The notorious Mongols biker gang has been fenced out of a Mojave Desert motel where hundreds of motorcyclists were destined for a weekend rendezvous.
City officials shut down the Desert Inn and installed chain-link fencing at the entrances Thursday to block the biker meeting in Lancaster, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
The 144-room motel has a $16,000 contract to provide weekend space and rooms for up to 300 Mongols for their annual meeting, but the city used a tax case to shut down the motel. City Manager Mark Bozigian said Desert Inn owner Hui Su is past due on $180,000 in motel bed tax payments.
Mayor R. Rex Parris this week said the gang was not welcome in Lancaster because they "are engaged in domestic terrorism ... and they kill our children." He said the motel owners refused to comply when he asked them to renege on the contract.
Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Axel Anderson said closing the Desert Inn helps ensure public safety, noting that the gang has been implicated in murder and drugs.
Drug indictments last year
Dozens of Mongol members were indicted last year on drug trafficking, murder and other charges, and their former leader, Ruben "Doc" Cavazos, later pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.
Mongols lawyer Albert Perez Jr. said a lawsuit is planned over the motel contract dispute. He said up to 800 people, including members from 10 states and their families, were expected to attend the event.
"They're upset because they're getting a bad rap," he said.
Perez said the Mongols still plan to visit Lancaster for a street fair on Friday night but would find an alternate location for their weekend meeting. He would not say where.