Criminal motorcycle gangs are on the rise again in the U.S., according to police intelligence officers. Biker club operations were seriously impaired during the 1980s, by non-stop racketeering prosecution, but the recent shift of police attention to crack cocaine dealers and street gangs has allowed outlaw motorcycle gangs to flourish once again.
Though the majority of motorcycle clubs remain legitimate organizations, federal officers, with an estimated 2,100 full-fledged members, and thousands more informal associates, from those who simply ride with the gangs to those who deal drugs for them.
Typical criminal activity for hard-core gangs like Hell's Angels and Outlaws include running guns and explosives, and prostitution. The cycle gangs are also believed to control the manufacture and distribution of the drug methamphetamine, or "speed."
\gangs like Hell's Angels and Outlaws continue to maintain, as they have for decades, that police claims against them are exaggerated. In order to counter negative publicity, the gangs perform charitable activities such as toy and blood drives.
Investigators say that major gangs are investing illicit profits into legitimate businesses like bodyguard and limousine services, catering companies and motorcycle shops.
Gangs are also reported to be spreading through Europe, where police are unfamiliar with the way to operate. As in America, European police are more interested in the activities of higher-profile groups like terrorist organizations, the Mafia and invading Colombian drug cartels.
According to Interlope sources, a recent raid on a Hell's Angels clubhouse in Paris yielded 24 pounds of hashish, nearly two pounds of cocaine and an assortment of automatic weapons.
- Orlando Sentinel