Hells Angels president arrested for firebombing business rivals

August 13, 2011

George Christie Jr.

Federal investigators arrested the former president of the Ventura County Chapter of the “Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang” on Friday for firebombing two competing tattoo shops, according to a press release.

George Christie Jr., 64, of Ventura, was one of four defendants arrested on federal conspiracy, extortion and arson charges contained in a six-count indictment stemming from an extortion plot and the firebombing of two Ventura tattoo shops in 2007.

The indictment alleges that Christie, while the president of the Ventura County Chapter of the Hells Angels and owner of The Ink House, conspired to threaten the owners of rival tattoo parlors in an effort to force them to close down their businesses.

When the owners of the Scratch the Surface and the Twisted Ink refused to shut down, Christie allegedly conspired to firebomb the tattoo shops.

On July 6, 2007, Christie allegedly threw Molotov cocktails into the competing businesses.

At the time of the firebombings, Twisted Ink was located directly across the street from Ventura High School, while Scratch the Surface – housed in the same building as an occupied residence – was operating next to a pre-school.

Christie is charged with three Hobbs Act extortion conspiracies, one count of conspiracy to use fire or explosive to damage property, and two counts of use of fire or explosive to damage property.

Kyle Douglas Gilbertson, 33, of Ventura; Benito Hurtado, 34, of Oak View; and Richard Reeves Russell III, 29, of Ventura are named along with Christie in the first Hobbs Act extortion counts.

The three counts in the indictment that charge the Hobbs Act extortions each carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The counts in the indictment that allege arson each carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, and a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison.

If convicted of all six counts in the indictment, Christie would face a statutory maximum penalty of 120 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department; and the Ventura Police Department.

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