Four people are still wanted by Horry County police in connection with an 18-month investigation called Operation Red Harvest, which centered on marijuana cultivation and distribution involving local chapters of the Hells Angels, following the arrest of an Illinois man on Thursday, Sgt. Robert Kegler said.
Joshua Joseph Johnson, 42, of Rockford, Ill., was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on charges of third-degree assault and battery, criminal conspiracy, first-offense criminal conspiracy to distribute marijuana and first-offense manufacturing marijuana, according to jail records.
Johnson is being held without bail pending a bond hearing.
With Johnsons arrest, Kegler said Horry County police have arrested 32 people, including 15 in one day on April 30 as part of an initial roundup of suspects in the operation that centered on the motorcycle group and people affiliated with it.
Earlier in May, a circuit court judge set bonds for the group that ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 and totaled more than $2 million cumulatively, Kegler said. Most of those charged have been released on bail.
The arrests were made after a grand jury handed down 226 sealed indictments on April 23 for the suspects, according to authorities. Everyone arrested was either a member of the biker organization or somehow affiliated with them, police said.
The recent arrests involved charges that stemmed from marijuana distribution to assault that involved Hells Angels members attacking men, who were either being kicked out of the organization or not considered a member and forcing them to remove signifying tattoos.
Some of the individuals charged in connection with the marijuana bust were also charged in connection with those assaults and another assault that occurred in April 2011 where Myrtle Beach Police Officer Michael Marsh was assaulted by a Hells Angels motorcycle club member while he was attending a picnic and cookout at a friends house.
Officers searched 10 locations in Horry County and two in Georgetown County on April 30 that ended the 18-month investigation that began in December 2010.
The operation was led by Horry County police along with the Horry County Sheriffs Office, 15th Circuit Solicitors Office, Charleston County Sheriffs Office, Georgetown County Sheriffs Office, Myrtle Beach police, Surfside Beach police and the State Law Enforcement Division.