WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sixteen members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges including violent crime in aid of racketeering, illegal drug distribution and gun violations, the Department of Justice announced today. The indictment, which was unsealed today, is part of an ongoing nationwide law enforcement initiative targeting the violent gang, which included the arrest of 15 Outlaws members in Boston last month on drug and firearms charges. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced the indictment of the 16 charged defendants today at a news conference in Detroit with U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy of the Eastern District of Michigan, Deputy Director Ronnie Carter of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Deputy Assistant Director Daniel Roberts of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, and Gang Squad Chief Kevin Carwile of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Law enforcement authorities also initiated searches today in connection with the ongoing nationwide investigation of the Outlaws. Agents from the Detroit offices of the ATF, assisted by state and local law enforcement partners, executed a search warrant at the Outlaws Detroit Westside clubhouse. Searches were also conducted at several Outlaws locations in the state of Florida. The Outlaws Motorcycle Club has been identified as an international criminal organization whose members and associates engage in acts of violence including murder, attempted murder, assault, narcotics distribution, and firearms and gambling offenses. The Outlaws are a structured and hierarchical gang, divided into multiple regions in the United States. The Outlaws also have members worldwide, including Europe, Asia and Canada. The Outlaws have a long-standing violent history with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, including assaults/batteries, shootings and fatalities. "One of our top priorities at the Department of Justice is easing the grip of fear that gang violence brings to some communities," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "We have worked to achieve that through a partnership with state and local authorities that targets violent gangs, including the Outlaws, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, until the threat of gang-related violence is reduced. Detroit is already seeing the results of these partnerships and our efforts against violent criminals, and this important initiative will carry on to other communities as well." The Detroit indictment was the result of "Operation Broken Spoke," "Operation Detroit Mugger," and "Operation End Game," a five-year investigation by the ATF, the FBI, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), Michigan State Police, the Detroit Police Department, the South Bend (Ind.) Police Department, and the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Police Department. The 16 indicted leaders, members and gang associates of the Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Detroit Eastside, Detroit Westside, Downriver and Bay City Outlaws' chapters were charged with various crimes, including: violent crimes in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering; distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and hashish; being a felon in possession of a firearm; and sale of a firearm to a known felon. The Outlaws "Black Region" president, Leroy Frasier, who oversees the Michigan and Indiana Outlaws, was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The former Detroit Westside Chapter Sergeant of Arms/Enforcer, Edward Gallagher, was charged with selling a firearm to a known felon. Additionally, former Outlaw Westside Vice President William Merfert was charged as being in possession of a firearm following three prior felony convictions, a charge that carries a 15-year minimum mandatory term of imprisonment upon conviction. In addition, the following Michigan and Indiana Outlaws leaders, members and gang associates were indicted: -- Norman Box Jr., aka "Stormin' Norman" -- David Dorris, aka "Hoggs" -- Danny Neance, aka "Milky" -- Ramon Rios -- Bruce Wendel, aka "Big Bruce" -- William Elston, aka "Jason" -- Robert Castillo, aka "Big Rob" and "Mexican Rob" -- Michael Radke -- William Guinn, aka "Slick" -- Mark Guerra, aka "Skid Mark" -- Kenneth Creslaw, aka "KC" -- William Thomas McCowan, aka "Tom the Bomb"; and -- Kim Galaviz, aka "Moe" The 18-count indictment alleges that the Outlaws Motorcycle Club is an enterprise whose members allegedly committed, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence to protect and expand the gang's criminal operations. Several of the defendants were charged with allegedly assaulting various members of the rival Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, in some cases with dangerous weapons including a cane, a hammer, and motorcycle parts. Several defendants allegedly trafficked in the sale of drugs, including methamphetamine, marijuana, hashish and cocaine, while others were charged with various firearms offenses for either being a felon in possession of a handgun, or selling a firearm to a prohibited person. The indictment contains a criminal forfeiture allegation, which sets forth property, vehicles, motorcycles, weapons and currency that was either used to conduct or facilitate illegal activities, or which were proceeds from the Outlaws' criminal activities. "Today's indictment represents a significant step in the federal effort to dismantle the organized criminal enterprise allegedly operated by the Outlaws Motorcycle Club," said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy of the Eastern District of Michigan. "Any acts of violence and drug trafficking that are part of an organized criminal enterprise present a greater danger to society and must be addressed by the full weight of the federal government. I commend the excellent cooperation and hard work of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who conducted a careful and detailed investigation that led to the charges today." "ATF is pleased to announce that its investigation of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club has removed firearms, including fully automatic machine guns, silencers, and illegal drugs from the streets of Detroit," said Ronnie Carter, ATF Deputy Director. "ATF stands with you as you seek to serve and protect your communities. Today we are reinforcing the message that we will not tolerate armed gang violence and the drug trade that fuels it. We are warning gang members that ATF and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners will pursue them and bring them to justice as we make our communities safer.." "Dismantling violent gangs is one of the FBI's top priorities. This indictment is the direct result of joint efforts with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and we will continue to work diligently with our colleagues to investigate and eradicate America's street gangs and the violence they perpetrate," said Deputy Assistant Director Daniel D. Roberts, FBI Criminal Investigative Division. "Together we are committed to restoring safety and security to our nation's neighborhoods." The charges of violent crime in aid of racketeering carry maximum statutory sentences of up to 20 years in prison. The separate drug counts in the indictment carry various maximum statutory sentences, including up to 40 years in prison for distribution of cocaine and up to life in prison for the distribution of methamphetamine. Defendants also face various maximum sentences on the gun charges, such as a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison for possession of a firearm following three prior felony convictions. The Detroit case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane Marion and Julie Beck of the Eastern District of Michigan, and Trial Attorney Amy Sirignano and Bryan Reeves of the Criminal Division's Gang Squad in Washington, D.C. The Detroit case follows the arrest of 15 Outlaws members in Taunton, Mass. Thirteen individuals were charged by an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Massachusetts, while two were arrested on charges in a criminal complaint. "Operation Roadkill," announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston on July 31, 2007, was a two-year investigation by the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Brockton Police Department that resulted in federal charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. The indictment also charged the former president of the Taunton Outlaws with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The indictment alleges that Outlaws in Massachusetts engaged in violent criminal activities, including an ongoing war with the Hells Angels that resulted in a number of shootings and fatalities. Eighteen firearms were recovered during the execution of arrest warrants in connection with the Massachusetts indictment, including an AR-15 assault weapon and high-capacity rounds of ammunition. Agents recovered approximately $100,000 in connection with the investigation and also seized numerous vehicles. The FBI executed a search warrant at the Outlaws clubhouse in Taunton and recovered numerous weapons including machetes and knives, along with Outlaws paraphernalia and a large Nazi flag. In February 2006, Attorney General Gonzales unveiled an initiative to combat gang violence across the United States. The anti-gang strategy is designed to prioritize prevention programs to provide America's youth and offenders returning to the community with opportunities that help them resist gang involvement. The initiative also calls for robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence occurs, and expands the successful Project Safe Neighborhoods program to include new and enhanced anti-gang efforts. The law enforcement actions in Detroit, Massachusetts and Florida are the result of the Attorney General's anti-gang initiative and the joint strategic and priority targeting of violent street gangs by the ATF, the FBI, the National Gang Targeting, Enforcement and Coordination Center (GangTECC) and the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) and state and local law enforcement. The Criminal Division's Gang Squad, a specialized group of federal prosecutors charged with attacking the most significant regional, national and international gangs in the United States, assisted in this case and in the implementation of the Justice Department's initiatives to combat gang violence across the country. The public is reminded that the details contained within the indictment are simply allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice