Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tom Fugle: Founding member of El Forastero MC, dead at 75

Founding member of El Forastero Motorcycle Club and Bike Builder Tom Fugle died peacefully at his home yesterday in Sioux City, Iowa. He was only 75.

SIOUX, IOWA (December 18, 2016) — To many in the mainstream biker world, his name has no meaning but if you were in the Chopper scene in the 60's and 70's he was already a legend. His influence is forever engraved on the custom bike building world.

Tom bought a Harley dresser in 1961 for $800 bucks and turned it into a chopper, the bike only had 3,000 miles on it at the time. Tom built traditional old style choppers for his entire adult life.

Tom Fugle

Tom was very good friends with legendary biker artist Dave Mann, a fellow El Forastero MC member. Tom even delivered a eulogy at Mann’s funeral in 2004. 

Tom kept building the style of bikes integral to the chopper movement that he helped pioneer in the 60's and early 70's. In fact, Tom built the style of choppers that many today cite as inspirational and ground breaking at the time.

Tom rode an Evo later in life

Our condolences to his ole' lady, friend and companion Jennie DeCora, and his brothers in the El Forastero MC. Rest In Peace Tom Jerome Fugle, you taught us a lot.

A memorial service is planned at a later date, yet to be determined, according to Waterbury Funeral Service.

Friday, December 16, 2016

An 'Alleged' Mongols MC member arrested for wearing rings

He was the first to face Queensland's new anti-biker laws

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA  (December 15, 2016) — An alleged Mongols MC club member has become the first to face a charge under the State Government's reworked anti-biker laws, for wearing gold and diamond "biker rings".

Police intercepted a four-wheel-drive at Hamilton on Brisbane's north side early this afternoon, when they say they noticed a man wearing rings inscribed with "1%" and "Mongols".

They conducted a search of the car and found a Mongols-branded vest in his luggage.

The 44-year-old Brisbane man has been issued with a notice to appear in court next month for wearing a prohibited item in a public place.

Confiscated rings that the 'alleged' Mongol member was wearing

It is the first time a person has been charged under the new section of the Summary Offences Act 2005.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the new laws would further deter outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"My message to outlaw motorcycle gangs, or any crime group, is: if you commit a crime, the police will catch you and you will suffer the full force of the law," he said.

An unidentified Mongol MC member wearing illegal vest

Under the laws passed by the Newman government in 2013, it was illegal to wear bikie colours in a licenced premises and criminal gang members were not allowed to congregate in a public place.


Warlocks in Philadelphia 1972

Warlocks attend the 1972 Philadelphia Folk Festival

In the midst of Sunday’s festival activity, the Philadelphia Warlocks—roared up to the entrance gate to be surrounded at once by state police. Within a short time, festival co-chairman Bob Siegel and other cool heads on the security force negotiated the impasse to a compromise: Warlocks were allowed in free on the condition of non-destructive behavior and a promise to leave the grounds by 5 PM.—Amie Hill, Rolling Stone

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New York Police waging war against Hells Angels

"Now there’s hell to pay"...Cops said

NEW YORK, NY (December 12, 2016) — There’s an all-out war brewing between the Hells Angels and city cops — who swarmed the bikers’ clubhouse Tuesday as payback for refusing to help solve a shooting, police and witnesses said.

More than 30 cops stormed the East Village headquarters and slapped bikers with summonses for any minor infractions they could find, according to police.

“It was done just to mess with them,” one police source said. “They’re not cooperating with the investigation. If they’re gonna give us a hard time, we’re gonna give them a hard time.”

New York Police removing ramp with saw at the Hells Angels Clubhouse

The bikers — who have refused to answer cops’ questions about a shooting over a parking space in front of the clubhouse early Sunday — were slapped with at least three summonses, cops said.

They were ticketed for blocking the sidewalk with planters and failing to display license plates on motorcycles, which were covered with a protective sheet.

Cops also used a saw to cut away a metal ramp in front of the clubhouse and ripped out an outdoor bench.

Park bench in front of the Hells Angels Clubhouse

Police said they hassled the bikers to send them a message.

“We want them to feel our presence and to let them know we are here,” the source said. “They don’t own that block and they have no right to block parking spots for themselves. It’s a public street.”

The cop added, “They want to bring chaos and outrage into the community, [so] we are going to enforce the law and ensure they are following the rules.”

