Top 10 Most Dangerous Motorcycle Gangs
What differentiates a motorcycle club or organization from a group of deadly outlaws? According to the United States Department of Justice, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (or OMGs) “…are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking.”
After extensively researching the most notable and dangerous of these OMGs, I found myself yelling “OMG!!” more than a few times. Much like hit franchises such as The Sopranos seemed to somewhat romanticize and humanize mafia leaders and members, the same has happened for Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. The FX hit series Sons of Anarchy revolved storylines around the members and families of a motorcycle gang. Although SOA didn’t shy away or gloss over the components of killing, drugs and other crimes that make these types of motorcycle gang members “outlaws,” the antiheroes of the series along with the wives, girlfriends and other family members that were regular fixtures in each episode made the idea of gangs both compelling and sympathetic. Rather than reel back in fear while watching these gangsters hop on their “hogs” on SOA, audiences of the series would feel sympathy and connection to all of the characters, which are so deftly portrayed by the sensational actors making up the cast.
That is all well and good as far as entertainment goes, but we must remember that one keyword—entertainment. The reality of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs is a dark one that does not offer room for sympathy, except for the rolodex of victims who have been killed by leaders and gang members, and the young naive individuals who are vetted and recruited into these gangs only to become entrenched in a life of violence, crime and—if they aren’t killed first—years or life sentences within the prison system.
The history of motorcycle gangs stretches back all the way to the 1930s, and various chapters of the most notorious and dangerous are still regular fixtures in headlines, as members and leaders continue to perpetuate the gangs’ legacies of crime, violence and drugs. Below are the ten most dangerous motorcycle gangs to ever exist. A majority of these are listed as OMGs by the US Department of Justice save for The Warlocks. However, their absence on the US Department of Justice does not take away from the danger this gang poses to society. The gang members’ frequent appearance in headlines for murder and drugs is evidence of how much this group continues to thrive and further a lineage of criminal activity.
In fact, let’s elaborate on this fact right now, as The Warlocks mark the number 10 spot on our list.
10. The Warlocks
The Warlocks motorcycle club was established in 1967 and remains one of the most feared and prominent motorcycle gangs in America. Exclusive to only white males, the gang has a reputation for extreme violence and brutality.They also are known for their perpetuation of the drug culture in America, with several members having been caught transporting things like crystal meth and crank.
The group continues to make headlines today. In what was a surprise to many, former Warlock member Paul Smith recently received a “not guilty” verdict for a 2012 shooting, but continued to have upcoming court dates for drug charges, and several other members make headlines for being involved in drug-related incidents, manslaughter and murders or attempted murders.
9. The Bandidos
The Bandidos are concentrated mostly in Texas, but have a widespread influence with over 2,000 members and a presence that has been felt in 16 states and 14 countries. The patch for the gang depicts a cartoon of someone wearing a sombrero (they smuggle drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border like it’s their job…well, I guess it kind of is…) and holding both a pistol and a machete, because clearly one weapon is never enough.
As recently as March 2015, police arrested two members of this vitriolic gang for a brothel assault. According to ABC Australia, “[Members] Blair John Kelly and Daniel William Rugg, entered a brothel on Hunter Street on Sunday morning and allegedly assaulted the 61-year-old male owner and threatened him with a knife. The owner’s nose was broken and he was taken to hospital.”
In January 2015, eight members (eight!) were indicted for drug trafficking within the Denver-metro area. According to Fox 31 Denver, “Officials seized approximately two and half pounds of meth with a street value $40,000, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s office.”
The report named Philip Duran as one of the Bandidos’ leaders and key player in the drug trafficking ring. He remained at large at the time of the Fox 31 report, but a subsequent report from ABC 7 provided an update on Jan. 28 that Duran had in fact been arrested.
If Breaking Bad didn’t teach you a lesson about the dangers and detriments of crystal meth, hopefully this adds a cautionary tale. Bottom line—don’t do drugs, kids! Oh, and don’t sell them either.
8. The Highwaymen
The Highwaymen are a gang based in Detroit, Michigan with approximately 200 members and were established in 1954. Their insignia depicts a skeleton donning a leather jacket, motorcycle cap and wings, which is not terrifying at all and yes, that last statement was dripping with sarcasm.
The aging group experienced their greatest notoriety in 2007 when a “…raid resulted in the arrest of forty Highwaymen on charges as diverse as mortgage fraud, cocaine trafficking, and murder for hire.”
The Highwaymen, however, have not remained as prominent in headlines as other motorcycle gangs still active today. Perhaps this is because, after so many years of notoriety, arrests and aging leadership has led the gang to surpass its proverbial expiration date.
7. Sons of Silence
The Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club was established in 1966 and is based out of Colorado. With only 300 members, they are a smaller network of bikers, but don’t let the lack of number fool you—they are one of the deadliest and most tenacious motorcycle gangs in existence.
Due to a litany of turf wars, the Sons of Silence built a heavy arsenal of deadly weapons like machine guns, grenades and pipe bombs. This arsenal was discovered in 1999 when the group was raided, resulting in the arrests of 37 members for drug trafficking and illegal weapons charges.
More recently, three chapters of the gang were dismantled. According to a report from the Denver Post, “More than 250 law enforcement agents ‘dismantled’ three local chapters of the Sons of Silence motorcycle gang [in October 2014], arresting 39 members and seizing dozens of guns…Beginning just after dark Thursday, SWAT teams made up of federal and local agents spread out to 25 locations in Colorado Springs, Commerce City and Fort Collins…Two undercover federal agents infiltrated the motorcycle gang and spent two years documenting illegal drug and gun transactions that culminated with the raids. Agents seized 48 weapons, including 24 fully automatic machine guns, four hand grenades, four pipe bombs and handmade grenades, $25,000 in cash, 10 pounds of methamphetamine, a silencer, eight Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the gang’s two clubhouses, at 941 S. Conejos St. in Colorado Springs and 8241 Brighton Road in Commerce City.”
On one message board someone alleging to be formerly involved with the Sons of Silence spoke of the dangers of associating with the gang, writing, “I use to ride and went to rallys where these sons of silence guys were and let me just say don’t piss them off. These guys will drop you in river and never think twice. I haven’t seen any in southeast Missouri in awhile but these guys mean business.”
6. The Pagan’s Motorcycle Club or The Pagans
The Pagan’s Motorcycle Club originated as a non-violent club when it was founded by Lou Dobbin in 1959. It wasn’t until it was take over in the 1970s by John “Satan” Marron that the group fell into the same ranks as other violent motorcycle gangs with a penchant for drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime.
According to Complex, “The FBI views the Pagan’s as an incredibly dangerous organization, largely due to their connections with gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood and the Italian Mafia. Members of the Pagan’s are regularly tied to arson, bombings, and murders, and one of the gang’s favorite hobbies is stockpiling machine guns.”
As far as recent headlines go, a January 2015 report from TribLive noted that one of the group’s former leaders, Dennis “Rooster” Katona, has been seeking to have a conviction overturned in which “police searched his home and found cocaine and methamphetamine valued at about $20,000…” Katona is claiming that the search of his home was “illegal”. He is currently serving an 80-month sentence in prison for the charges.