Five St. Louis men have been arrested as part of a federal investigation into racketeering, drug trafficking and murder involving the Wheels of Soul Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
The St. Louis men arrested are:
- Dominic Henley, 33, of central St. Louis, described as the chapter president;
- Lawrence Pinkston, 42, of north St. Louis, described as a former vice president;
- Norman Vick, 44, of north county, described as a the chapter's former secretary;
- Sean Jackson, 42, of north St. Louis, described as a former enforcer;
- Timothy Balle, 58, of north St. Louis, described as a member.
Ten other members of the predominately African-American bike gang have been arrested in six other states. Three others remain at large. The indictment alleges that between 2009 and the present, the members of Wheels of Soul constituted an "enterprise" engaged in racketeering activity as defined by the
federal RICO statute -- and that the eighteen current and former members facing criminal charges conspired to
commit racketeering acts in furtherance of that "enterprise."
In addition to the conspiracy charge,
some defendants are accused of committing specific acts of violence, including murder, attempted
murder, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping. Several of the defendants are alleged to have
engaged in narcotics trafficking.
"The significance of today's arrests is not just the fact that these members are considered
the most violent of the group," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Dennis L. Baker. "Today's
nationwide takedown has disrupted and dismantled the Wheels of Soul Motorcycle Outlaw Gang
by targeting the senior leaders."
The Associated Press reports
that the members of the gang who committed particularly gruesome crimes earned a "diamond" or "1%" status within the group.
Per the AP:
The indictment alleges that a select few gang members achieved "1%er," or "Diamond" status for particularly violent activity. It accuses gang members of planning extortion against smaller gangs; distributing drugs, especially crack cocaine; plotting and carrying out several acts of violence including kidnapping, robbery and murder.
It also accuses gang members of several shootings, including three that were fatal: In St. Louis in 2009; in Chicago in January; and in Marion, Ohio, in March.
Some of the violence cited in the indictment was breathtaking. One member allegedly stabbed another person in the head during a fight at a Chicago motorcycle club, then shot another in the stomach.
In January, six of the accused went to an East St. Louis, Ill., nightclub intending to kill members of the rival Outkast OMG gang, according to the indictment. The plan was foiled because several police officers were seen near the club.
Today's announcement was made in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, St.
Louis Field Division, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chicago Field
Division, which conducted a two-year joint investigation into the Wheels of Soul Outlaw
Motorcycle Gang which has chapters in at least twenty states. The list of those indicted includes national and regional officers of the club, which is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.