The opinion of the court was delivered by: SONIA SOTOMAYOR
Defendant-in-rem 77 East 3rd Street, New York, New York (the "Building") is a six-story building located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since 1969, the Building's first floor has served as the meeting place or "club house" of the New York City ("NYC") Chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club ("HAMC"), an organization whose founding members include claimant Sandy Alexander. The Building's upper five floors contain residential apartments, the majority of which are occupied by HAMC members.
A nationwide investigation of the HAMC, launched in or about 1977 to 1985 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the "FBI") and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, revealed that HAMC, through its individual chapters, including the NYC Chapter, was conducting illegal drug transactions. As a result of the investigation, numerous HAMC members from various chapters across the country were arrested and prosecuted. On May 2, 1985, law enforcement agents raided the Building and thereafter, over a dozen members, former members and associates of the NYC Chapter of HAMC, including claimants Colette and Sandy Alexander and a trustee of claimant the Church of Angels, Inc. (the "Church of Angels"), Paul Casey, were all convicted and sentenced for narcotics-related offenses.
The federal drug forfeiture laws, 21 U.S.C. §§ 881, were amended by Congress on October 12, 1984, to permit forfeiture of real property used for narcotics-related activities. See 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7) (1994). On May 1, 1985, plaintiff United States of America (the "Government") filed a complaint against the Building alleging that it was subject to forfeiture under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7) because the NYC Chapter of HAMC, on or after October 12, 1984, the effective date of the forfeiture amendment, to May 2, 1985, the date of the raid, had used the Building to commit and to facilitate the commission of felony narcotics transactions.
Sandy Alexander, his wife Colette Alexander and the Church of Angels subsequently intervened as claimants in this action.
On February 4, 1994, after an approximately five-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all of the claimants. Specifically, the jury found that the claimants had proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant-in-rem, the Building, was not used, or intended to be used, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a felony drug violation between October 12, 1984 and May 2, 1985.
The Government now moves for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b), and alternatively, for a new trial under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(a). The Government argues that during the trial, the claimants admitted using the Building to commit felony narcotics violations, namely the distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine, and failed to rebut the Government's probable cause showing. Therefore, asserts the Government, no reasonable jury could have concluded that claimants had met their burden of proving that the Building was not used to facilitate narcotics felonies. According to the Government, the "claimants' improper pleas for sympathy incited the jury to nullify the forfeiture law that the Court instructed the jury to apply," and the jury's verdict, therefore, must be set aside.
I disagree with the Government's description and assessment of the evidence in this case. The Government sought at trial to portray the Building as the nerve center from which all the NYC Chapter HAMC members' illegal activities flowed. Yet, having lost its star witness, William "Wild Bill" Medeiros, a founding member of the NYC Chapter and the only Government witness who purportedly had personal knowledge of drug transactions in the Building, the Government was left with rather inconclusive, and in some instances, scanty and highly unreliable evidence tying the Building, as opposed to the individuals, to the felony narcotics violations alleged. The Government ostensibly believes that the confessed criminality of the individual members of the HAMC group, and perhaps even their unorthodox lifestyle, should have enveloped the Building in a cloud of criminality in the jurors' mind. Such, however, was not the case. Based on the evidence presented at trial, viewed in the light most favorable to the claimants, I can not conclude that the jury's decision was unreasonable in the least and find no reason in the record to grant the Government's motion for judgment as a matter of law, or its alternative motion for a new trial.
I. The Government's Direct Case
In order to assess the Government's motion, and the sufficiency of the evidence in this case, it is necessary to carefully and accurately set forth the evidence, or lack of evidence, presented at the trial of this action. At a forfeiture trial, the government bears the initial burden of demonstrating probable cause to believe that the real property at issue was used or was intended to be used to commit or facilitate the commission of felony narcotics violations. To meet its burden in this case, the Government presented three experts, an undercover agent and a cooperating witness to establish the requisite nexus between the Building and (1) Sandy Alexander's admitted cocaine sales, and (2) the alleged club-wide conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.