Meanwhile, the man shot in the gut, allegedly by one of the bikers, is terrified to work with police — possibly for fear of retribution from the motorcycle club, police said.

“All witnesses are afraid,” one police source said, adding they would likely still testify.

The victim, David Martinez, 25, was recovering from surgery Tuesday after a biker shot him for moving a parking cone — used to save a parking space outside the clubhouse — on East Third Street near First ­Avenue.

SOURCE: New York Post

Chopper Babe

A biker babe poses on a classic Harley-Davidson Panhead Chopper

Monday, December 12, 2016

Prospect shoots man outside Hells Angels clubhouse

Man moved cones to park in front of clubhouse

NEW YORK, NY (December 12, 2016) — A man was shot in the stomach Sunday morning after getting into an altercation with a group of Hells Angels over a parking space in front of their chapter office, authorities said.

David Martinez, 25, moved an orange cone that was used to save a parking space so he could move around a livery vehicle blocking the way, according to the New York Post.

The fight started when a member, wearing a jacket with the Hells Angels logo on it, told Martinez not to touch the cone.

Three other men who were in the Mercedes with Martinez got out of the vehicle. Then other bikers rushed out of the clubhouse and started to fight, police said.

A prospective member who was on the ground pulled out a gun and shot Martinez in the stomach, police said. The man is considered a prospective member because he was not wearing a Hells Angels patch on his jacket, police said.

Hells Angels MC Clubhouse in New York

This is not the first time that the cones have caused problems.
Neighbors complained about cones and saw horses blocking parking spaces in 1999, according to The New York Times.

Martinez was taken by friends to the hospital. He is in stable condition and his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Police are looking for three white men, believed to be riding motorcycles, in connection with the incident.

“No white man on a motorcycle has contacted me with respect to this incident,” Ron Kuby, a lawyer who has represented members of the club in the past.

Police on Sunday took the cones that they found, according to neighbors. 


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hells Angel member tricked police snitch

Drug transaction idea a ruse, Hells Angel MC member testifies 

SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA ( December 7, 2016) — A Hells Angel on trial in Saskatoon for one count of drug trafficking testified Wednesday he led a police informant on about the idea of a cocaine deal so he could continue receiving opioids to feed his addiction.

Rob Allen’s trial began Monday in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench after the 36-year-old was arrested as part of the January 2015 Project Forseti raids in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was one of 14 people arrested.

Noel Harder, who officially signed up to be a police snitch in the case in December 2014, testified during day one of the trial. He said in 2014 he and Allen were planning to move one kilogram of cocaine to Saskatoon from the Hells Angels MC in Ontario.

Harder would sell the cocaine, and although Allen would never be in direct contact with the drugs, he would receive a $5,000 cut, according to Harder.

Hells Angel member in Canada

When Allen took the stand Wednesday, he testified he had no intention of moving any cocaine to Saskatoon. He said Harder approached him about the deal. The ideas behind the price, suppliers and Allen’s cut came from Harder.

“He was constantly asking me to bring drugs in,” Allen said while under cross-examination.
He testified he went along with Harder’s plan because he feared losing his connection to receiving opioids.

Allen was prescribed OxyContin for a back injury in 2012 and eventually became addicted, he testified. He spent between $1,000 and $2,000 a month on OxyContin and Fentanyl, and bought it exclusively from Harder and two of Harder’s associates.

He shook the addiction after his arrest last year and is no longer dependent on opioids, he said. While Harder was under cross-examination, defense lawyer Morris Bodnar asked why it took about nine months to discuss a drug deal that didn’t happen.

Harder also said police instructed him to target about 30 people, including Allen and other Hells Angels members, in the Project Forseti investigation. At the time he was the vice-president of the Fallen Saints, a group police describe as a puppet club of the Hells Angels.

Harder said he was instructed numerous times by police to meet with Allen to discuss the cocaine deal. When they met, their conversations were being recorded, but other times Allen didn’t make himself available.

Text messages between Allen and Harder were also intercepted and Harder testified the two often spoke in code when discussing illegal activities. Allen said he was just humoring Harder, even going as far as writing on a sticky note the cocaine would arrive at a certain time on a certain day, which never happened.

Court also heard Harder was offered a $300,000 reward for his work in Project Forseti as well as a living allowance, which he still receives today.

