When a Hells Angels leader was killed in a motorcycle gang gunfight at a Reno casino last year, Jerry Duane Brown ordered armed men to guard his home in Boise.
The leader of the Slayers gang in the Treasure Valley was a gun-toting drug addict with a penchant for violent crime and ties to the gangs involved in the September 2011 shootout in Nevada. Providing extra protection at his home was just one of many tasks he forced his members to do.
Those were among the details outlined during Browns recent sentencing in 4th District Court. Judge Lynn Norton approved a plea deal that sent him to prison for five to 15 years, but spared him federal charges. But it didnt stop federal prosecutors from targeting other members of the gang.
A tentative plea agreement filed last week in U.S. District Court calls for Devin Edward Montgomery, 32, to spend three years in federal custody for unlawful possession of a firearm. Montgomery wanted to go into the federal court and prison system to avoid being incarcerated in state prison with members of the Slayers gang, according to the plea deal. He is due to be sentenced Jan. 7.
The conclusion of Browns case and the sentencing of many of his cohorts offered glimpses into the workings of a criminal gang that Boise police say assaulted and robbed people, dealt drugs throughout the region and sent money to Treasure Valley murderers in state prison.
Browns lawyer, Scott Gatewood, said much of the gang talk was more bluster than action, but Norton told Brown at his sentencing that the veteran, who left the Marines in 1977, seemed different than his accomplices.
Many of them, I kind of got the idea that they watched too much Sons of Anarchy and kind of liked role-playing drama, Norton said, referring to a popular television show. Quite frankly, Mr. Brown, I dont think this was a role-playing issue for you.
HELP FROM AN INFORMANT
Brown, 53, and about 10 fellow gang members were arrested in April after the Boise police SWAT team raided a Broadway Avenue tattoo shop where Brown lived in the basement. They also raided a home in the 1300 block of Longmont Avenue.
A confidential informant was instrumental in the investigation. He wrote a letter describing the ordeal that Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Barbara Duggan read at Browns sentencing Nov. 29.
I looked you in the eye when you threatened my life with a loaded gun to my head, surrounded by your Slayers holding AK-47s and shotguns, and held my ground, he wrote. I knew that one day justice would be served on a silver platter to you from me.
Brown pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, use of a firearm in the course of a violent crime and recruiting criminal gang members. In addition to prison time, Norton ordered Brown to forfeit eight firearms seized from his home in April, including four rifles and a 12-gauge shotgun.
In court, Brown told Norton that he had no intention of shooting and killing the informant.
I pointed the weapon at him to scare him from bringing law enforcement there, he said.
The informant described Brown as a shot caller who ate OxyContin and smoked marijuana all day while ordering home invasions, assaults and robberies throughout the region.
Brown, who has Nazi tattoos on his face, has ties to the Vagos motorcycle gang and to the Aryan Knights.
Vagos members were involved in the shootout with the Hells Angels in Nevada, and the Aryan Knights are a prison-based gang whose members deal drugs and commit other crimes on Treasure Valley streets.
Boise police found gang insignia during their raids in April, but the informant questioned whether Brown was a true gangster, saying he liked to cozy up to larger gangs to feel important.
Duggan said Brown was basically engaging in criminal activity on an hourly basis. She said Brown sent money to Idaho prisons for associates. Some are convicted killers, including Buck Pickins, a former Garden City resident who murdered a 77-year-old man in 2006.
Duggan said Brown also was helping find a pen pal for Aryan Knights gangster Todd Evil Hagnas, who is serving two life sentences for killing his two roommates in Boise in 2006 or 2007. Duggan read a note to Brown in which Hagnas said, I know Im an ugly bastard and I killed a bunch of people, but those are small things.
He methodically engaged and courted evil criminal associations, Duggan told the judge.
Norton chastised Brown for influencing others to engage in criminal activity, including his own son, Damien Jason Brown. The younger Brown was sentenced in October to up to 10 years in prison for aggravated assault, delivery of a controlled substance and recruiting gang members. He was one of the 10 others charged in connection with the Slayers investigation; most have been sentenced to 2 to 10 years.
Many of them looked toward you for guidance, and your guidance led them to more drugs, guns and violent behavior, Norton said to Jerry Brown.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418