the Washington Post reported:


Mexican traffickers are sending a flood of cheap heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border, the latest drug seizure statistics show, in a new sign that America’s marijuana decriminalization trend is upending the North American narcotics trade. 
The amount of cannabis seized by U.S. federal, state and local officers along the boundary with Mexico has fallen 37 percent since 2011, a period during which American marijuana consumers have increasingly turned to the more potent, higher-grade domestic varieties cultivated under legal and quasi-legal protections in more than two dozen U.S. states.

In any event we believe the southern-based biker gangs will begin killing each other more than ever because of the increasingly profitable drug business's "new paradigm."

One story caught my eye:

Just How Badly Are Authorities Screwing Up The Arrest Of 170 Bikers In Texas?

It's from the Above the Law blog. 

Also, since many readers typically comment I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on whether I should begin a blog focused on outlaw bikers -- it seems there's more action in that world than Cosa Nostra these days.

Of course, I could also simply fold any biker coverage into this blog, too. Let me know.....



On Sunday afternoon, an enormous biker gang brawl broke out at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Authorities claim that when members of several motorcycle gangs, including the Bandidos and Cossacks, gathered to hash out an ongoing turf war, the meeting turned bloody. When the scene quieted, a reported nine people were dead, at least 18 seriously wounded, and 170 or so in police custody.

Bikers can be some bad mothers f*ckers. The state of Texas identifies gangs such as the Bandidos as serious organized crime syndicates, deeply entangled with Mexican drug cartels and other ne’er-do-wells, every bit as nasty as notorious groups like the Bloods and Crips.

So, why should civil libertarians care what happens to 170 or so bikers in Waco? A closer look reveals how authorities arrested too many, set bail too high, and charged with too much. The results not only infringe on the civil liberties of many of those arrested, but will create a disaster for the criminal justice system in and around Waco.

Here’s why.

It’s Not Obvious That Everyone There Was Breaking The Law

Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told the Associated Press on Thursday that all those killed or injured were part of five criminal motorcycle gangs. “They were not here to drink and eat barbecue,” Swanton said earlier this week. “They came here with violence in mind.”

However, loved ones of some of the bikers claim that law-abiding members of motorcycle clubs were gathering for a meeting of motorcycle enthusisasts, with no violent intentions. The family of one of the victims, Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, a man with no criminal history and a Purple Heart from Vietnam, say he was not affiliated with a gang. One of those arrested was himself a retired detective from the San Antonio Police Department. The AP reports that “more than 115 of the 170 people arrested in the aftermath of a motorcycle gang shootout outside a Central Texas restaurant have not been convicted of a crime in Texas.”

While there’s a first time for everything, there’s also good reason to think that some of the men and women picked up on Sunday might actually have gathered to, well, drink and eat barbecue.

Earlier this week, police told the press that they expected to recover 1,000 weapons from the scene. Yesterday, they revised that number to 318, 118 of which were handguns. Police also confiscated knives, brass knuckles, and items like chains with padlocks.

How many of the items are actual weapons? How many of the actual weapons are actually illegal?

Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code makes clear that not all knives are “illegal knives.” It’s not yet clear how many of the knives seized at the scene in Waco fall into the latter category.

Even some of the firearms confiscated could be legal. Holders of Texas concealed carry permits would not necessarily be violating the law by having guns on their person at the time the brawl broke out. Permit holders would only be violating Texas law if they were drunk while carrying, even if they were drinking.

In the state of Texas, all retailers of alcoholic beverages must post one of two signs announcing the status of firearm possession in the establishment. So, a bar will typically post a “51% Weapons Warning Sign” indicating that so much booze flows on those premises that no one, not even folks with valid concealed carry permits, is allowed to possess a concealed weapon. Restaurants will typically post a blue TABC Weapons Warning Sign warning folks of the penalty for people without a license. A blue sign means that someone with a CHL can carry on the premises. A 51% sign means they can’t.