News Channel Video

Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar said prosecutor Douglas Curliss spoke with Harder during breaks in proceedings Tuesday, which he argued is inappropriate.

Curliss asked Bodnar to apologize and withdraw the complaint Wednesday, citing case law saying it’s appropriate for a prosecutor to speak with a client outside of examination-in-chief.

While Bodnar did not apologize or withdraw the complaint, Justice Grant Currie ruled in Curliss’s favour, saying the prosecutor didn’t act inappropriately.

Cross-examination of Allen is expected to continue Thursday.

SOURCE: CTV Saskatoon

Long Dong Daddy

Long Dong Daddy From Cincinnati 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wanted Outlaw MC member turns himself in

Hillsborough County firefighter was a wanted man

TAMPA, FLORIDA (December 6, 2016) — A Hillsborough County firefighter wanted in connection to a Key West bar fight involving Outlaw Motorcycle Club members turned himself in Monday in Monroe County.

Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton was booked on a misdemeanor battery charge at a county jail site in Tavernier, a Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. Walker posted $3,000 bail and was released shortly after his arrest.

Walker was wanted by the Key West Police who say he and other Outlaws members beat up the manager and an employee at a downtown Key West bar called Rumor Lounge on Sept. 27.

A woman told officers the fight started after she got into argument with one of several men wearing shirts and jackets with the "Outlaws" logo, according to a police report.

Black vest with the Outlaws MC Colors

The arrest warrant, obtained by Key West police on Nov. 10, states Walker is a "confirmed active member" of the Outlaws, considered by authorities to be the state's dominant motorcycle club. It is strongest in South Florida but has chapters in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

According to the FBI, the Outlaws use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for crime, including trafficking in weapons and drugs.

After the warrant was issued, Walker was placed on paid administrative leave from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

His attorney, Jerry Theophilopoulos, did not immediately return messages Tuesday.

NOTE: After Walker's arrest, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill outlined a new policy effective immediately barring membership in groups or clubs considered criminal organizations by the state or federal government. The list includes the Outlaws.

Proud Dude

A very proud dude showing off his homegrown potted plant

Snitch testifies against Hells Angels Member

Police snitch testifies at Project Forseti trial for Hells Angels member

SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA ( December 5, 2016) — A drug dealer turned police snitch took the stand Monday for the first time in connection with Project Forseti, a months-long drug investigation that targeted the Hells Angels and Fallen Saints Motorcycle Clubs in Saskatoon.

Snitch Noel Harder told the court he arranged to get a kilogram of cocaine from Robert Allen, a full-patch Hells Angels member who is on trial, accused of trafficking cocaine between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, 2014.

Some of the confiscated items during the bust

In his opening statement, federal prosecutor Doug Curliss said with Harder’s help, police intercepted text messages and recorded conversations between Harder and Allen. The information proves Allen offered to get large amounts of cocaine from Hells Angels associates in Ontario and give the product to Harder to distribute, Curliss said.

When speaking in person, the men often used hand signals to describe the drug deal because Allen was paranoid about being recorded, Harder testified. That’s why many of the audio recordings have gaps in the conversation, he said.

A Fallen Saints MC vest along side a Hells Angels MC vest sits as evidence  

Harder said they would write notes that would be ripped up and flushed down the toilet, and code language was often used in text messages.

Curliss asked Harder about a text message in which Allen mentioned a “moving guy” he paid to “move” to Saskatoon who didn’t show up when expected. Harder said what Allen actually meant was that the cocaine never came because the transport person disappeared.

Although the drug transaction never happened, offering to sell drugs is still a crime, Curliss noted in his opening remarks.

Court heard Allen offered to sell cocaine to Harder at a cheaper price while taking a $5,000 cut from every kilogram that was sold.

Curliss said the discussions around this arrangement took place “over a significant period of time.” On the stand, Harder decoded messages that used construction lingo to describe the cocaine deal and sports references to talk about Oxycodone pills that Harder sold Allen.

He also described moments in the audio recordings when he or Allen would use hand signals. The motion of dealing cards referred to the drug deal, and drawing a rectangle in the air indicated a block of cocaine, he said.

Rob Allen beside his Harley - Davidson Motorcycle

Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar argued Harder’s notes — which filled in the gestures — should not be admissible because there’s no way to prove they took place. Justice Grant Currie ruled he would decide how much weight to give the evidence after the trial is over.

