An undercover investigation of members of the American Outlaws Association in Philadelphia has been slowly unfolding for about a month. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Philadelphia Organized Crime/Labor Racketeering Squad and there may be other shoes yet to drop.
Van Smith of the Baltimore City Paper broke this developing story February 12. You can read Smith’s original coverage here.
At least two men have been arrested in the case. Ronald L. Sells, the President of the Philadelphia chapter of the Outlaws, is charged with selling at least a kilo and a half of methamphetamine to an unnamed FBI Confidential Human Source. Michael James Privett, a patched member of the club, is charged with “collection of extensions of credit by extortionate means.”
The confidential source was a probationary member of the club.
Using methods that remain secret the unnamed informant convinced Sells to sell him the large amount of drugs. However Sells was enticed, he told the informant that he wanted the deal to be kept secret from both his wife and his motorcycle club. The informant took possession of the methamphetamine at Sell’s home in Churchville, Maryland on January 17. The two men and two other Outlaws identified only as “Coop” and “Rob” then drove to the Outlaws clubhouse on Somerset Street in Philadelphia.
According to an affadvit by an FBI agent named Kathleen A O’Hanlon, Sells then warned the informant, “This shit can’t be in the clubhouse. If the bosses find out, I’m gonna be dead and so are you…We need money. We gotta get with your guy and move this stuff.” According to the FBI, the snitch told Sells he had a buyer for the drugs in New York
The informant left his motorcycle and a motorcycle trailer as collateral at the clubhouse and left to report the drug sales to his FBI handler.
Twelve days later the snitch called Sells and promised to pay him if Sells agreed to meet in person. Sells was arrested on January 31 when he came to get his money and he has been in custody since.
The same day the snitch began receiving dunning phone calls from a man the FBI says was Privett. In the narrative the FBI weaves the money for the drug deal was Privett’s. In the first phone call, the man identified by the snitch as Privett said “come up with my money.”
Later that day the same caller left a message that explained, “You can believe one thing. You can fuck with me all you want to, but motherfucker trust me. Your whole family is in danger. Fuck you.”
That evening the caller told the snitch the address of his ex-wife and daughter and added, “I’ll have the address for your son’s house in Florida this week. I got the tag numbers. I got your bike. I got your trailer. I want my money. Your whole family is going to be in danger if not. You need to pick up the fucking phone. You’re supposed to meet (Sells) today. Now he’s not answering the phone either. As far a I’m concerned, both you all in the same boat.”
Privett was arrested the next day.
For the time being, this seems to conclude this investigation but numerous details of the FBI probe including its duration and the number of snitches it employed remain secret.