The Pagans Motorcycle Club is a "one-percenter" motorcycle gang formed by Lou Dobkins in 1959 in Prince George's County, Maryland. Known simply The Pagans colloquially, the club rapidly expanded and by 1965, the Pagans, originally clad in blue denim jackets and riding Triumphs, began to evolve along the lines of the stereotypical one percenter motorcycle club.
The Pagans are categorized as an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are known to fight over territory with the Hells Angels and other motorcycle clubs, such as Fates Assembly MC, who have since merged with the HAMC.
The Pagans MC patch depicts the Norse fire-giant Surtr sitting on the sun, wielding a sword, plus the word Pagan's [sic] in red, white and blue. Unlike most one percenter motorcycle clubs, the Pagans do not include on their club insignia a bottom rocker indicating the geographical chapter of the member wearing the club's full patch. It is believed the club declines to follow this one percenter tradition because they do not want law enforcement to know what state chapters individual Pagans belong to. Members wear blue denim vests called cuts or cutoffs with club patches, known as colors. Patches are common on the front of the cuts, as are tattoos reading "ARGO" (Ar Go Fuck Yourself) and "NUNYA" (Nun'Ya Fuckin' Business).
Keith "Conan" Richter [former National Sergeant-At-Arms of the Pagan's MC] was convicted in 1998 of conspiracy and attempted murder in aid of racketeering and assault with a dangerous weapon. He is currently in federal prison, and is scheduled to be released in 2012.
A "Diamond Back" wears the 1% logo on his back
Pagans are known for using axe handles & baseball bats as weapons
Pagans are known for using axe handles & baseball bats as weapons
Recently, the Pagans' membership has begun to decline as their rival Hells Angels’ membership has grown. Pagans have approximately 350 to 400 members and 44 chapters and are active along the East Coast of the United States. Chapters are common in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. The Pagans have a Mother Club or ruling council which ultimately rules the gang. The Pagans headquarters is currently in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Members must be at least 21 years old and owners of Harley-Davidson or Triumph motorcycles with engines larger than 900cc. The national sergeant-at-arms' responsibility is to hand-pick 13 chapter members to serve as the "enforcers" or "regulators". This body uses violence and intimidation to prevent any and all opposition to the Mother Club.
Members join for a variety of reasons. First, bikers often consider themselves as loners and join gangs for mutual protection. The bonds with other motorcyclists are strengthened by the subscription to non-conventional norms and the rejection of mainstream society. Secondly, they use MCs as mechanisms of power. Oftentimes, MC membership brings them legitimate and illegitimate job opportunities and financial prospects. Additionally, members feel a sense of control while intimidating less powerful, defenseless citizens. Generally, the values of this MC subculture lie in the value of brotherhood, the interest in motorcycling, and respect for mechanical skills. Although many motorcycle gang members are loners, many have families, are gainfully employed, and have much to lose despite their risk-taking.
The Pagans have been linked to the production and smuggling of drugs such as methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and PCP. The Pagans also have had strong ties to organized crime, especially in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Pagans often use puppet clubs, smaller affiliated motorcycle clubs, or small street drug trafficking organizations that support larger Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) for distributing drugs. Pagans have also engaged in assault, arson, extortion, motorcycle/car theft, and weapons trafficking. Most of the violence carried out by the Pagans is directed to rival OMGs such as Hells Angels.
On February 23, 2002, 73 Pagans were arrested in Long Island, New York after appearing at an indoor motorcycle and tattoo expo called the Hellraiser Ball. The Pagans had shown up to the event to confront Hells Angels who were at the Ball. Dozens of Pagans rushed the doors of the event and were met with violence by the Hells Angels. Fighting ensued, ten people were wounded, and a Hells Angel allegedly shot and killed a Pagan member. Two weeks later, a Pagans owned tattoo parlor located in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was firebombed.
In 2005, Pagans allegedly opened fire on and killed the Vice-President of the Hells Angel's Philadelphia chapter as he was driving his truck on the Schuylkill Expressway. Later that year, the Hells Angels closed their Philadelphia chapter.
A Pagans MC leader, Jay Carl Wagner, 66, was arrested in Washington County, Maryland, by 60 plus officers from state, local and federal officials with a bomb disposal robot on May 9, 2007, and later charged with possession of a regulated firearm after conviction of a violent crime. Police and agents recovered seven handguns, two alleged explosive devices and 13 long rifles. On March 5th, 2008, Wagner pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. On August 8, 2008, U.S. District Chief Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Wagner to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Established: 1959 in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States
Founder: Lou Dobkins
Years active: 1959-present
Territory: East Coast of the United States
Ethnicity: Predominantly White
Membership: 350-400 full-patch members, many more prospects and hang-arounds
Criminal activities: Drug dealing, arms dealing, extortion, prostitution, trafficking in stolen goods
Allies: Sons of Silence MC, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Pittsburgh crime family
Rivals: The Breed, Hells Angels MC, Outlaws, Warlocks and the Philadelphia crime family
See also: Biker Gangs
The national president of the Pagans Motorcycle Club will remain in custody while awaiting trial, a federal judge decided Thursday.
David K. "Bart" Barbeito, 49, of Myersville, Md., is one of 55 members and associates of the gang named in a sweeping, 44-count indictment unsealed last week. Prosecutors say Barbeito and other members of the group's ruling Mother Club led a criminal organization that controlled territory from New Jersey to Florida through violence and intimidation. ...[read]
N.J. Pagans Motorcycle Club members are indicted in W.Va. bust
By Rudy Larini
October 06, 2009
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An indictment charging 55 members of the Pagans motorcycle gang with violent crimes ranging from robbery and extortion to conspiracy to commit murder was unsealed today by federal officials.