Harder said Allen initially approached him to start a “support group” for the Hells Angels after the Outlaws Motorcycle Club started gaining traction in the drug trade. The Fallen Saints Motorcycle Club was formed and Harder became vice-president.

That led to discussions about trafficking cocaine, which began when Harder was still in the drug businesses, the trial heard. He agreed to become a police snitch after he was busted with guns in March 2014, but he didn’t become an official rat snitch until Sept. 20, 2014.

Classy Biker Girl

A very real ole' lady from the golden age of Easy Rider Magazine

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Feds warn of increase of Outlaw Bikers in Florida

“We've seen them Outlaw Bikers riding colors with their jackets on. 

MARATHON, FL ( December 3, 2016)The FBI warned local law enforcement last month that Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs are increasing their presence in South Florida, especially in the Keys.

And their presence has been particularly noticed at popular Motorcycle events like the Peterson Poker Run, held annually throughout the island chain in September.

“We’ve seen in the last couple of years, during events like the Peterson Poker Run, an increase in Outlaw Bikers participating,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We've seen them Outlaw Bikers riding colors with their jackets on. Historically, you haven’t seen that.”

“Colors” for motorcycle clubs generally are a three-part arrangement of patches depicting the club name and its location.

The FBI in November sent a memo to Keys law enforcement agencies stating that various Motorcycle Clubs are trying to gain territory in South Florida. The Outlaws MC, regarded as the dominant Motorcycle Club in the region, likely would respond by making efforts to increase its presence and influence, according to the memo.

A member of the Black Pistons MC and Outlaws MC at an event

Ramsay said the document warned of an increased incidence of Outlaw Motorcycle Club activity in the Keys, and that there could be “conflicts between club members.”

“The information put out was an FYI and to be aware and mindful,” Ramsay said.

Nora Scheland, an FBI spokeswoman, declined to comment on the warning.

City of Key West Police Department Chief Donald J. Lee said that his department also received information about Outlaw Biker Clubs would take part in the Poker Run, but he would not elaborate on which agency shared the intelligence.

“We are constantly sharing intelligence information with other law enforcement agencies, but, in the interest of public safety, do not disclose active intelligence information,” Lee said.

“As far as shared information regarding Outlaw Biker activity, we were made aware both before and during the Poker Run, that there was a chance biker gangs would be in attendance,” Lee said. “This is not the first year they’ve come to the Keys for Poker Run, by any means.”

Ramsay said life for Motorcycle Club members has changed over the years. No longer are the organizations’ membership made up solely of men whose only job is in the club.

“It used to be that groups like the Outlaws and the Pagans were made up of guys whose sole job was being involved in criminal enterprises,” Ramsay said. “They didn’t have day jobs.”

Now, he said members have “dual roles, dual lives. They’re trying to blend into two different societies.”

Indeed, a member of the Outlaws MC involved in a barroom brawl in Key West during the Poker Run in September also is a Hillsborough County firefighter.

“A lot of them are just bad guys,” Ramsay said. “But others are also firefighters or something else, riding with their friends.”

Sentence of former Pagans MC National Prez overturned

Court overturns conviction, sentence of former leader of Pagans MC

WESTMORELAND, PA ( December 3, 2016) —  Police can't use a single search warrant to repeatedly send a wired informant into someone's home, a state appeals court ruled Friday in overturning the conviction and sentence of the former head of the Pagans Motorcycle Club.

The ruling effectively suppresses all the evidence in the state's prosecution of Dennis “Rooster” Katona, 50, said Katona's lawyer, Paul Boas. While the Superior Court order remands the case back to Westmoreland County for a new trial, it's more likely the state will appeal the decision, he said.

“If they choose not to appeal, the case is over,” Boas said.
Katona could ask a judge to release him on bail pending any appeal. He is serving 40 to 80 months in prison for his 2014 conviction on drug charges.

“I fully anticipate we will file an appeal,” said deputy state Attorney General Michael M. Ahwesh, who prosecuted the case.

The state has two appeal options — requesting a new hearing before a nine-judge panel of the Superior Court or requesting a hearing before the state Supreme Court.

Dennis “Rooster” Katona

In a 2-1 ruling, judges Kate Ford Elliott and Jacqueline O. Shogan said a 1994 Supreme Court decision requires a judge to approve a search warrant when a wire informant enters someone's home as opposed to meeting them on the street, in a car or in a restaurant.

