WASHINGTON, DC – After a four-month trial, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Michigan on Friday, February 20th, 2015, convicted six members of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Gang including the national president, national vice president and national warlord, for their participation in various criminal acts, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, methamphetamine production and trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling and other federal offenses.
“For too many years the Devils Diciples spread fear and violence throughout Michigan and the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell. “This outlaw motorcycle gang thrived on intimidation and its ability to avoid prosecution – but no longer. Through these convictions, we have decimated the gang and its leadership and helped secure justice for the communities they harmed.”
“These defendants were responsible for violence and trafficking in methamphetamine in Macomb County and across the country,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. “We are grateful for the work of the investigating agencies and the jury to bring them to justice.”
“The defendants in this case perpetrated a broad range of violent criminal activities in support of their illegal enterprise,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate. “Today’s convictions, which targeted the leadership of this criminal organization, reflect the hard work and dedication of federal, state and local law enforcement, the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.”
Devils Diciples national President Jeff Garvin Smith, aka “Fat Dog,” 60, of Mt. Clemens, Michigan; National Vice President Paul Anthony Darrah, aka “Pauli,” 50, of Macomb Township, Michigan; and National Warlord Cary Dale Vandiver, aka “Gun Control,” 56, of Sand Mountain, Alabama, were all found guilty by a jury of engaging in a RICO conspiracy, methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, violent crimes in aid of racketeering and various substantive charges.
Another prominent leader, Vincent John Witort, aka “Holiday,” 64, of Fontana, California, and a methamphetamine cook, Patrick Michael McKeoun, aka “Magoo,” 60, of Birmingham, Alabama, were found guilty of engaging in a RICO conspiracy and methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy. David Randy Drozdowski, aka “D,” 38 of Fair Haven, Michigan, was found guilty by a jury of committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Scott William Sutherland, aka “Scotty Z,” 49, of Redford, Michigan, was acquitted by the jury of various charges, but previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Sentencing hearings will be scheduled at a later date before U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to evidence presented at trial, the Devils Diciples (which is intentionally misspelled) is a motorcycle gang with its national headquarters in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Devils Diciples operated regional chapters in cities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere, and engaged in criminal activities for financial gain.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that membership in the Devils Diciples is based in part on successful completion of a probationary period, followed by formal approval by one or more members or leaders. Members, commonly referred to as “full patched members,” are required to own Harley Davidson motorcycles and are required to follow orders from the gang’s leadership, including orders to assault, threaten and intimidate others, to transport and distribute drugs, to lie to law enforcement and to hide or destroy evidence. Members are also required to follow the Devils Diciples by-laws and attend regular meetings referred to as “church.”
Specifically, the evidence showed that in late 2007, Smith and Darrah were involved in the shooting of a Devils Diciples member who failed to abide by the gang’s rules. And, in August 2008, Smith violently assaulted the girlfriend of another Devils Diciples member because he believed she disrespected him and the gang.
Additionally, the evidence showed that 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. The evidence showed that the documents were used for the purposes of counter-surveillance and to identify suspected informants.
The other defendants were also full patched members of the gang, who committed several other acts of violence.
For example, in August 2003, Witort and other gang members robbed, kidnapped and attempted to murder members of the gang’s Arizona Chapter for violating the gang’s rules. Inside the Arizona clubhouse, the victims were bound with duct tape and zip ties, and severely beaten with firearms, tasers, knives, and other weapons. The victims were then loaded into the bed of a pick-up truck, driven out into the desert, dumped into ravines, and left to die. The evidence showed that Witort and Smith helped to plan the beatings and that Smith later congratulated one of the participants, telling him in a letter that the Devils Diciples were “all proud of you.”
Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that in 2012, at a bar in Chesterfield Township, Michigan, Drozdowski and another Devils Diciples member assaulted a perceived rival motorcycle gang member for being present in Devils Diciples territory. The victim was knocked unconscious and suffered multiple fractures to his face and jaw. Drozdowski and the other Devils Diciples member then ripped the leather vest off of the unconscious victim.
In addition to the defendants convicted today, 21 members and associates of the Devil’s Diciples have been pleaded guilty to various crimes as result of this investigation. The investigation further resulted in the seizure of more than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and the dismantling of eight methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories across the country.
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 Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.