WASHINGTON—An indictment unsealed today in the Eastern District of Michigan charges 41 members and associates of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Gang, including National President Jeff Garvin Smith and National Vice President Paul Anthony Darrah, for their alleged participation in a variety of criminal offenses, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade for the Eastern District of Michigan, and FBI Acting Assistant Director Valerie Parlave.
Thirty-one defendants were arrested today in Michigan and Alabama and five defendants were previously in custody. More than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition were seized during this investigation. In addition, eight methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories were dismantled during the investigation.
The indictment alleges that the 41 Devils Diciples members and associates, including Smith and Darrah, participated in various criminal acts, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, and other federal offenses. Eighteen of the defendants, including Smith and Darrah, are charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by conducting their illegal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity which included murder, robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, obstruction of justice, and other federal and state offenses.
“For years, according to the indictment, the Devils Diciples have spread fear in cities throughout Michigan and around the country,” said Assistant Attorney General 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.”
“Removing violent criminal organizations from our community is essential to attaining the quality of life we expect and deserve,” said U.S. Attorney McQuade. “Federal law enforcement is using all legal tools available to prosecute violent criminal enterprises like this one.”
“Today’s law enforcement action takes violence off the streets,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director Valerie Parlave. “The FBI appreciates the strong law enforcement partnerships leading to this activity and will continue its commitment to state and local communities to address this violent, and often brutal, criminal threat across the U.S.”
According to the indictment, the Devils Diciples is a criminal enterprise with its national headquarters in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Devils Diciples operates regional chapters located in cities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and elsewhere. The Devils Diciples engage in criminal activities for financial gain, including distribution of narcotics, theft, transportation and sale of stolen motorcycles, conducting illegal gambling businesses, robbery, extortion, and acts of violence.
According to the indictment, membership in the Devils Diciples is based in part on successfully completing a probationary period, followed by formal approval by one or more members or leaders. Members are required to own Harley Davidson motorcycles and are commonly referred to as “full patched members.” Full patched members are identified by a club name or nickname for the express purpose of concealing their identity and thwarting identification by law enforcement. Members are required to follow orders from leadership, including orders to assault or use threats and intimidation against others, to transport or distribute drugs, to lie to law enforcement, or to hide or destroy evidence. Members are also required to follow the Devils Diciples by-laws and attend regular meetings referred to as “church.”
The indictment alleges that the Devils Diciples committed acts involving attempted murder, robbery, extortion, assault, and threats of violence to maintain the territory of the organization and to protect the organization and its members from detection and prosecution by law enforcement authorities.
The indictment charges the 41 Devils Diciples members and associates with a variety of criminal offenses including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, and other federal offenses.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that in August 2003, Vincent John Witort and multiple other Devils Diciples members robbed, kidnapped, and attempted to murder other members of the Arizona Chapter for violating Devils Diciples rules.
The indictment alleges that in 2004, Smith possessed state and federal law enforcement manuals regarding outlaw motorcycle gangs marked “For Official Use Only” and “Law Enforcement Sensitive” and numerous documents related to criminal matters involving members of the Devils Diciples, including police reports, search warrants, affidavits, indictments, and witness interview transcripts.
Smith allegedly assaulted another individual in August 2008 for the purpose of maintaining and increasing position in the Devils Diciples enterprise. The indictment also alleges that in late 2008, Smith, Paul Anthony Darrah, and Cary Dale Vandiver assaulted Scott Thomas Perkins with a metal pipe.
According to the indictment, in February 2009, Ronald Raymond Roberts, Christopher Raymond Cook, and Wayne Russell Werth allegedly assaulted Danny Russell Burby, Jr. with a box cutter and a bottle, after various Devils Diciples members circulated flyers containing a photograph of Burby and stating that Burby was a “snitch.”
The indictment also alleges that in January 2012, David Randy Drozdowski and Smiley Villa assaulted an individual they believed was a member of a rival motorcycle club for being present in Devils Diciples territory.
Sixteen of the members and associates named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business. The defendants operated slot machines located in several Devils Diciples clubhouses in Michigan, Arizona, and Alabama to generate income for the criminal enterprise and its members.
The 41 defendants charged are:
1. Scott William Sutherland, aka “Scotty Z”
2. Ronald Raymond Roberts, aka “Rockin’ Ronnie”
3. David Thomas Roberts, aka “Detroit Dave”
4. Patrick Michael McKeoun, aka “Magoo”
5. Jeff Garvin Smith, aka “Fat Dog”
6. Paul Anthony Darrah, aka “Pauli”
7. Cary Dale Vandiver, aka “Gun Control”
8. Vincent John Witort, aka “Holiday”
9. Michael William Mastromatteo, aka “Iron Mike”
10. Vernon Nelson Rich, aka “Vern”
11. John Renny Riede, aka “Bear”
12. Victor Carlos Castano
13. Gary Lee Nelson
14. Michael Kenneth Rich, aka “Tatu”
15. Raymond Charles Melioli, aka “Romeo”
16. Timothy Paul Downs, aka “Space”
17. David Randy Drozdowski, aka “D”
18. Smiley Villa, aka “SA”
19. Dean Edward Jakiel, aka “Jesus”20. Tony Wayne Kitchens, aka “Trouble”
21. Sylvester Gerard Wesaw, aka “Sly Dog”
22. Ronald Nick Preletz, aka “Polar Bear”
23. Howard Joseph Quant, aka “44”
24. Scott Thomas Perkins, aka “Scotty P”
25. Clifford Chansel Rhodes, II
26. David Roy Delong, aka “Reverend”
27. Christopher Raymond Cook, aka “Damien”
28. Michael John Palazzola, aka “Utica Mike”
29. Danny Russell Burby, Jr., aka “Thumbs”
30. Ronald Leon Lambert, aka “Crow”
31. Jason Joseph Cook, aka “Cookie”
32. Edward Allen Taylor, aka “Big Ed”
33. Salvatore Battaglia, aka Bando”
34. William Scott Lonsby, aka “Buckwheat”
35. Wayne Russell Werth
36. Lauri Ann Ledford
37. Jennifer Lee Cicola
38. Dean Anthony Tagliavia
39. Alexis Catherine May
40. Paula Mileha Friscioni
41. John Charles Scudder
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Michigan State Police, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, and the County of Macomb Enforcement Team (COMET), with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.