The classic picture is a large-framed outlaw in a leather jacket, embossed with its gang insignia or ‘colors’ on the back. He’s usually taking a pull off of a joint as the strains of “Born To Be Wild” drift through the air. This is the common visual of the prototypical biker. In this day and age, however, a more accurate picture would include a slightly more conservatively-dressed figure entering a bank – sans colors – with a key to a safe deposit box, depositing a six-figure sum of cash. Modern biker gang members might be inclined to leave the colors at home for this. The money could have been made from any number of enterprises, but in the present day, most likely methamphetamine will be involved.
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are associations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as channels for criminal organizations. They are highly coordinated criminal bodies whose members engage in criminal activities such as weapons trafficking, violent crime and drug trafficking. According to the Justice Department, there are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from separate chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence conduct the majority of criminal endeavors linked to OMGs, specifically activity involving to drug-trafficking and, more precisely, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their trans-national scope, these organizations are able to organize drug smuggling strategies in partnership with major international drug-trafficking organizations.
The Hells Angels are the most well-known biker gang, and were formed in 1948, getting their name from World War II bomber pilots. Though professing to live outside the structure of society’s laws as so-called “outlaws” or “one-percenters” (implying that they are the one percent that declines to abide by the law), the Hells Angels to have a highly-organized hierarchical chain of command controlled by extensive written rules. Membership, which is limited to white males that own an American-made motorcycle, requires more than a year of involvement with the gang. The Hells Angels reputation is amazing considering that there are only about 2,500 active members throughout 230 chapters in the United States, Canada and world-wide. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Hells Angels domestically have more than 92 chapters in 27 states with a membership in excess of 800 persons.
Although biker gangs have extensive history dealing a wide variety of almost every illegal drug, it appears that ‘biker’s coffee’, as meth is called, is the current staple for the gangs. In searching through the F.B.I. and Justice Department on-line resources, it’s impossible to put together accurate statistics for how much actual Meth is moved annually, but suffice it to say, we’re talking tonnage here, and they are undoubtedly at the core of the current meth epidemic, both through manufacture and distribution.