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5 Alleged Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Members Arrested on Firearms Charges

Deputies discover hidden semi-automatic handguns during traffic stop in Santa Barbara

A routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of five alleged associates of an outlaw San Luis Obispo County motorcycle gang after semi-automatic handguns were discovered hidden in their saddlebags, authorities said Sunday.

Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, said members of the sheriff’s gang enforcement unit made the arrests near the intersection of Highways 154 and 101 in Santa Barbara after two of the five motorcyclists were seen running a red light Friday night. After the two riders were pulled over, she said, the other three stopped in the middle of the roadway, apparently waiting for their companions.

All five motorcyclists were wearing insignia of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, a known outlaw motorcycle gang founded in San Bernardino County in the 1960s, Hoover said.

During the course of the traffic enforcement stop, detectives found semi-automatic handguns concealed in the motorcycles’ saddlebags, she said, adding that all five suspects were arrested on firearms-related charges, along with criminal street gang enhancements.

Hoover identified the suspects as Kirk Koester, 46, the motorcycle club’s San Luis Obispo chapter president, and his wife, Shannon Koester, 41, both of Cayucos; Daniel Chapman, 46, of Paso Robles; John Gallagher, 41, of San Luis Obispo; and Byron Posey, 38, of Paso Robles. She said all were booked into County Jail on charges of possession of a concealed firearm and active participant of a criminal street gang in possession of a concealed firearm, as well as the gang enhancement allegation.

The case has been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, Hoover said. An arraignment date has not been set.

The Vagos Motorcycle Club has been designated as an outlaw motorcycle gang by the the state Attorney General’s Office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities say gang members are involved in a vast array of criminal activities such as producing, transporting and distributing methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as assault, extortion, insurance fraud, money laundering, murder, vehicle theft, witness intimidation and weapons violations.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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