A. The Government's Expert Witnesses
1. State Investigator Louis Barbaria
The Government's first witness was New York State Police Investigator Louis G. Barbaria, Jr., a self-styled expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs, including the HAMC. His opinions about the structure and practices of HAMC and the NYC Chapter were based, in part, on intelligence gathered during the nationwide investigation known as "Operation Roughrider," and his debriefings of former HAMC members and cooperating witnesses, including William "Wild Bill" Medeiros, a founding member of the NYC Chapter of HAMC and Robert Banning, a member of the Bridgeport HAMC Chapter.
The parties to this action had stipulated that from the NYC Chapter's inception in 1969 until March 25, 1984, Sandy Alexander was the president of the Chapter. Stipulated Facts ("Stip. Facts") P 6. He was succeeded by William Medeiros, who left the post four months later. Id. at P 53. Paul Casey then assumed the presidency. Id. at P 24. Barbaria testified that the other officers of the NYC Chapter of HAMC were the vice-president, secretary, treasurer, road captain and security officer.
"Socially [and] business-wise," the clubhouse, according to Barbaria, "was basically the hub of [HAMC] activity." Tr.
at 228. "Church meetings," mandatory weekly club meetings of HAMC members, were, according to Barbaria, the "center of Hells Angels activities." Tr. at 172. The NYC Chapter of HAMC held its weekly church meetings in the clubhouse located on the first floor of the Building. Minutes of the meetings were kept (Tr. at 172-73), and attendance was noted therein. Tr. at 176. The actual minutes of meetings from July 1982 to March 1985 were seized during the May 2, 1985 raid and were admitted into evidence. Tr. at 173.
Barbaria also testified about the "lifestyle" of NYC Chapter HAMC members, and described it as consisting mainly of motorcycle runs, parties and drugs. Tr. at 206-07, 465-66. According to Barbaria, very few of the members held steady jobs, and many simply loitered around the clubhouse. Tr. at 207-08. He further described the travel by members all over the country, and indeed, the world, to attend anniversary parties of HAMC chapters. Tr. at 210-11. He further testified that methamphetamine, also referred to as "crank" or "speed," was the "fiber" of the NYC Chapter of HAMC during the period October 12, 1984 to May 2, 1985, and would be passed freely at parties. Tr. at 465-66.
To finance this lifestyle of constant partying and drugs, the NYC Chapter, according to Barbaria, manufactured and distributed methamphetamine. Barbaria described the NYC Chapter's methamphetamine enterprise as follows:
A. Well, basically, there were three people within the New York City Chapter of the Hells Angels that controlled the acquisition of, the obtaining of, the drugs and the distribution within the membership, and those three people were Mr. Sandy Alexander, who was basically the head of this drug organization, Mr. Howie Weisbrod, the vice president at the time -- he distributed the drugs primarily to other members of the Hells Angels -- and the third individual was Mr. Paul Casey, who is in the courtroom here also, and he was primarily the manufacturer.
Tr. at 215. The other members of the NYC Chapter, according to Barbaria, participated in the methamphetamine conspiracy "by obtaining the drugs from this organization and then [going] out and doing their own distribution." Id.
Barbaria stated that the Weisbrod-Alexander-Casey run methamphetamine project began to breakdown in 1983, and "by the end of 1984, . . . wasn't effective anymore . . . [and] didn't operate along [the same] lines." Tr. at 216. He further testified that some members became frustrated with restrictions on methamphetamine distribution imposed by the Weisbrod-Alexander-Casey control group, and formed a "Nomad" chapter in October 1984, to distribute greater quantities of methamphetamine than was permitted in the NYC Chapter. Tr. at 451-53.