The Twin Peaks restaurant where the shooting took place was not a 51% sign establishment, according to the TABC database.

Did any of those arrested on Sunday have CHLs? We don’t currently know because information on who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Texas is confidential and not subject to requests under the Public Information Act.

Cossacks' bottom rocker panel saying Texas a reason for a war?

$1 Million Is Certainly “Excessive Bail” For Many Of Those Arrested


Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson set bonds for more than 174 gang members charged with engaging in organized criminal activity at $1 million each. Even if this amount is appropriate for some of the defendants, it certainly counts as excessive for many.

When setting bail, the court must take into account the person’s ability to pay. One million dollars bond translates to a defendant’s family or friends coughing up $100,000 in cash. Few bail bondsmen in the vicinity of Waco would even be able to cover the amount needed to spring one of the bikers from jail. Even if a few bondsmen can, how likely is it that 170-plus will?

Why set such a high amount for everyone? Justice of the Peace Peterson told press that “I think it is important to send a message. We had nine people killed in our community. These people just came in, and most of them were from out of town. Very few of them were from in town.”

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 17.15 sets the rules for fixing the amount of bail. “Sending a message” is not among them. Bail is intended to ensure that the defendant will return for future court proceedings, not to punish people who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime.

The court’s decision to set bail so high for every defendant may turn out to doubly offensive to justice. For the average defendant, $1 million bond has the same effect as setting no bond at all. They simply won’t be able to pay it. Who will might manage to post bond? Gang leaders supported by the drug cartels and criminal syndicates. So, the people the authorities should most want to keep in jail are most likely to get sprung, while the folks who are least likely to have been serious criminals may be left to wallow.

The Costs


An avalanche of bond reduction hearings — and appeals — is virtually guaranteed. Defendants can challenge the initial amount whether through a motion for bond reduction or through an application for a writ of habeas corpus. If the court denies a habeas application, the defendant can immediately appeal. So, the courts may have to process interlocutory appeals if the bond isn’t reduced.

So far, all of the bikers arrested are being held for the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity leading to capital murder. That’s going to be tough to prove for most of the people arrested, many of whom will require state-funded defense counsel.

No one has yet been charged with capital murder (not that that fact matters for a conspiracy charge to stick). Given the high cost of prosecuting capital cases, though, McLennan County may end up not charging anyone with a death-eligible offense.

All of this amounts to a lot of money from public coffers, as well as massive headaches for an already burdened criminal justice system. Even if the people arrested in Waco on Sunday don’t deserve our sympathy, perhaps the court system now faced with processing and prosecuting nearly 200 defendants does.

Comments

  1. I'd check out a biker blog by you Ed, we know all to well about those cats here in FL.

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  2. Great call on this Ed. Plus bikers have strong mob ties as we all know in Canada so there is a really strong mob angle here.

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  3. Ed, I have been fascinated by the bikers since reading about them working with the mafia in montreal. if they are considered organized crime, why hasn't there been any Rico trials for bikers? Are they protected because they are a "club" ?
    Thanks...would love to read more!!

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  4. There has been Rico charges on bikers it happened to the Dirty Dozen out here in Arizona just before the changed over to the Hells Angeles I only know this cause my brother Inlaw was one of the guys charged

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  5. Somewhere I have a hardcover book from the late 80s with a title like "Mafia Enforcer" or something equally generically melodramatic and I think it's about a biker in Canada who worked for the calabrians there. The cotronis? I need to find it. Btw, Sonny Barger's book is sort of the shining star in the constellation of biker books. My favorite part is when he says he put a gun to Keith Richards ribs and told him the stones were gonna take the stage at altamont.

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  6. Here's something else. I recently attended a seminar on gangs and they showed a video about the biker gangs. The vid was full of meatheads lifting weights, shooting pool, groping tattooed slutty biker chics, getting inked, drinking beer, messing around with guns and talking about honor and loyalty and all that nonsense. After the vid, the presenter asked what we thought. I raised my hand and said I thought it was the best recruitment video I'd ever seen and asked where I could sign up. Hilarity ensued.....

