Homes of Vagos motorcycle gang members searched by authorities

Kirk Koester, 46, of Cayucos was arrested March 15 on suspicion of possessing a concealed firearm.
Kirk Koester, 46, of Cayucos was arrested March 15 on suspicion of possessing a concealed firearm.

Members of three law enforcement agencies served search warrants Wednesday at the homes of the five Vagos motorcycle gang members who had been arrested on March 15 on suspicion of firearms-related charges.

The arrests occurred during a traffic stop near the intersection of Highways 154 and 101 in Santa Barbara. The search warrants were served Wednesday at homes in Paso Robles, Cayucos and Heritage Ranch.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Gang Enforcement Unit, with assistance from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and Paso Robles Police Department, served the warrants on all three locations around 6:30 a.m.

According to a news release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the search yielded a shotgun and several pieces of suspected gang-related items. No additional arrests were made.

The March 15 arrests followed a traffic stop after members of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Gang Enforcement Unit saw two of the riders fail to stop at a red light.

During the traffic stop, three additional motorcycle riders stopped in the middle of the highway, apparently waiting for the members of their group who had been stopped.

During the stop, detectives found concealed semi-automatic handguns within the motorcycle saddlebags of the individuals who were stopped. All five suspects were arrested on firearms-related allegations, along with gang enhancements.

Those arrested were Kirk Koester, 46, the club’s San Luis Obispo chapter president, and his wife Shannon Koester, 41, both from Cayucos; Byron Posey, 38, of Paso Robles; Daniel Chapman, 46, of Paso Robles; and John Gallagher, 41, of San Luis Obispo.

The case has been turned over to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. An arraignment date has not been set.

According to law enforcement, there are more than 600 Vagos members in the country. The club originated in San Bernardino County in the 1960s.