According to Barbaria, the NYC Chapter's methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution activities continued up until the time of the May 2, 1985 raid, albeit in a different manner. After the breakdown of the Weisbrod-Alexander-Casey control group, individual members distributed methamphetamine obtained from other sources. Tr. at 216. Barbaria based his conclusion that the methamphetamine conspiracy continued until the date of the raid on several factors: (1) information derived during Operation Roughrider; (2) drug purchases made by an FBI undercover agent from various members during that period; and (3) certain physical evidence seized from apartments in the Building during the May 2, 1985 raid. With respect to the physical evidence, Barbaria deemed the high purity of the .39 grams of methamphetamine found in HAMC club member Brendan Manning's apartment especially telling. Barbaria opined that the purity of those narcotics was "consistent with someone who's in the distribution end of an enterprise." Tr. at 218. He also stated that the lifestyle of parties, travel and motorcycle runs did not end with the breakdown of the Weisbrod-Alexander-Casey enterprise, and thus, the members "had to make their money from some source." Tr. at 218.
On cross-examination, Barbaria admitted that there was a "drought" in methamphetamine during the fall of 1984 to spring 1985 because Paul Casey had stopped manufacturing (Tr. at 459); that there was a club rule against discussing illegal activities during church meetings (Tr. at 337); that several members and their spouses or live-in girlfriends were employed (Tr. at 373-98); that generally a representative of a chapter, not the entire chapter, traveled to out-of-state HAMC anniversary parties or events; that the Building was not "a lap of luxury" (Tr. at 348, 418); that he could not tell when the alleged cutting agents found in Sandy Alexander's apartment had last been used (Tr. at 286-87); and that the grinder found there was not in itself indicative of a methamphetamine conspiracy. Tr. at 288.
Maryland State Police Sergeant Terry Katz, an expert on drug conspiracies, offered testimony on the significance of the physical evidence seized from the Building during the May 2, 1985 raid. In the apartments of Paul Casey, Sandy Alexander, Brendan Manning and Michael Manfredonio, FBI agents found small amounts of high purity methamphetamine, and substances, such as mannitol, inositol and dextrose, which are commonly used as drug dilutants or "cut." Stipulated Facts PP 9, 26, 46, 50. The agents also retrieved from those apartments (1) small amounts of cocaine; (2) clean vials; (3) a small grinder; (4) two small spiral notebooks with handwritten notations; (5) a Bearcat scanner; (6) two telephone wire testers; (7) a hand held bug detector; and (8) a bug sweeper. In addition, FBI agents found two Ohaus triple beam balances and an Ohaus dial-a-gram balance from the third floor apartment of Martha "Marty" Grabe, a tenant in the Building who was not an HAMC member.
At trial, based on stipulated facts, the Government offered a chart listing the items seized from the various apartments, but presented no evidence as to where in the apartments the items were found. Moreover, the Government did not introduce the actual seized items into evidence. Near the end of the trial, the parties realized that certain items had been returned to the claimants after the criminal trials, and the claimants introduced some of these into evidence during Paul Casey's testimony.
Sergeant Katz testified as follows about the seized items:
(1) highly pure methamphetamine such as that found in Brendan Manning's apartment strongly suggests that the possessor is very close to the original source of the drug's manufacture (Tr. 1044, 1053);
(2) cutting agents are used by drug distributors to increase profits by increasing the weight of the drugs sold (Tr. at 1044-45);
(3) drug users do not use cutting agents because the agents dilute the product and ostensibly their effect (Tr. at 1047);
(4) inositol, mannitol, and sugars, such as dextrose and lactose, are commonly used to "cut" methamphetamine, and inositol may be used to cut cocaine as well (Tr. at 1045-47);
(5) scales are commonly used by drug distributors to weigh their products (Tr. at 1051);
(6) clean vials are commonly used by drug dealers as receptacles for their products (Tr. at 1049-50);
(7) drug dealers commonly use Bearcat scanners, telephone line testers, bug sweepers, and other such devices to maintain security over their operations and to attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement (Tr. at 1060-67);
(8) the presence of high purity narcotics, cutting agents, packaging material such as clean vials, scales, and security devices suggests drug distributions in that location (Tr. 1043-51, 1076-77).
