AFOSI briefs on outlaw motorcycle gangs

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

The 8th Field Investigations Squadron of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) conducted a briefing on outlaw motorcycle gangs June 9, 2016, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The briefing consisted of a background on all the major motorcycle gangs, what they deal in, and how to identify them. There are a total of 33,000 gangs in the United States today. Roughly 300 of those gangs consider themselves outlaw motorcycle gangs, approximately 2.5 percent.

“Most people would think that’s not a big deal, but it is because of the level of violence, they contribute to that number,” said Special Agent Alexa Garza, 8 FIS AFOSI.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs have been dubbed “one percenters,” a name traced back to 1947. Members of the "Pissed off Bastards" and the "Boozefighters" motorcycle clubs showed up in Hollister, California, for an annual race that ended up getting out of hand. Life” magazine published a story about the mishap which provoked the American Motorcyclists Association to denounce the boozed-up bikers. It assured worried citizens that 99 percent of its members were law-abiding citizens, thereby marginalizing the remaining “one percent" as outlaws.

“Is it really one percent that is actually involved with criminal activity? No, but this is a term that has been used, and the Department of Justice uses the same definition for one percent as outlaw motorcycle gangs. They don’t differentiate between the two,” said Garza.

These outlaw motorcycle gangs are violent and should be acknowledged as such. In March 2012 there was a shooting in the Sin City Deciples clubhouse where one person was killed and six people were arrested. Three of the individuals arrested were Fort Carson soldiers. In fact, at one point, Sin City Deciples was mostly made up of soldiers from Fort Carson.

“It is not illegal to be a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang, but you have to be aware that it’s not a matter of if your club gets caught doing something, it is a matter of when and if your name is associated to that club, it will not look good,” Garza said.

OMGs have targeted Department of Defense personnel in recruitment recently because of a similar structure. OMGs share a sense of loyalty, commitment and brotherhood much like the military does. Military members are valuable to OMGs because of their clean records and experience in how government works.

“They like the hierarchy and they like the chain of command type, which is reflected in the gangs,” said Garza.

There are a couple of motorcycle clubs out there that are exclusively military members, such as the Infidels and Special Forces. It is important to be mindful of association when looking into certain clubs and what they do. If they do something illegal, it will be assumed all members have knowledge of all of their criminal activity.

There are six top outlaw motorcycle gangs today, known mainly as “The Dominant Six”; Many of these OMGS are spread across the U.S. and deal in several types of violence. Bombing, murder, arson, drug smuggling, weapon trafficking, human trafficking and expanding their territory.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs are not foreign to the state of Colorado. Sons of Silence, who also likes to be known as Sons of Violence, were founded in 1966. They are one of the dominant six and their home state is right here in Colorado. According to Garza, “They have a very big presence here and they plan on expanding chapters to Pueblo and Canon City in the near future,” she said.

There are three chapters of outlaw motorcycle gangs local to Colorado Springs. Two belong to the Sons of Silence (Northern Colorado Springs/ Monument and Southern Colorado Springs), which are supported by two main sub groups; American Iron and Silent Warriors. Silent Warriors is made up of almost all active-duty personnel, according to Garza, and the other chapter belongs to the Sin City Deciples.

Because of its location in proximity to I-25 with events like Sturgis, the presence of these gangs is increasing here in Colorado Springs.

 “A lot of the outlaw motorcycle gangs will drive up I-25 and stop in Colorado Springs,” said Garza. “There are rumors that the Hells Angels are planning on expanding their chapters to Colorado Springs as well. Because of their lack of alliance here, there is expected to be a lot more conflict between the gangs,” she said.

There are many local events outlaw motorcycle gangs frequent, such as the Cripple Creek Salute to American Veterans Rally in August, which The Hells Angels are planning on using for opening a chapter in Colorado.

“The Colorado Springs Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence is very interested in the Hells Angels coming out to Colorado Springs, as well as the AFOSI. Their chapter expansion here would bring a whole new propensity of violence to the area. It is one of the CSVNI’s biggest concerns. Whenever the Hells Angels or a large group like that comes out, OSI has to be worried about how military members could get engaged and involved with the OMGs,” said Special Agent Ryan Cobb, 8th FIS AFOSI.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations wants to make sure all DOD personnel, especially motorcycle riders, remain vigilant. There will be a briefing June 30 that is open to all Schriever Air Force Base active-duty and civilian employees military and Department of Defense Civilian Contractors.

For further information, or if you have information concerning Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and their activities, you can reach the Schriever Air Force Base AFOSI at 567-5049.