Grueling details on Sonoma Hells Angels members’ crimes revealed

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A federal jury found two Hells Angels Motorcycle Club members guilty of multiple crimes, the United States Department of Justice said Friday. 

Christopher Ranieri was convicted for his role in a murder and Raymond Foakes was sentenced for carrying out a violent beating.

Foakes, also known as “Rainman,” was once the president of the Sonoma Charter. He was convicted for beating a former Hells Angels member for hours. 

According to the DOJ, the victim had an affair with Foakes’ common-law wife and was expelled from the group. 

DOJ said Foakes and other members of the Sonoma Charter beat the victim with a baseball bat, forcibly tattoed the victim’s forehead, and pistol-whipped them in the face. 

Foakes also sexually assaulted the victim’s wife and threatened to keep her from telling the authorities. 

Rainieri, also known as “Ray Ray,” is the president of the Salem, Massachusetts chapter of the Hells Angels, who was involved in the murder of former Hells Angels member Joel Silva. 

Silva’s feud with Rainieri began in 2014 at a motorcycle event in Laconia, New Hampshire, when Silva threatened another member of the Salem chapter. 

Rainieri, Fresno charter president Brian Wendt and Sonoma charter president Jonathan Nelson decided in a meeting to kill Silva. 

On July 15, 2014, Silva was “lured” to the Fresno Hells Angels’ clubhouse and was shot in the back of the head by Wendt. Silva’s body was incinerated at a crematory, and his truck was set on fire. 

Rainieiri returned to Fresno to attend a party celebrating the murder. 

Foakes was convicted of participating in a racketeer-influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) conspiracy, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and witness intimidation. Ranieri was convicted of the RICO charges and conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering.

Both men are being held in federal custody. Rainieri faces a maximum life sentence in prison, and Foakes faces a possible sentence of 60 years.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.