On cross-examination, Sergeant Katz admitted that he had no idea where in the apartments the seized items were found, or their condition at the time they were seized, and that an item's location and condition is highly important in determining whether it is related to or indicative of drug activity. Tr. at 1130. He nevertheless maintained that the seized items indicated drug distribution in the Building. Tr. 1070, 1076-77.
3. Special Agent Robert Howen
Robert Howen, a special agent employed in the electronics analysis unit, testified as to the operation and use of scanners and other surveillance devices. Tr. at 931-63. He stated that these items could be purchased at electronics stores, that scanners are frequently used as entertainment, and that books containing frequencies for the police, fire department and other official agencies could be purchased over the counter. Tr. at 963. Special Agent Barbaria had previously testified that HAMC members were always concerned about security and used such devices and information to monitor and secure their operations. Tr. at 228-29.
B. The Government's Non-Expert Evidence
1. FBI Undercover Agent Kevin Bonner
Kevin Bonner, an FBI special agent, testified that from March 1983 through May 2, 1985, he worked undercover, posing as a Baltimore drug dealer interested in purchasing methamphetamine, and later, cocaine from HAMC members. Tr. at 517. Bonner explained that, working with an informant named Vernon Hartung (Tr. at 520), he purchased narcotics from members of nine different chapters of HAMC, including from NYC Chapter members Howie Weisbrod and Sandy Alexander. Tr. at 530-31. He also purchased over 14 pounds of methamphetamine from a Troy Chapter member, James Harwood, who purportedly obtained his methamphetamine from NYC Chapter members. Tr. at 533-34, 628-29.
Bonner and Hartung used Sandy Alexander's interest in the prisoner of war ("POW") situation in Southeast Asia, and the activities of Colonel Bo Gritz, who had made a foray into Laos to try and rescue POWS, to gain Alexander's confidence and thereby, learn firsthand about the illegal drug activities of the NYC Chapter. Tr. at 55, 638-39. Bonner testified that in his initial meeting with Sandy Alexander, he promised to try and obtain for Alexander information about Colonel Gritz and his activities. Id. Bonner also admitted that Hartung spoke to Sandy Alexander on several occasions about gathering information on Colonel Gritz and the POWs, and that on two occasions, they sent Sandy Alexander letters about Bo Gritz. Tr. at 639.
Other than Sandy Alexander acknowledging that he knew of Bonner and Hartung's methamphetamine transactions with Harwood and assuring them that he would step in if they encountered any difficulties with Harwood, Sandy Alexander's only narcotics dealings with Bonner and Hartung involved the sale of cocaine. As for the cocaine sales, Bonner testified that he and Hartung first discussed the sales with Alexander in Alexander's apartment in the Building on November 20, 1984. During that meeting, at which Colette Alexander was present, Sandy Alexander, according to Bonner, specifically offered to sell them cocaine, and stated that he could get them ounces to a pound of Peruvian Flake or Colombian Rock cocaine. Tr. at 577-80.
Bonner further testified that following that meeting, he purchased cocaine from Sandy Alexander on at least four occasions: November 30, 1984, December 19, 1984, January 26, 1985 and February 27, 1985. Tr. at 535. Each of these sales was preceded by telephone calls placed by Bonner or Hartung to Alexander at his residence in the Building for the purpose, testified Bonner, of arranging the four sales. Tr. 585-92, 598-603, 611-14, 619-21. At trial, the Government played a total of eighteen (18) tapes of conversations conducted on Alexander's telephone in the Building. GX 41-58. Fifteen of those conversations were between Bonner or Hartung and Alexander or his wife Colette Alexander. Bonner testified that all fifteen of those conversations, even those to which he was not a party, related to the scheduling of cocaine deals. Tr. 582-623. The three remaining tapes were conversations between Alexander and Jerry Buitendorp, an individual whom Bonner testified supplied Alexander with cocaine. Tr. at 590.
