Outlaw or “one-percent” motorcycle gangs have been a scourge to the federal government since the 1960s. To this day, there are formidable motorcycle clubs (MCs) on both coasts, and one-percenters run drugs across the Canadian and Mexican border. Though Americans have long mythologized biker culture with the help of books like Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels and television shows like Sons of Anarchy, outlaw motorcycle clubs continue to play a very real roll in American organized crime.
In the past few years, we’ve seen major stings that yielded charges of drug trafficking, racketeering, and contract killing for motorcycle gang members. Former ATF agent Jay Dobyns’ book about infiltrating the Hells Angels, No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels was published in 2009, and Dobyns was the target of harassment from clubs as recently as 2008. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are alive and well in the U.S., and the federal government continues to battle their influence. Learn the basics with The 10 Most Dangerous Motorcycle Gangs in America.
Territory: Eastern Seaboard (Mother Chapter in Orlando, Florida)
Approximate membership: 300
The Warlocks have such a nasty reputation that even many of their fellow MCs won’t associate with them. The gang has a history of extreme and wanton violence: They have been known to commit crimes such as assaulting rival gang leaders and indiscriminately killing police officers.
The Warlocks are very active in Pennsylvania and Florida, and if you are familiar with drug culture of either state, it won’t surprise you to hear that they are big into meth. One high-level member of the gang was caught with 10 pounds of crystal the same year that four Warlocks were arrested for selling 500 pounds of crank.
Territory: Detroit (with several chapters scattered throughout the Midwest and South)
Approximate membership: 200
Centralized in Detroit, the modest ranks of The Highwaymen would be no match for larger gangs like the Hells Angels or the Outlaws. But, throughout their history, the Highwaymen have brought their far share of crime to Motor City. A 2007 raid resulted in the arrest of forty Highwaymen on charges as diverse as mortgage fraud, cocaine trafficking, and murder for hire.
Black Pistons Motorcycle Club
Territory: Scattered across the U.S.
Approximate membership: 200
Sometimes, larger gangs form “support clubs,” which exist solely to take on the dirty work that even a one-percent gang won’t touch. The Black Pistons are the support club for the much larger Outlaws MC. Black Pistons deal drugs and rough up enemies on behalf of the Outlaws. Support clubs often cause a lot of tension when they move into new turf; when a Black Pistons chapter moves into a new city, violent clashes with existing gangs usually come with them.
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