In a huge sweep which marks the second such sweep of motorcycle club members in ten days, forty-one members and associates of a Michigan motorcycle gang were indicted and accused of crimes ranging from murder, drug dealing and illegal gambling, and the authorities say those crimes stretched back as far as 20 years.
Most of those defendants, allegedly members of the Devil’s Diciples Motorcycle Club, were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit. A document which reaches to 38 counts and spans some 83 pages named Jeff Garvin “Fat Dog” Smith, 57 (the national president of the club since the 1980s) and Paul Anthony “Pauli” Darrah, 47, (the national vice president of the Devil’s Diciples since 2004) as principals in the investigation.
As part of the indictment, the feds cite 300 instances which they say are proof that members of the DD dealt methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription drugs, operated illegal slot machines, committed violent crimes and engaged in obstruction of justice.
“The Devil’s Diciples have spread fear in cities throughout Michigan and around the country,” said assistant federal Attorney General Breuer. “This violent criminal enterprise allegedly profits from drug trafficking and illegal gambling, and uses intimidation and violence to silence its adversaries and maintain control over its members. The arrests of the Devil’s Diciples top leaders and 39 of the gang’s members and associates are an important step in our efforts to dismantle violent criminal enterprise across the country.”
The Devil’s Diciples headquarters is located on Gratiot Avenue in Macomb Township, Michigan. The clubhouse is set back from the road. The Devil’s Diciples have chapters located in Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in addition to four Michigan charters.
The list of crimes allegedly committed by club members is long.
The Authorities say eighteen of the defendants were involved in racketeering activities since the early 1990s and committed various offenses – and they were some heavy offense indeed – throughout that period of time as well. How heavy? How about murder, robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, kidnapping and bribery. The murders mentioned in the indictment were allegedly committed during mid-90s in Michigan, Indiana and Arizona.
The Man says “Fat Dog” Smith beat up the girlfriend of one club member, Danny Burby, Jr., in August of 2008 after they say Burby was accused talking club business with her and a dispute over a club ring. Burby was also the subject of a flyer which named him as a “snitch,” and authorities say that led to the theft of Burby’s motorcycle in February of that year. Early in 2009, the Feds say the club tasked members Ronald “Rockin’ Ronnie” Roberts, Christopher “Damien” Cook and Wayne Werth to attack Burby with box cutters and a bottle at the Lighthouse Tavern.
Of those arrested, the cops say twenty-three of the defendants are charged with manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and hydrocodone. The indictment includes the allegation that the club operated a meth lab.
Back in 2009, the Justice Department hauled Smith and 17 other Michigan club members in for allegedly selling drug, operating illegal gambling, various assaults and insurance fraud. During that sweep, federal agents hauled in 42 guns, some 3,000 rounds of ammunition, $12,000 in cash, the illegal slot machines and illegal drugs which they took from the group’s clubhouse.
Those indictments and related charges were eventually dropped.
This time around, the cases are being handled by the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.