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Modesto Hells Angels VP Gets Five Years in Federal Prison



Photo of the outside of the Modesto chapter of the Hells Angels
Exterior of the Modesto chapter Hells Angels clubhouse. (
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Michael Shafer, 34, of Modesto, received a five-year prison sentence on Friday for his part in a drug-trafficking conspiracy involving heroin and marijuana.

Shafer was sentenced at the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced the sentence in a news release on Monday morning.

Shafer pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July 2021. He faced a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Instead, he received the mandatory minimum sentence.

Years-Long Federal Investigation

According to court documents, Shafer was the vice president of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Modesto in 2019. As part of a years-long probe into the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, investigators obtained a court-authorized wiretap for Shafer’s phone. The wiretapped calls and messages showed that Shafer was conspiring to distribute marijuana and heroin.

Specifically, in April 2019, Shafer conspired with a former Hells Angels member who was incarcerated in Pleasant Valley State Prison to smuggle heroin into prison, prosecutors said.

The prosecution was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation intended to identify, disrupt, and dismantle high-level criminal organizations through a multi-agency strategy.

Agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, Modesto Police Department, Turlock Police Department, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the California Highway Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson and Laurel Montoya prosecuted the case.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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