However, in none of the eighteen conversations were there explicit references to narcotics, nor any reference. express or in "code," to price or quantity. Tr. at 584. Bonner testified that Sandy Alexander specifically directed him not to discuss the drug transactions on the phone, but that one day he slipped and used the phrase "cassettes" referring to cocaine. Id. Bonner also testified that Alexander told him to use military time to indicate the quantity of cocaine he wanted to purchase and the date he wanted to pick it up (Tr. at 581); however, there were no references to military time in any of the taped conversations with Alexander. Tr. at 658-59. The actual specifics of the deals, including the quantity and price, were worked out in face-to-face meetings at locations outside the Building. Tr. at 593-94. The telephone calls to Alexander only set up a date and time for the parties to meet, and many of the calls did not even accomplish that. In several calls, Sandy Alexander said little more than "I'll call you back" or "call back later." Moreover, no call preceded the final cocaine sale on February 27, 1985. Bonner testified that this was because Sandy Alexander, during an anniversary party in Bridgeport, Connecticut, told Hartung not to use the telephone to arrange the next cocaine deal, but to send a letter to him." Tr. at 618. Bonner explained that a letter, written in a code suggested by Alexander, was sent to arrange a cocaine sale for February 26, 1985 (Tr. at 618-23), but Sandy Alexander misunderstood the purported code, and thought the sale was to take place the next day. Tr. at 659-60.
Also testifying on behalf of the Government was Robert Banning, a former member of the Bridgeport, Connecticut Chapter of HAMC and an admitted former heavy cocaine user. Tr. at 846. Banning testified that he witnessed members of the NYC Chapter of HAMC distributing methamphetamine in the Building during his various visits to the club. Tr. at 789, 793, 796. Particularly, he described coming to New York in April 1985 for a Willie Nelson concert and attending a party, supposedly held in Paul Casey's apartment in the Building, at which drug sharing was rampant. According to Banning, he went into a second floor apartment in the Building, the home of Paul Casey or an individual named "Ted," and asked Casey for some methamphetamine. Banning testified that Casey pulled a Ziploc bag filled with over a pound of methamphetamine from a garbage bag in the corner of the room and gave him some. Tr. at 804-05. Some NYC Chapter HAMC members also used methamphetamine that Casey had placed on a mirror on a coffee table. Tr. at 805. NYC Chapter members, according to Banning, also helped themselves to some of his cocaine. Tr. at 806.
On cross-examination, when asked to describe Paul Casey's apartment, Banning testified as follows:
Q. Can you describe Paul Casey's apartment at 77 East 3rd Street?
Q. How many rooms did it have, do you recall?
A. I walked in the door; he was sitting on a couch. I was loaded on cocaine. I didn't go no further than there and back out the door.
Tr. at 846-47. Banning also testified, however, that the first thing he saw walking through the door was a couch in front of a coffee table, that the door opened directly into a room, and that he could not remember if there was a kitchen in the apartment. Tr. at 850.
Banning's description of Paul Casey's apartment differed significantly from a photograph of the apartment taken during the May 2 raid, and from the description offered by FBI Special Agent Richard Demburger, who led the FBI team that searched Paul Casey's apartment during the raid. Agent Demburger testified that upon entering the front door of Paul Casey's apartment, you turned down a hallway, and "then you encountered this kitchen area from which you could make a left-hand turn into another broader, bigger room which is like a living room and loft bedroom area." Tr. at 1206. Banning did not mention the loft area -- a prominent and conspicuous part of Casey's living room.
The Government also presented Stipulations of Fact that eleven members of the NYC Chapter of the HAMC pled guilty to or were convicted of participating in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine during the period 1982 continuously up to and including May 2, 1985. However, the Government proffered no admission by a NYC Chapter HAMC member that this methamphetamine conspiracy emanated from or was otherwise tied to the Building.
