Saturday, July 14, 2012
U.S. Attorney Announces Largest Federal Organized Crime Prosecution in Indianapolis History
Earlier this week, more than 300 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, including 11 different SWAT teams, simultaneously converged on more than a dozen locations across Indianapolis. In a matter of hours, 42 arrest warrants and 17 search warrants were successfully executed without incident or serious injury. It was the largest combined federal-local operation in Indianapolis history.
This afternoon, joined by these law enforcement partners, United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced the arrest and federal indictment of 42 Indianapolis-based members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (OMC), an international criminal organization alleged to have operated out of a clubhouse located at 305 Jefferson Avenue, on the near-eastside of Indianapolis.
“If you are operating an organized criminal gang in this city, the clock is ticking,” Hogsett said. “It might be tomorrow, it might be weeks from now, but it is only a matter of time before you wake up to the sound of law enforcement at your door.”
In the seventy page, 37-count charging document unsealed this morning, it is alleged that beginning in May 2009, members of Indianapolis OMC engaged in organized criminal activity in Indianapolis and across the state. The indictment charges the 42 alleged gang members with a wide variety of offenses, including racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, drug charges, wire fraud, witness tampering, and operating an illegal gambling operation.
“For more than three years, a volatile mixture of guns, drugs, and motorcycles allegedly fueled a dangerous criminal organization in Indianapolis as sophisticated as any business in this city,” Hogsett added. “This morning, we closed down that business for good.”
“This enterprise-based investigation and today’s takedown focused on disrupting and dismantling what the indictment alleges to be a violent, criminal outlaw motorcycle gang by targeting its senior leaders and key members,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Allan Jones. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and our partner agencies are committed to making the streets of Indiana safer by the disruption and dismantlement of gangs like the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.”
Examples of alleged criminal activities include numerous instances in which OMC members used violence and the threat of force to collect personal debts from individuals in Indianapolis and elsewhere. The members are also alleged to have operated an illegal lottery scheme in Indianapolis that trafficked in thousands of dollars a day.
Additionally, the indictment describes an alleged March 2010 scheme in which members of OMC allegedly recruited and paid an individual to purposely drive a U-Haul truck into the rear of a vehicle containing numerous OMC members, all of whom then filed insurance claims totaling tens of thousands of dollars. In other instances, OMC members are alleged to have hidden the vehicles of other OMC members so as to allow them to collect auto insurance claims for their supposedly stolen vehicles.
Defendants named within the indictment include:
Joshua N. Bowser, age 32
Kent D. Whitinger, age 49
James W. Bain, age 50
Dominic R. Mangine, age 71
Michael A. Schlicher, age 38
Stephen M. Whitinger, age 57
Lawrence Gregory, age 47
Stephen D. Duff, age 22
Steve A. Reynolds, age 37
Joseph Alarcon, age 32
David L. Whitinger, age 54
Ronald P. Taylor, Jr., age 43
Jose Diaz, age 36
Justo Rojas, age 43
Hector Nava-Arrendondo, age 29
Jorge Sedeno-Callejas, age 27
James Stonebraker, age 58
Norvel Terry, age 45
Thomas Swan, age TBD
Michael A. Knoll, age 47
Michael E. Hamilton, age 53
Edward J. Bolen, age 47
Michael Medlin, age 68
Jamie A. Bolinger, age 34
Vance Canner, 43
Bryan E. Glaze, age 20
Richard C. DeMarco, Jr., age TBD
Mark A. Bisel, age 49
Charles N. Ernstes, II, age 52
Joseph Maio, age 59
Pamela K. Cummins, age 44
Rigo Rocha-Lopez, age 34
Carlos Mena, age 47
Jorge Daniel Ledezma-Cruz, age 26
Cesar Granados, age 31
Brian T. Peacock, age 60
Russell Pryor, age TBD
Steven Lecclier, age TBD
Anthony Leach, age 44
William Anderson, age 42
Terrell Adams, age 28
Scharme L. Bolinger, age 34
The indictment further describes the structure and hierarchy of local OMC chapters. Each chapter has a president, vice-president, treasurer, and enforcer. OMC maintained chapters in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. These local chapters answer to a regional chapter—in this case, the “Black Region”—and finally are under the umbrella of a national leadership body, which coordinates the activities of the numerous regions within OMC.
According the indictment, members are admitted to the OMC after a lengthy, phased process designed to measure a potential member’s commitment to the organization and to guard against law enforcement infiltration. After associating with OMC for a period of time, an individual may become known as a “hangaround,” and, after one year, a hangaround may be sponsored as a “probate,” or prospective member. At all times during this process, it is alleged that these individuals must follow orders by OMC members, often including criminal activity.
After at least six months of acting as a probate, individuals are eligible to become a full member of the OMC by unanimous vote, at which point they may be “patched” and wear identification associated with the gang. This OMC identification involves a leather vest and often includes numerous symbolic patches, including “MC” (motorcycle club), “AOA” (American Outlaws Association), and “1%er” (meant to describe a non-law-abiding motorcycle rider). Other patches and tattoos identified within the indictment include “Snitches are a Dying Breed,” as well as “GFOD,” which stands for “God Forgives, Outlaws Don’t.”
Today’s arrests are the culmination of a lengthy investigation as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the Indiana State Police, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Bradley A. Blackington, who is prosecuting the case for the government, all 42 defendants face up to decades in prison and substantial fines if they are found guilty. Blackington also noted that, if convicted, many of the assets gained through the alleged criminal activity would be eligible for federal forfeiture. A large portion of those proceeds would be reinvested in local law enforcement efforts.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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