The lurid racketeering trial in Detroit of seven members of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club members entered its third day today.
Defendants include National President Jeff Garvin “Fat Dog” Smith, National Vice-President Paul “Pauli” Darrah, alleged National Warlord Cary “Gun Control” Vandiver, Vincent “Holiday” Witort, Patrick Michael “Magoo” McKeoun, Scott “Scotty Z” Sutherlan and David Randy “D” Drozdowski. Collectively, the men are charged with numerous offenses that date back to the Clinton Adminstration. The seven men were among 41 people indicted in 2012 as a result of a ten-year-long, FBI fishing investigation
At the time the indictment was unsealed, an FBI press release read: “‘For years, according to the indictment, the Devils Diciples have spread fear in cities throughout Michigan and around the country,’ said Assistant Attorney General (Lanny) 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. Today’s arrests of the Devils Diciples’ top leaders and 39 of the gang’s members and associates are an important step in our efforts to dismantle violent criminal enterprises across the country.’”
The trial might as well be called The Devils Ride. In his opening statement two days ago, Assistant United States Attorney Eric Strauss promised the jury an inside look into “the world of outlaw bikers.” Strauss hasn’t yet directly compared the Devils Diciples to the Islamic State but that may be coming.
In previous court documents, Strauss has claimed: “Women without protection from a member (of the Devils Diciples) are fair game for sexual assault…. Wives, girlfriends, and female associates are required to provide financial and other support for DDMC members – typically working in bars or strip clubs. They frequently are required to participate in the club’s illegal activities, including drug trafficking and obstruction of justice. The DDMC frequently use women as drug mules. Women can aspire to earn a ‘Property Of’ vestment to signify their relationship to a DDMC member.”
Strauss has accused Smith of ordering members to “brutally” torture “five DDMC members, including a Chapter President, and left four of them for dead in the Arizona desert as punishment for breaking club rules.” The incident apparently did occur in April 2003. The “torture” was a beating and it was hardly unprovoked. The beaten men had brutalized and raped the wife of a patch holder in another club. And even Strauss now concedes that the point of beating the men was to “avert an all-out war” with that other club.
Other Federal Crimes
One member of the Devils Diciples apparently cooked methamphetamine. Some members sold small amounts of marijuana, Vicodin and other drugs. One clubhouse had a couple of video poker machines so the club is accused of organized gambling.
Smith, Darah and Vandiver are accused of “Conspiracy to Suborn Perjury and Obstruct Justice,” “Subornation of Perjury” and “Obstruction of Justice” but those charges are more about making headlines than keeping the peace or preserving justice. All three of those charges stem from a single case in 2005. A club member had been accused of being a felon in possession of a .44 Mag. The actual possession was fleeting. The gun was found in a car. The men are specifically accused of asking another occupant of the car to claim ownership of the weapon.
Most of the charges seem like overblown excuses to contrive a prosecution. Since this is a racketeering case, all of the defendants face decades in prison if a jury finds them guilty.
The trial should continue for at least another two weeks.