Federal prosecutors have disclosed shocking allegations regarding a former Hells Angels boss, Merl Hefferman, and his involvement in disposing of the bodies of multiple gang members at a central California funeral home referred to by the gang as “the pizza oven.”
These allegations came to light during Hefferman’s sentencing, where he had previously admitted to disposing of a Hells Angels member’s body.
Illegal Cremations at “The Pizza Oven”
According to federal prosecutors, the gang used the Yost and Webb funeral home in Fresno, California, to cremate the bodies of four individuals.
Without a Trace
Prosecutors have stated that Hefferman facilitated these actions to conceal any traces of the victims.
Forced at Gun Point
Levi Phipps, the crematory manager, testified that he received a call from Hefferman on July 16, 2014, instructing him to keep the “hangar door open.”
He further testified that he was forcibly threatened at gunpoint by two men who loaded a body into the cremator.
Allegations of Multiple Disappearances
Prosecutors revealed that the events surrounding Joel Silva were not isolated. Phipps informed a federal grand jury that Hefferman had contacted him multiple times to arrange additional cremations.
A Lost Member
It’s thought that the second body involved Robbie Huff, a Hells Angels member who went missing in 2015 and allegedly had a role in the murder of Joel Silva and its cover-up.
A Second Member
This pattern repeated for a third time, involving Art Carasis, another Hells Angels member who disappeared in 2016. Prosecutors asserted that phone records between Hefferman and Phipps support Phipps’s testimony.
No Additional Charges
It should be noted that Hefferman has not been charged in connection with the cases of Huff, Carasis, and the fourth alleged victim.
No Credible Evidence
Hefferman’s attorney, James Bustamante, argued that the government did not find Phipps credible enough to pursue additional charges.
Seeking Additional Charges
Hefferman’s Lawyer said, “despite ample opportunities to do so, it is clear that the government did not find Phipps credible enough to seek additional charges.”
Hefferman’s Role and the Larger Investigation
Hefferman’s role in this case is part of a broader racketeering investigation targeting the Sonoma and Fresno Hells Angels.
While Hefferman was accused of disposing of Joel Silva’s body, he was not implicated in the actual murder. The investigation is part of ongoing efforts to address criminal activities within the motorcycle club.
The Impact on Silva’s Family
Joel Silva’s family shared their experience in a statement, expressing the emotional impact of not knowing their son’s whereabouts for several years.
All Over Ego
The Famly said, “Not knowing where our son was for years was difficult and extremely emotional,” and “The Hells Angels are all cowards. They took Joel’s life over somebody’s ego and no one has a right to take anyone’s life.”
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