II. The Probable Cause Finding
At the close of the Government's direct case, I concluded that the Government had established probable cause to support forfeiture of the property in that the Government had demonstrated a "nexus" between the Building and narcotics felonies. See United States v. All Right, Title and Interest in Real Property and Appurtenances Thereto Known as 785 St. Nicholas Avenue and 789 St. Nicholas Ave., 983 F.2d 396, 403 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, U.S. , 113 S. Ct. 2349, 124 L. Ed. 2d 258 (1993). My determination was based on the expert testimony concerning the items seized from the Building during the May 2, 1985 raid in combination with the testimony that HAMC members of the NYC Chapter continuously used methamphetamine outside of the Building during the relevant time period, and undercover agent Kevin Bonner's description of his discussions with Sandy Alexander in the Building to arrange future cocaine sales.
I did not, however, find that the Government had shown probable cause that non-personal use of narcotics had occurred in the Building during the relevant time period, despite the Government's expert testimony that NYC Chapter HAMC members engaged in a "party lifestyl," where narcotics sharing was rampant, and indeed, integral to their lives. The only direct evidence of any drug sharing in the Building during the relevant time period came from Robert Banning, whose description of Paul Casey's apartment, where he claimed to have witnessed large quantities of methamphetamine being shared, was substantially contradicted by a photograph of the apartment and Agent Demburger's testimony. In light of these contradictions, Banning's admitted lapses in memory and intoxication on the night in question, and the fact that the Government offered no corroborating evidence that a Willie Nelson concert had occurred at all during the relevant time frame, I found Banning's testimony concerning the location of the drug sharing party he purportedly attended in April 1985 less than reliable, and I, therefore, discredited it.
After I found probable cause, the burden of proof shifted to the claimants to demonstrate either that the Building was not used unlawfully, or that its illegal use was without the claimants' knowledge or consent. See United States v. Property at 4492 S. Livonia Rd., Livonia, 889 F.2d 1258, 1267 (2d Cir. 1989); 785 St. Nicholas Avenue, 983 F.2d at 403 (2d Cir. 1993). To meet their burden, claimants presented deposition testimony of Vernon Hartung, the informant who, along with Kevin Bonner, purchased cocaine from Sandy Alexander, and live testimony from Colette Alexander and Paul Casey. The claimants also introduced into evidence some of the items seized from Paul Casey's apartment during the raid, namely the scale, an owner's manual for a scanner, and some of the books containing police and fire frequencies.
A. Vernon Hartung's Deposition Testimony
In contrast to Agent Bonner's testimony, Vernon Hartung testified that Sandy Alexander, in the November 20, 1984 meeting with Hartung and Bonner in Alexander's apartment, spoke only generally about cocaine.
Q. Did you discuss drugs with Mr. Alexander in his apartment on that occasion?
A. Yes, basically we did discuss a little bit. I am remembering back on it, and it pertained to about if we ever needed any more drugs, he could get the drugs for us.
Q. Did he say what kind of drugs?
A. He could get us anything, cocaine, crank, he can get us by the pound whatever we need. Let him know, he can get it.
Hartung testified, however, that no specific arrangements to purchase cocaine were made during that meeting (Hartung Dep. Tr. at 211-12), and that the actual details of the first cocaine deal were worked out at a later meeting in a restaurant in New York. Id. at 170-71. Hartung corroborated Bonner's testimony that Sandy Alexander during that the November 20 meeting told them to stay away from heroin, that Hartung had brought Alexander Vietnam handkerchiefs in which Alexandar had an interest and that the three discussed several topics. Id. at 135-36.
Colette Alexander admitted that drugs had been a large part of her life as well as that of several members of the HAMC and their "old ladies," i.e., girlfriends or wives. Tr. at 1318-19, 1341-42. She also admitted observing HAMC members sharing methamphetamine at club parties, and to having shared methamphetamine with Paul Casey's wife, Hope Casey, in their respective apartments in the Building. Tr. at 1341-42. She claimed, however, that her narcotics use and involvement in club activities declined significantly after her son Erik was seriously injured in an accident on April 8, 1982. Tr. at 1303-07. She further testified that her life revolved around her son after his accident, and the she lost interest in drugs and in the HAMC generally. Finally, she admitted meeting Bonner and Hartung on November 20, but denied being present during most of their discussions with her husband. Tr. at 1393-1401.