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  7. One more thought ... At its core the impulse to join the mob or biker gangs is just a different manifestation of the same forces that make men join the marines or a Rock band or play football. Some men just wanna break stuff, listen to loud music, screw chics, play with guns, shoot people, not have a nine to five job, punch out a holes that make them mad, not listen to naggy annoying women or sit at a desk all day. They want to belong to something. They want to be bad asses. In a way I don't blame them. The society we have built emasculates men and some men just can't conform to it. Personally, I myself do conform to it, but I often find myself wishing I didn't......

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  8. Nice job ed
    I have been following this story since it started
    I myself ride & read you & aging rebel every day. If you wanna get sources ya gotta quit saying biker gang.I'm not tryin to be a dick just wanna help.not that you need it! It would be cool to read some biker
    News from you.

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  9. There's a bloke over here called ross kemp (ex TV soap hardman) who does various documentaries about gangs, OC and wars around the world. Last one I watched was about biker groups in New Zealand or Australia (can't remember) and about how the government have cracked down on them so hard that it's illegal to be in a legitimate biker club. If you're in public wearing your colours or socialising with other members you can be arrested and charged for some bollocks. It really was crazy and watching it you'd think it was April fools. Legitimate motorcycle clubs have been decimated and club houses confiscated whilst law abiding citizens with no history have been jailed because they ride a bike and socialise with others that do the same. One guy was outside the gates to his club house that he part owned and said that if him or his mates set foot over onto the property they'd be nicked, as a result the property had been derelict for about 2 years. It would be like you running a story about how a new law has been passed that if you associate yourself as Italian you could be arrested and charged for being a member or the mafia.

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  10. Sounds good Ed, biker clubs have worked with the mafia for years now especially in Canada

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  11. Mafia Assassin!!! By Cecil Kirby and Tom Renner -- I am actually reading it now.... Up in Canada the bikers and mob worked together especially when that HA maniac Mom Borchait (sp?) was consolidating power.....I have one of Barger's books -- he praised the Japanese motorcycles for offering a better ride and said the Harley was a dinosaur and that he hated riding it but had to. I've been interested in bikes since H. S. Thompson's book about the HA.....

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  12. Yes - I think bikers are the larger RICO target today.....

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  13. The Mongols in California, I believe, were told they'd be arrested for wearing their colors....

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  14. What should I say? Seriously! I dont know too much about this...I guess MC?

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  15. The Mafia does something right that the MCs can't really follow. The mob hides in plain sight and the MCs want to wear their colors -- it's a matter of pride for them. So it's kind of like walking -- or riding around LOL -- holding up a sign.....But it's a major part of that lifestyle so I don't think the MCs would change that habit of theirs....

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  16. There have been RICO trials -- these guys in WACO are held for organized crime - I believe which is another way to say RICO....

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  17. Thanks, guys, wasn't expecting comments this quickly! Appreciate it! I am guessing you guys think a separate blog -- Cosa Nostra News is a pretty specific blog name. So now I just need a name... Gotta think on it. Any suggestions would be appreciate too! I futzed around with a blog once but don't like it so I want to start over fresh......

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  18. "John Deere news" ;-) (not sure that joke translates across the pond?)

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  19. Would love to see a separate OMG blog.
    Appreciate the blog, keep it up!
    /Long time reader from Sweden

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  20. Biker club's. Not gangs. check out ageing rebel blog lots of great biker news.

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  21. got that right ed the mob and bikers defenly work together in ont and mnt. salvatore cazzetta is atop the angels in montreal and he has good relations with the mafia table and gregorey wooley who runs the street gangs. the next year will be interesting in montreal. arcadi, giordano and del baso are all coming home and want to take over from stefano sollecitto and the table. there was an article in the mnt paper talking about this yesterday. i remember being in school for the quebec biker wars in the 90s the le hells were le crazy and only now are some coming home from jail...luckly mom bouche will never be coming out..you dont kill law enforcement!!!!

