FBI raids on Hells Angels chapters in North and South Carolina have provided authorities with a rare and eye-opening look into the inner-workings of a highly organized crime ring that promotes “a climate of fear through intimidation, violence and threats of violence.”
The Charlotte Observer reports that authorities seized cocaine, marijuana, methampethamines, pills, and about 100 fire arms, including two machine guns, in a raid Thursday on a Gaston County club headquarters in North Carolina.
“It is important to note that guns are off the street, drugs are off the street and dangerous people are off the street,” Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory said. “Those are the things we think are significant.”
Working with the local police departments, the FBI has stated that they hope to “send a clear message that such pervasive criminal activities will not be tolerated” within the organized biker gangs.
Reports also indicate that there were a total of 91 indictments within the South Carolina investigation, alleging that the York County-based Hells Angels group engaged in narcotics distribution, arson, trafficking in stolen property, money laundering, extortion, prostitution and firearms violations.
As reported by the Winston-Salem Journal, the indictment outlined a few details surrounding the gang. Here are the details:
• Chapter meetings are held regularly and referred to as “church.” Only members can attend.
• Membership is limited to white males. Members also have to own one or more American-made motorcycles – mostly Harley Davidsons.
• The chapter president has ultimate decision-making authority over activities and reports directly to regional officers of the Hells Angels. Representatives of Hells Angels chapters on the East Coast meet periodically in different states.
• Full members are called “full patch” – a reference to the members’ ability to wear the full Hells Angels three-piece patch on jackets and vests. The full patch includes the club emblem – a winged death head. It also includes the words “Hells Angels” and identifies the territory claimed by the club.
• Members also wear a diamond-shaped one-percenter patch reflecting the Hells Angels’ contention that its members are among the one percent of motorcyclists who are non-law-abiding outlaws.
According to authorities, the clubs follow a tightly controlled chain of command that includes a president, vice president, treasurer/secretary, and sergeant at arms/enforcer, as well as general members, WIS reports.
Seemingly straight from a Sons Of Anarchy episode, gang members also went by colorful nicknames such as “Rat,” “Lightning,” “Gravel Dave,” “Diamond Dan” and “Diesel.”