As for the items seized from her apartment during the May 2 raid, Colette stated that she used the grinder on occasion to grind rocks of cocaine, and that she believed the purported cutting agents to be Sandy Alexander's "protein" powders. Tr. at 1314-15. However, on cross-examination, the Government introduced her deposition testimony where she claimed that she occasionally used those substances to "cut" or dilute her personal stash of methamphetamine. Tr. at 1350-51.
Paul Casey testified that he joined the NYC Chapter of HAMC in August 1970. Tr. at 1427. At that time, he worked as a journeyman carpenter and was a member of the New York Carpenters Union. Tr. at 1428. He also testified that other members of the NYC Chapter, including Sandy Alexander and Howie Weisbrod, held jobs as diverse as stuntman, motorcycle mechanic, welder, professional boxer, bodyguard, tunnel diggers, video shop owner and truck driver. Tr. at 1440-53.
1. The NYC Chapter's Methamphetamine Manufacturing and Distribution Enterprise
Casey admitted manufacturing methamphetamine from the middle of 1978 to the spring of 1984. Tr. at 1494-1511. According to Casey, sometime in mid-1978, Howie Weisbrod told him that he had a contact who could supply them with P2P -- the main ingredient in methamphetamine. Tr. at 1495. Sandy Alexander provided Casey with a formula for manufacturing methamphetamine, and Casey began producing the drug. Tr. at 1497.
Casey described the multi-stage manufacturing process, and stated that it took him some time to perfect it. Tr. at 1497-99. He also described some of the tools he used in the process, which included a triple beam Ohaus scale, similar to one of the scales seized from 87 East 3rd Street, to weigh the various component chemicals and substances he used in manufacturing large quantities of methamphetamine. Casey denied ever having used the scale seized from his apartment in his methamphetamine production. Tr. at 1506. He stated that this scale, a rather small scale [sometimes used by dieters to weigh small portions of meat or other food] with no weight markings or gradations, was just for decoration, although it was sometimes used as an ashtray. Tr. at 1506-07.
Casey emphatically denied ever manufacturing methamphetamine in the Building (Tr. at 1502, 1567-68), and listed a series of locations in Staten Island and Connecticut where he set up his manufacturing operations. Tr. at 1502-04. Casey also denied ever storing commercial quantities of methamphetamine in the Building, but admitted maintaining personal use amounts there on occasion. Tr. at 1567-68. He did, however, state that he stored an ounce of methamphetamine in his shop at 87 East 3rd Street. Tr. at 1568.
According to Casey, half of the methamphetamine he produced went to Weisbrod's P2P supplier, and the other half to Weisbrod. Tr. at 1509-10. Weisbrod then would distribute the methamphetamine to NYC Chapter members, who then would sell it, returning some of the profits to Weisbrod. Sandy Alexander, according to Casey, did not play much of a role in the methamphetamine enterprise, other than providing the initial formula. However, Sandy Alexander was given some of the profits from the methamphetamine enterprise to help pay for his activities on behalf of the club, and to compensate him for providing the formula. Tr. at 1510. Although admitting that the methamphetamine enterprise subsidized the income of NYC Chapter HAMC members, Casey stated that he, Weisbrod and Alexander did not want the chapter involved in dealing large amounts of methamphetamine for sales greater than necessary to pay basic living expenses.
Q. Do you recall that there was a rule imposed by the [Weisbrod-Casey-Alexander] group that members of the New York City Chapter had to come to Mr. Weisbrod in order to obtain methamphetamine during the period 1979 to '84?
We didn't want to see any of it out, we just wanted enough to get our rents paid and that was it. Nobody was looking to get rich here. In reality, if a person wanted to sell methamphetamine, there was people lining up for half a mile.
That wasn't the intent here. We purposely did not want people in the drug business per se. What went on in this case, it looks to us like Mr. Bonner went around offering people ...