The 44-count indictment names Pagan gang members from eight states, including eight from New Jersey. The others are West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Florida.
Five Pagan officers, including the national president, David Keith Barbeito, also known as "Bart," of Myersville, Md., and the national vice president, Floyd B. Moore, also known as "Jesse" and "Diamond Jesse," of St. Albans, W.Va. were charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") violations, conspiracy to commit RICO, and other charges.
The indictment, handed up Thursday, alleges that Pagan members and associates have engaged in racketeering activities since March 2003. That month, Pagan gang members, at the direction of Moore, traveled to Huntington, W.Va., and restrained and beat a member of a rival motorcycle gang, the Road Disciples, in an attempt to extract information from the victim in order to find the gang’s president, according to the indictment.
Moore ordered the Pagan members to find the Road Disciples president to collect money and to threaten to shut the gang down if the president failed to comply with Moore’s orders.
The indictment also alleges that in September 2005, Moore and other Pagan members and associates conspired with a prison guard to kill an inmate suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. Moore also ordered another Pagan member to commit a murder to help out the president of a local chapter of the Avengers motorcycle club, according to the indictment.
"As alleged in the indictment, members and associates of this motorcycle gang have engaged in numerous violent crimes in an attempt to maintain control over other motorcycle gangs and clubs throughout the country," Charles T. Miller, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of West Virginia, said in a statement. "Collaboration between the federal, state and local agencies that resulted in today’s indictment signals our shared, unrelenting commitment to combat organized crime."
The indictment was the result of a multi-jurisdictional effort that included the U.S. Attorneys Offices in West Virginia and Pittsburgh, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Louisville, Ky.
The suspects range from 29 to 69 years old. Eight of the 55 have New Jersey addresses. They are Rocco J. Boyd, 48, of Little Ferry; Sergio Velez Cuevas, 69, of Linden; Christopher T. Brunner, 42, of Manahawkin; Joseph Frank Cotton, 59, of Pemberton; Thomas William Connolly, 60, of Matawan; Stephen G. Dunn Jr., 33, of Camden; Stephen G. Hoffmann, 58, of Landing, and Daniel J. Reilly, 57, of Egg Harbor Township.
If convicted, the suspects face prison terms ranging from three to 20 years and fines of up to $1 million.
Pagans under surveillance in 2006
Undercover state police investigators used informants to set up surveillance at the party in a rented picnic pavilion for several hundred Pagans in Yukon, PA. That was June 2006 and the Pagans, who reportedly have as many as 450 members nationally, were very much a part of the local criminal scene, according to court documents.
Prosecutors showed surveillance tapes of the revelers to the grand jury, which heard from 18 witnesses who offered sometimes gruesome stories of violence and drug operations, sometimes run from behind prison walls, according to the presentment.
The witnesses told jurors about rites of passage to full membership in the gang, according to the presentment. They told of attending monthly chapter meetings, referred to as "going to church." And they told of raising money by selling drugs, stealing and rebuilding motorcycles. They said Overly [Raymond "Pete" Overly, former head of the Greensburg chapter, who ran the chapter from his PRA Racing motorcycle shop] often rewarded members who stole bikes with custom-built motorcycles.
Those who were being groomed to be potential members were known as "prospects," they said.
A Pagan-in-training was given a denim or leather jacket with the sleeves cut off and bearing a patch reading "prospect."
"After an undefined period of prospecting, or after the completion of a certain particularly challenging (and often criminal) task such as an assault, the prospect would receive his 'colors,' which entails the addition of the Pagan symbol and other patches to an individual's cut-off and is therefore considered a full-fledged member of the Pagan's OMG (Outlaw Motorcycle Gang)," the presentment said.
The presentment alleges bikers often traveled to Atlanta to pick up illegal drugs during buys Overly set up.
Overly did not know some of the "prospects" hauling drugs back to Pennsylvania were informants who would contact police to photograph and test the contraband, the grand jury said.
Some prospects told authorities they were beaten by Overly if they refused to participate in the drug deals or other assignments -- ranging from assaulting enemies with baseball bats to performing household chores.
When investigators discovered in late 2006 that Overly wanted to buy four, specially built 9 mm machine guns, undercover officers moved in and bought the guns from Snyder so they wouldn't fall into Overly's hands, the grand jury reported.
The Pagans, long associated with drugs and violence, were founded in 1959 in Maryland. They expanded into Pennsylvania during the 1960s.
State police Trooper Matthew Baumgard fielded the undercover investigation with former trooper Lyle Graber, who works as an investigator for the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office. Baumgard said police would not comment on the case.
The primary Pagan symbol, which looks like a devil, is known as a "fire god," according to a state grand jury.
Pagan patches frequently include the expression: "GFPD: God Forgives, Pagans Don't."
"Tattoos are similarly used by Pagans to signify club membership and as tools of intimidation. The wearing of 'colors' is used as both a symbol of club membership, and as a means of intimidating rival gang members and the general public," a grand jury says in a presentment issued against seven men who allegedly belong to the Westmoreland County chapter.
Bikers' leather jackets often are attached to their clothes with numerous pins so the colors are not left behind during fights.
Anyone who leaves the Pagans must turn in their colors, remove their tattoos, pay an "exit fee" of up to $2,000, forfeit ownership of their motorcycles and "sometimes is expected to leave town," according to the presentment.