Jury decides to strip Mongols biker gang of trademark logo

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Jury decides to strip Mongols biker gang of trademark logo
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien, right, speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles about the arrest of several Mongol motorcycle gang members in six states as a vest with the Mongols logo displayed. Federal prosecutors say a California jury has decided the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo. Jurors in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Friday, Jan. 11, 2018, found that the government could seize control of the group's trademark. The jury previously found the Mongol Nation, the entity that owns the image of a Mongol warrior on a chopper, guilty of racketeering and conspiracy. (AP Photo/Ric Francis, File)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California jury decided Friday that the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo in a first-of-its-kind verdict, federal prosecutors said.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana jury previously found Mongol Nation, the entity that owns the image of a Mongol warrior on a chopper, guilty of racketeering and conspiracy.

The verdict caps an unusual decade-long quest by prosecutors to dismantle the gang responsible for drug dealing and murder by seizing control of the trademark they said was core to the gang’s identity.

Gang members were “empowered by these symbols that they wear like armor,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Welk argued.

Attorney Joseph Yanny had argued that the organization didn’t tolerate criminal activity and kicked out bad members. He said the government targeted the group because of its large Mexican-American population and had attributed crimes of some into a “group conviction.”

“These are ordinary people,” Yanny said. “They are hardworking people. You don’t see the Hells Angels here.”

But jurors found the Mongols were a criminal enterprise responsible for murder, attempted murder and drug dealing.

The effort to take the logo followed the convictions of 77 gang members on racketeering charges in 2008.

The convictions were the result of an investigation in which four male agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives infiltrated the club and four female agents posed as their girlfriends.