An undercover investigation that put federal agents inside the notorious Mongols motorcycle gang ended yesterday with arrests of dozens of members on warrants ranging from drug sales to murder and a move by the government to seize the group's name.Law enforcement agents said the operation could herald the end of the Mongol Motorcycle Club, a Southern California-based group of 600 or so members that claims to be a social club but that prosecutors say is a criminal gang involved in murder, torture, drug trafficking and other offenses.'This is one of those celebrated investigations in which the organization from top to bottom has been charged and targeted,' said Michael Sullivan, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. O'Brien, at podium, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, in Los Angeles At least 61 members were arrested under a racketeering indictment.
It alleges the group, which is mostly Latino, sometimes attacks black people and commits robberies, steals motorcycles, and funds itself in part by stealing credit card account information.
In one instance, several Mongol members allegedly rode in a pack and attacked motorists near Palm Springs, surrounding cars while one rider tried to stab the drivers with a knife.
Members of the Riverside County Sheriff's Emergency Services Team search property in Moreno Valley, Calif., Monday, May 20, 1996 as part of "Operation Outlaw" One member was allowed to tattoo the gang's insignia on his head after he shot two members of a rival gang, the indictment alleges.
Mongols were also allegedly encouraged to engage in sex with women at 'wing parties,' earning patches for various acts.
Among them, Mongols allegedly could earn their 'wings' by engaging in sex with women with a venereal disease.
Agents seized dozens of chrome-covered Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Attorney Thomas O'Brien also asked for an injunction that would seize the Mongols' trademarked name.
One machine's oil dipstick doubled as a serrated knife. If the order is approved, any Mongol would no longer be able to wear a jacket displaying the gang's name or emblem.
Busted: A Mongols' motorcycle gang member vest is displayed during a news conference in Los Angeles.
Dozens of burly, tattoo-covered Mongol motorcycle gang members were arrested by federal agents 'It would allow law enforcement to seize the leather jackets right off their back,' O'Brien said.
John Torres, the ATF agent in charge in Los Angeles, described the pivotal role his organization's four undercover agents played in the investigation.
The unidentified agents infiltrated the gang and were accepted as full members, a difficult process that requires winning the trust of top leaders over a period of months, Torres said.