Based on that decision and subsequent state law, “a separate finding of probable cause was required for each in-home intercept.”

Judge Eugene B. Strassburger disagreed. He said requiring police to seek a judge's approval each time they sent the informant into the home would be a burden and the judge approving the order should be able to set the warrant's timeframe.

Most constitutional protections, including the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures, are supposed to be “burdensome,” Boas said. It is burdensome to get a warrant, read a suspect the Miranda warnings, pick a jury and hold a trial, he said.

“This is a democracy,” Boas said. “It's not supposed to be easy. We're in big trouble the day law enforcement stops complaining about how hard it is for them.”

SOURCE: Trib Live

Friday, December 2, 2016

Large Haul

A very happy Club Member celebrating life and showing off his haul 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hells Angel MC member arrested in Santa Rosa sex assault

Was past president of the Sonoma County, California Chapter

SANTA ROSA, CA ( November 29, 2016) — A Hells Angels MC member will be arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman and threatening her husband.

Raymond Michael Foakes, 53, of Rohnert Park, called the woman around 11 p.m. Saturday and told her to meet him at the Hells Angels clubhouse off Frazier Avenue in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The 49-year-old Santa Rosa woman learned her husband was about to be stripped of his membership

The Hells Angels Clubhouse being raided by SWAT in Sonoma County

The woman agreed and Foakes ordered her to drive them in her car to a secluded area off Bennett Valley Road, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her against her will and threatened to harm her husband if she refused, Crum said.

After the alleged assault, Foakes drove the woman’s car back to the Hells Angels’ clubhouse, where he got out of the car and the victim went home, Crum said.

Foakes knows the woman’s husband, who also is associated with the Hells Angels, according to Crum.

The woman reported the assault to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which obtained a search warrant for Foakes’ home in Rohnert Park. The sheriff’s SWAT unit went to the house around 6:30 p.m. Monday but Foakes was not home, Crum said.

Foakes was later arrested at a meeting he was attending off Airway Drive in Santa Rosa, Crum said.

Foakes was booked into Sonoma County Jail under $1 million bail on suspicion of sexual assault, victim intimidation, stalking and gang participation, Crum said.

Raymond Michael Foakes, 53, a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in Santa Rosa (pictured), was arrested Monday on suspicion of sexual assault, victim intimidation, stalking and gang participation.

Foakes was a past president of the Sonoma County Hells Angels. He had formerly served prison sentences for a variety of offenses ranging from a 2002 brawl with a rival motorcycle club at a casino in southern Nevada in which three people died, to fraud and money laundering.

Federal agents had previously raided the Santa Rosa Hells Angels headquarters in 2006 to search for him during a Bay Area-wide FBI manhunt before he turned himself in to face methamphetamine possession and distribution charges

All in Fun

Members of the Vagos MC in Southern California jesting another member 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Robert the builder tells of life inside a Finks MC chapter

Ex member now fears for his life after snitching to cops

RINGWOOD, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA ( November 27, 2016) —A MAN who made the mistake of hanging out with a Motorcycle Club has given a terrifying account into life inside the Finks MC clubhouse.

Builder Robert Bolsdon claims he got mixed up with the Finks after he agreed to do some work for at a warehouse that just happened to be the club’s Ringwood chapter headquarters.

He appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court last week via video link where four of his former buddies are accused of a conspiracy to bash him, among other offences.

Mr Bolsdon claimed he built a nice stage, a bar and installed a stripper pole but never got around to finishing the toilet and shower.

Inside, club supporters would pay $100 a month for the privilege of drinking with members — paying $5 a drink no matter what they ordered.

The Finks Motorcycle Club was formed in 1969 in Adelaide, Australia 

The “prospects” would run the bar, open the clubhouse gates for fully patched members and generally behave as servants, Mr Bolsdon said. It could take years before a prospect earned their full patch.

Full patched members would fork out $250 a month to wear the patch, and fees were to be paid no matter what.

Mr Bolsdon said chapter president John Napolitano would control the visitors “like a cult” and allegedly order club members to bash members or prospects.

Violent outbursts and random beatings were common on Friday nights, where up to 50 people would gather to get drunk, Mr Bolsdon said.

The victims were usually blow-ins, who foolishly thought it might be fun to drink with the Finks.

