Hells Angels members sentenced to prison for murder, illegal cremation

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2 California Hells Angels members were sentenced to prison for their participation in a criminal enterprise that included the murder and illegal cremation of another Hells Angels member. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jeremy Greer, 43, of the Sonoma County Hells Angels, was sentenced to 7 years for violent crimes. 

Merl Hefferman, 54, of the Fresno Hells Angels, was sentenced to four years in prison for obstruction of justice.

FBI states that Greer committed multiple “brutal” assaults, armed robbery, home invasion robbery, and witness intimidation. 

He also committed multiple violations of his release conditions, resulting in him being arrested again and remanded to custody.

Hefferman arranged the illegal cremation of former Sonoma County Hells Angels member Joel Silva after he was murdered by Fresno Hells Angels president Brian Wendt, Sonoma County Hells Angels president Jonathan Nelson, and former HASC president Russell Ott.

Silva was murdered at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse.

After the killing, Hefferman arranged for the illegal cremation of Silva’s body at a nearby crematory. 

Wendt, Nelson, and Ott were convicted of the murder in 2022 and currently await sentencing.

“The Hells Angels murdered one of their own, and Hefferman helped them try to get away with it. But for the dedicated efforts of FBI Task Force Officers and Special Agents, particularly officers from the Santa Rosa Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, they would have succeeded. Greer and other Hells Angels followed a malicious code of conduct, encouraging the beating, maiming, and even killing of anyone who dared to cross their criminal enterprise,” said U.S. Attorney Ramsey. “The defendants now face the consequences of their violent racketeering activities.”

In total, five defendants have been sentenced. 

The investigation began in 2014 after the disappearance of Silva. 

11 members and associates of HASC have since been charged with racketeering, conspiracy and violent crimes, murder, narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, illegal firearms possession, obstruction of justice, and witness intimidation.

Foakes and another Hells Angel, Christopher Ranieri, who was convicted for his role in plotting Silva’s murder, are in custody, pending sentencing.


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.