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  22. As you know Ed this is something near and dear to my heart not so much 1% clubs but motorcycling in general as I am an everyday rider. I had to laugh at your comment about "Patches" especially being RICO targets. Can you imagine guys walking around with a button saying "Gambino" ? LOL..


    I think the incident in Waco was completely exaserbated by the police. Some of the people arrested were from Family Clubs, Veterans Clubs and other non 1%er Clubs.170 people arrested on Capital Murder? Come On $1mm bail for everyone.


    I wonder if the full truth will come out with the ballistic's tests. I think I've read the police admit to killing 4 so far. The story has changed numerous times by the police who were there and saw everything unfold, from the start.


    The 1st story was it started in the Mens Room. 2nd story it started outside. I've heard of waitresses hiding for cover with 1%er helping them hide safely as the police shot up the place.


    22 cops 10 or 12 of them SWAT. I am envisioning a firing squad. I will certainly have more to say as more news comes out. Let's hope it's the truth whatever it is.

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  23. how about outlawmcnews.com I think you should continue putting biker articles up here for a month or 2 until you have enough readers who would check out a blog like that but I'm glad you're gonna do this because now that not much goes on with the mob I've been googling a lot of 1% club articles but they're hard to find you could easily get a bigger following about bikers in this generation than the mob

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  24. Ed, check out this article http://mcatty.com/?p=519 might have to cut and paste the link but well worth the read.

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  25. http://mcatty.com/?p=519 If you're in FL you might want to check out this article written by an Attorney who is avid motorcyclist. Pretty much on point.

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  26. Rule # 1 if you ever plan on having someone in the MC culture as a source, which would be tough. Do Not Refer to them as Gangs. "Clubs" Great short and sweet video from the NY Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000002574777/reporting-on-motorcycle-clubs.html

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  27. Ed, I will save this whole story for tomorrow when I take my break in work. Love reading your updates with a nice snack while taking 15 mins off the job! Anyway - my point - I'd enjoy reading outlaw stories here, though hopefully it wouldn't take the focus away from Cosa Nostra as such. Godfather, Sopranos etc got me fascinated with the mafia and Sons of Anarchy gives me a moderate interest in the clubs so yeah I'd like to read more! Also if you could, I'm interested in what's happening in other families such as the LA family, New Orleans if anything's still left, Buffalo etc. if you have anything on these lesser cities that would be interesting. Do you think murders still happen in NYC families? If they've gone underground maybe the killings are underground too...no pun intended.

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  28. Founder of the Sons (of Silence, not Anarchy) said in an interview that "The Mafia got it right." He was referring to the whole patch issue, and how police harassment over the patch drove him out of the life.

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  29. Excellent story, great writer. You know him?

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  30. Still can't get over a gangster named Mom!! Thanks I think I have a new story lead....

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  31. My bad, this was supposed to be in reply to you thinking of a name for the blog, joke fail!... Basically over here the harley type of bikes are called tractors.

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  32. I would believe the reason for the high bail is so they can hold them long enough for other warrants outside the state that might be felonys. Just guessing here. PHILLY

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  33. Ed check out Sonny Bargers book Hells Angels life & times if Sonny Barger...great book about the early years of the HA and the Oakland chapter with great stuff about Altamont and the anti-war protest where Sonny and the Oakland chapter attacked the protesters

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  34. Yup that's the one. Is it good? I found it used a few years ago. Reiner also wrote a book with Giancana's daughter called mafia princess I think. I'll have to dig into mafia assassin though. Is it good?

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  35. AJ, the part about sonny pulling a gun on Keith when Keith didn't wanna play Altmamont is great. Btw I have that show on cd and while it's rough quality it's fascinating to listen to the fear in Micks voice as he tries to quell the raging crowd. If you watch the show you can almost see the Angels kill Meredith hunter. I think that angel was actually acquitted.