“They always waited until these people were drunk then laid into them,” Mr Bolsdon said. “I don’t know why they did it.”

Former member Caleb Hardwick said one member would bash people he simply did not like the look of. Friday was also the night where club members would hold their “church” meetings.

Mr Hardwick alleged everything from member fees to planning crimes would be discussed there. Like Mr Bolsdon, the Finks had plans to bash him, too, after he quit the club without paying his $10,000 exit fee or handing over his patch and motorcycle.

Mr Bolsdon, who went on club rides dressed as a fully patched member, said things went bad for him after he made the mistake of asking to be paid for the renovations he’d made to the clubhouse.

Police remove a Motorcycle from the Finks Clubhouse in Ringwood, Australia 

He was assaulted and alleged members blew up his car.

Mr. Hardwick stopped attending church meetings. In October last year, he said he wanted out, and then he left without paying. Instead, he ratted on his former mates to police and now lives a life of fear.

Finks members will appear in court throughout next week as a part of Victoria Police’s Operation Irrevocable.

Bar Hopping

Good Times - Getting out and bar hopping with the ole' ladies 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ex-Outlaw MC leader speaks out, predicts trouble with Hells Angels

“God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t.”

CHICAGO, IL ( November 26, 2016) —That’s the motto of the Outlaws motorcycle club, formed in the Chicago area in 1935, now with chapters and thousands of members around the world.

But the former Outlaws leader says the group isn’t nearly as fearsome or dominant as it used to be in Illinois.

“The times have changed,” says Peter “Big Pete” James, 62, who lives in the west suburbs. “Somehow, there’s no testosterone out there.”

Peter "Big Pete" James, former leader of the Outlaws motorcycle club in the Chicago area

James hung up his Outlaws vest — black leather with a skull and crossed pistons patch — last year amid an internal dispute with other local leaders and his own ongoing fight with cancer.

Contrary to the biker rumor mill, James isn’t returning to the fray, he told the Sun-Times. His wide-ranging interview was unusual because so-called “1-percenter” bikers generally are loath to talk publicly about their business.

Watching from the sidelines, James says that maybe the biggest indication his old club is slipping involves the rise of the rival Hells Angels motorcycle club, which he believes is poised to overtake the Outlaws as the big-dog biker group in the Chicago area — an unthinkable development not long ago.

He predicts — but insists he isn’t advocating — renewed conflict between the two groups resulting from the shifting dynamic.

An attorney for the Outlaws responds only, “There wouldn’t be any comment at this time.” The Hells Angels didn’t respond to inquiries.

“Big” Pete James

Back in the 1990s, the Outlaws and Hells Angels — both which have weathered intense federal prosecutions and allegations they’re nothing more than gangs on wheels involved in drug dealing and mayhem — were locked in “war” in Chicago, as the Hells Angels made a foray into the region, the Outlaws’ long-established turf.

After a series of bombings, shootings and stabbings, the rival clubs formed a fragile truce. The Hells Angels, formed in 1948 in California, gave up their attempt to put a clubhouse within the Chicago city limits and, instead, planted a flag in Harvey, remaining there today.

Since then, the Outlaws have maintained a stronghold in Chicago, with a South Side clubhouse at 25th and Rockwell and a North Side clubhouse on Division Street. It also has several other chapters in northern Illinois.

As regional vice president, James had domain over all of them and also was president of the North Siders. In all, he says there were maybe 100 hard-core members in northern Illinois.
But James says smart moves by the Hells Angels — plus waves of prosecutions, poor leadership by some current Outlaws and changing times and attitudes — have changed things.

For one, James says local Outlaws are less willing to take orders from the top.

“It used to be the boss’ word was law,” he says. “He says, ‘Ride off the cliff,’ and guys would ride off a cliff. The quality of the members has gone down.”

Fear of prison has also had an impact on some local club leaders, according to James, who’s critical of his old group for not being “entrepreneurial.”

Unlike the Outlaws, Hells Angels members are Internet-savvy, with the group’s local Facebook page accumulating more than 29,000 “likes” and the club selling T-shirts and other merchandise on its website.

The Hells Angels also have made money by holding parties at its Harvey clubhouse and at bars in the Chicago area, according to James, who says the club welcomes “civilians” and members of smaller biker clubs to their parties.

