PROVIDENCE — The North Smithfield man authorities identify as leader of a notorious outlaw motorcycle gang is back behind bars after admitting he consorted with fellow gang members, some with criminal records, while sentenced to home confinement.
Deric “Tuna” McGuire, 37, had been on home confinement with electronic monitoring since a July 2019 Superior Court ruling that struck key wiretap evidence against him and his associates in a sprawling drug-trafficking and firearms case.
McGuire, the alleged leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club chapter in Rhode Island, has returned to the Adult Correctional Institutions for 45 days after admitting Monday failing to keep the peace by spending time with people with criminal records, a violation of bail terms, according to Kristy dosReis, spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter F. Neronha’s office. He returns to court March 4.
According to Rhode Island State Police, an intelligence analyst learned that the Pagans would be holding a second grand opening for their clubhouse at 501 Bound Rd., in Cumberland, on Nov. 6 with up to 30 members from the New York Pagans club expected to attend.
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Investigators watched at about 1 a.m. as members arrived, some of whom were flagged as alleged motorcycle gang leaders in New York and at least one of whom had been accused of attempted murder and drug trafficking.
GPS tracking placed McGuire, the alleged leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club in Rhode Island, at that location, apparently after riding his girlfriend Catherine Glaude’s Harley-Davidson to the site. Photographs also captured him mixing with Pagans members outside the clubhouse.
On the night of Jan. 13, McGuire held a Pagans meeting at the home he shares with Glaude in North Smithfield. The gang had vacated their Cumberland clubhouse weeks earlier, the police said.
Law-enforcement agencies have identified the Pagans, which are active across the nation and are known to fight over territory with dueling clubs, as a criminal enterprise and have been implicated elsewhere in racketeering scandals.
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McGuire had been free on $100,000 surety and home confinement since Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel suppressed the wiretap of McGuire’s phones. His home-confinement order directed that he was to have no contact with Pagans Motorcycle Club members.
Vogel ruled that under state law, only the Superior Court presiding justice or the next-senior Superior Court judge can authorize wiretap interceptions.
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Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney asked Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg to handle the warrants in McGuire’s case while Gibney was out on medical leave. Gibney did so because it would have created a conflict for the most senior Superior Court judge, Robert D. Krause, to do so and later preside over the cases, according to lawyers involved in the case. Krause handles the bulk of the state’s gun cases, including those of McGuire and his co-defendants.
The decision marked a blow for state prosecutors. For almost a year, state and federal agents had wiretapped at least seven different telephones used by McGuire, capturing his recruitment to lead a new Rhode Island chapter of the Pagans outlaw motorcycle gang and documenting his illegal drug operation, authorities allege.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Patched Out, led to 29 raids in May 2018 and the seizure of drugs and weapons, including a rocket launcher. Fifty people were arrested and charged with crimes tied to two alleged Woonsocket-based motorcycle gangs, the Pagans and the Kryptmen.
State prosecutors have appealed Vogel’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the judge got it wrong, that the law gave Gibney the authority to designate Thunberg to perform presiding justice duties — such as handling warrants for wiretaps — in her absence. They faulted Vogel’s reading of the state’s Wiretap Act as overly strict.
The state also argued that U.S. Supreme Court precedent allows the admission of evidence seized on “good-faith” reliance on a search warrant, as was the case in the McGuire case.
Lawyers for McGuire and his co-defendants counter that the state is raising the same arguments Vogel rejected in July 2019.
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The Supreme Court has not yet set a date for arguments to be heard.
McGuire faces more than 220 narcotics and weapons charges. Glaude, 31, his girlfriend, also faces charges linked to the investigation. She, too, was free on home confinement, but has been returned to prison in recent weeks.
Lawyers for McGuire and Glaude, John F. Cicilline and Lauren Balkcom, respectively, did not immediately respond to inquiries. The case is being prosecuted by James Baum and Joseph McBurney.