LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced Monday that a man was indicted Friday in a gang-related murder in Palm Harbor.
The sheriff said that Paul Mogilevsky, 48, of Pinellas Park was charged in the death of 46-year-old Dominick Paternoster, who was killed on April 27, 2022, at his home on Dunbridge Drive.
“Paternoster was not just killed; he was executed,” Gualtieri said. “He was shot several times, including a gunshot to the head.”
According to the sheriff, more than one gun was used to kill Paternoster, leading authorities to believe there were multiple suspects responsible for his death. Mogilevsky was one of the first to be arrested in the case, with more arrests pending.
Gualtieri said the suspect and victim were members of the Mongols and Raiders, affiliated biker gangs that have a clubhouse in Tampa. The sheriff said the organizations operate publicly as motorcycle clubs, but the two organizations were known as “1%-ers,” motorcycle clubs that engage in illegal activity.
“They are not clubs; they’re thugs.” he said.
The sheriff said the Mongols, a national motorcycle gang based in California, sell guns and drugs and engage in human trafficking and prostitution.
“These people are not the people that you see out on a Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride,” Gualtieri said. “These criminal biker organizations are called 1%-ers because they are part of the 1% of people who ride motorcycles and self-identify as a motorcycle club when they are really this gang of thugs who terrorize and commit crime.”
Meanwhile, the Raiders serve as a lower-level, feeder organization who help recruit people into the Mongols, according to the sheriff.
“These are people in their 40s and 50s and etc., and they have structure, and they have organization,” he said.
Gualtieri said the organizations usually do not target innocent civilians, usually committing violent crimes against rivals and internal gang members who step out of line instead.
In Paternoster’s case, the sheriff said he was executed because the gang members believed he was cooperating with law enforcement as a “snitch.” Paternoster himself was said to be drug dealer for the Raiders, with detectives finding drugs inside his home during their investigation.
“They shot him a whole bunch of times, about as dead as you can get,” Gualtieri said. “They shot him in the head, and they’re sending a message when they do that.”
Gualtieri said Mogilevsky admitted to being with someone else at Paternoster’s home on the night of the murder, which was supported by video evidence and witness statements that place multiple people at the crime scene.
The sheriff also said evidence was found at the home that supported the grand jury’s indictment. A dive team recovered additional evidence that was dumped into Tampa Bay.
One piece of evidence recovered in the investigation was a Mongols biker vest. However, the sheriff said they have more arrests and searches planned in the case.
“We know he didn’t do it by himself,” Gualtieri said.