“The Outlaws are losing out on the party money,” he says, along with the chance to market themselves and gain supporters.

Chicago-area law enforcement officials periodically have cracked down on both clubs. They say they’ve been preoccupied with other groups in recent years — especially the African-American gang factions behind Chicago’s staggering 50 percent rise in murders this year.

It was more than a decade ago when federal authorities charged Melvin Chancey, the former president of the Chicago-area Hells Angels, with racketeering and drug trafficking.

Melvin Chancey, then 29 and president of the Chicago chapter of the Hells Angels in 1998 

The last major Chicago law-enforcement crackdown of the Outlaws was more than five years ago. Chicago Outlaws member Mark Polchan was convicted of orchestrating a 2003 bombing outside C & S Coin Operated Amusements, a video-poker business in Berwyn that reputed mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno wanted to destroy to protect his own gambling interests. The pipe bomb blew out windows and damaged the building.

Polchan, who also was accused of fencing stolen jewelry for the mob at his Cicero pawnshop, was sentenced in 2011 to 60 years in federal prison.

James describes Polchan as his one-time “confidant” and says, “I love him.”

He says he has continued to receive occasional visits from federal agents looking for information on the biker world that he says he’s unwilling to give. “I try to be polite, to a point,” he says.

He figures his former club isn’t engaged in criminal activity at the same level as in the old days. Drug dealing, he says, worries graying members who don’t want to face a prison stretch lasting decades.

Even if things seem more low-key, though, “It doesn’t mean there’s not violence,” James says. “It’s just not as flagrant.”

But there have been reports of Outlaws roughing up members of weaker Hispanic biker clubs in the Chicago area since James left. The apparent aim: to force them to ally more closely with the Outlaws, which has long enjoyed a “support system” from other clubs.

James says there’s nothing wrong with building alliances, but it’s stupid to enlist “Neanderthal” methods, adding, “They’re not thinking it through.”

“Big” Pete James’ motorcycle

James says that when he was in charge, he created a confederation of dozens of biker clubs, part of an effort “to change the stereotype.”

He says the TV show “Sons of Anarchy,” which aired on FX from 2008 to 2014, popularized but also caused headaches for “1-percenter” biker clubs — so-called for representing the 1 percent of bikers supposedly involved in crime.

“I watched the show,” he says, laughing. “It was like an Outfit guy watching ‘The Sopranos.’ Kind of a joke.”

Fans of the show about a criminal biker group in California formed their own clubs and made pilgrimages to the Outlaws clubhouse on Division Street to ask James to “sanction” them. James says he refused to avoid giving the feds a reason to charge him with racketeering.

He says those newbies might dress the part and ride around on Harleys but don’t share 1-percenters’ “toughness.”

Jay Dobyns got a firsthand look at the 1-percenter lifestyle when he infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona as an undercover ATF agent in the early 2000s.

“These guys are not book smart but have their Ph.Ds in violence and intimidation,” says Dobyns, now retired and living in Arizona. “I think the term ‘brotherhood’ is very easily thrown around in today’s society. We hear it and use it a lot. They take it to a life-and-death level. When I was with the club, there were guys who would have stepped in front of a bullet for me. Now, they want to put a bullet in me.”

Dobyns says he crossed paths with Chancey — “one of the true believers that the elimination of the enemy was a critical part of the mission, the survival of their own club. In that area, the enemy was the Outlaws.”

The continued animosity between the Hells Angels and Outlaws makes James’ recent friendship with George Christie an unlikely one. Christie is a former high-ranking Hells Angels leader who left the group in 2011 and was “excommunicated.”

Christie and James both have appeared on CNN to offer their expertise on biker life and both wrote books on the subject — James’ memoir is expected to be released next year.

James says the main reason he wrote the book was to show how far things have slipped in what he regards as a once-noble brotherhood and to spur change in leadership and attitudes among the Outlaws in Illinois.

“It used to be guys banded together who believed in something, and they had fun,” James says. “There’s no brotherhood left in the Outlaws any more.”

He says the Outlaws in Chicago have a choice to make as their rival grows and encroaches.

“The choice is fight or flight,” he says. “They know the Angels will push them out of town. Who’s going to light the match?”

James says he won’t be on the front lines if that happens. Last year, he had his “God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t” tattoo covered up with a new design.

“I’m borderline ashamed already to say I was once one,” he says.