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  36. There is like a 45 minute video on YouTube about him. He was more gangster than most MC. Officers. Than again the info is 85% provided by the police so who knows the truth. I think he is doing double life.

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  37. No not personally, but he's well written. Going to send you an email when I have time. Hold off on that domain that was suggested I have another 1 in mind and will explain why.

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  38. Yeah it was Hawkman, the whole book made you feel like you were right there in the moment...great read

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  39. Yes Hells Angel Alan Passaro was aquitted

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  40. I have to think that's unconstitutional at some level.....

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  41. Yes that's right, I forgot his name. Did you read that the Angels plotted to kill jagger? You think it was because they bought his solo albums? Hahaha

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  42. "The Dude" was the founder way back. He had so much heat he just road off into the sunset.

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  43. Ed, If you are interested in Mom check this video out. By the way I wrong her did not get Double Life, It;s Canada so he got 25 years for 2 murders and 1 attempted murder. One was a C.O. a female Hack. Very Good video enjoy all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKyCKpNrskc

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  44. Definitely put things in a new perspective. Thanks for the read.

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  45. How the hell is natalie worth more then karen?? And carla is so boring and annoying..i wish they wouldnt bring her back. Love drita and ang tho

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  46. Wasn't Trafficante concerned about the JFK link? He was also linked to the Roselli hit

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  47. yearh the bikers and the mob have always worked together. The bikers and the dtetroit mob used to work together but after jackie gicaclone shelved frankie the bomb in 2014 and one of his guys extorated 50 grand of a biker members lawyer and then they ended up trashing each others strip clubs things were tense for awhile but peter tocco he is well respected the current street boss a sitdown sorted things out but they still dont get on a few years ago jack tocco when he was boss was very close with the bikers. Joe D`anna a capo on trial for assualt in detroit is also close with the bikers. Philly mob used to aswell. Five familys deal with them on a regular basis i think some guys dealt weed with the bikers

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  48. I would have to disagree with you on this one... With the computer systems connected such as NCIC, they know within minutes if there are any warrants from anywhere in the country.

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  49. It's would be great if more people would open their eyes and minds and start caring about what went down in Waco,Texas .Regardless of the public perceptions about motorcycle clubs in general ,the fact of the matter is that according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services Webb site An individual can be granted refugee status or asylum who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of ,race,religion,nationality,and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.It fails to mention that if you come to the United States and buy a motorcycle and associate with those social groups that you may be subject to the same persecution you escaped from. With that said the fact that police took a military stance against U.S. Citizens on U.S. Soil because it was a gathering of social groups undermines the United States Constitution and in my opinion is a threat to our national security.How can the United States present itself to the world stage as a peace keeping nation against other nations when we are doing no different here than some place else,yet we drop bombs on them..Not O.K. with me.It is also my opinion that the United States Constitution is no less than a blood oath contract with God himself.It promises that here in America people will be allowed to live according to God's will, and that is to have the freedom to exercise ones God given birth right of free will. If it were not true then I am doubting that the United States would have been victorious in wars against other countries that directly sought to take free will from us.It seems to me that the way things are going as a society we have such a lust of hatred towards our fellow man ,now that race and sexual preference is out of the question to descriminate against, we have now resorted to judging by what ones clothing says or their affiliations.Waco,Texas is experiencing what I would suggest is the wrath of God,because judgment of individuals is reserved for the Lord ,regardless of police intent ,it backfired on them because they took it upon themselves to judge others.

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  50. Just a quick update I read in the Wako News paper. As of Monday (I think) 107 people that were arrested have been released on lower bonds. They are still pretty high and one came up with $1mm. I am dying to see the video of the place next store Don Carlo's I think is the name of the place (Ironic) They will probably never release it as it will show who did what to who.

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