Local ATF Raids Part Of Sweeping Investigation Into Outlaws Club

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - A man who said he's a proud member of the American Outlaws Motorcycle Club spoke out against federal raids in group clubhouses, including one in Newton, and members' homes.

VIDEO: Neighbors Describe Federal Raids, Outlaws Members

"They see the Outlaw patch [and] they automatically think you're a drug dealer, a thug, no good," Fred Massey said.

Massey said his house in north Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood was one of the places agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Tuesday.

"The next thing you know, boom, it sounds like the whole place is blowing up," Massey said. "They come rushing in here. They jump on top of me, put me face down on the bed, down on top of me, stuck their guns to [my] head. Two, three of them was on top of me. I kept screaming, 'My back, my back, my back.'"

VIDEO: ATF Raid At Newton Club Tied To Larger Investigation

Agents raided the Outlaws clubhouse in Newton early Tuesday morning, using explosives to blast their way into a building.

SLIDESHOW: Outlaws Take Channel 9 Inside Clubhouse

Residents of nearby neighborhoods said the blast shook their homes.

"We were sound asleep and all of a sudden, we heard a big, loud burst," a neighbor said.

Outlaws told Eyewitness News no one was inside the club during the raid, but members of the group said people do sometimes sleep inside and that they could have been hurt.

They said clothing, photos, three weapons, computers and cameras were taken from the club.

The local raids were part of a larger, nationwide investigation into the club. A 50-page, 12-count indictment unsealed Tuesday says the group is a "criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in criminal acts, involving murder, attempted murders, robberies, assaults, extortion, arson, witness intimidation, narcotics violations, illegal gambling and weapons violations."

The indictment says that a lot of the violence stemmed from turf wars with rival biker gangs such as Hells Angels.

PDF: Click here to read the indictment.

Twenty-seven people associated with the American Outlaws Motorcycle Club were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia and charged with a wide variety of crimes. The people are from multiple states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Montana, Maine and Wisconsin.

The club's national boss, Jack Rosga, known as "Milwaukee Jack," was one of the 27 people charged. According to the indictment, the club is a highly organized criminal enterprise with a multilevel chain of command overseen by Rosga.

Several local people are facing charges.

IMAGES: Local Men Charged In Connection With Outlaws Raid

David Lowry, 49, of Charlotte, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering.

Michael Mariaca, 50, of Rock Hill, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering, violence in aid and racketeering and possession of firearms in furtherance of crime of violence.

Leslie Werth, 47, of Rock Hill, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering, violence in aid and racketeering and possession of firearms in furtherance of crime of violence.

Michael Smith, 51, of Hickory, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering, violence in aid and racketeering and possession of firearms in furtherance of crime of violence.

Mark Spradling, 52, of Hickory, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering.

Brian McDermott, 50, of Hickory, is charged with distribution of controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime.

PDF: Click here for more information on the charges.

Several incidents mentioned in the indictment are said to have happened in the Charlotte area.

Federal agents said in March 2009, the head of North Carolina's Outlaws told members beatings and assaults on Hells Angels members weren't enough and said they were planning on killing them.

At a Charlotte meeting in August 2009, the indictment alleges he said the Outlaws were at war with the Hells Angels.

In January, the indictment says, arrangements were made for 100 Outlaw members from around the country to come to Charlotte to confront Hells Angels members expected to attend a local bike show.

A month later, according to the indictment, the head of Charlotte's Outlaw chapter allegedly discussed the need to destroy or burn houses around their clubhouse because Hells Angels members might be able to launch attacks from them.

The wife and daughter of Brian McDermott said they had no idea what the bikers were doing.

"I was stunned," Gay McDermott, Brian's wife, said.

She said her husband had just joined the group and that his arrest came as a shock.

According to the American Outlaw Motorcycle Club's website, the group has four chapters in North Carolina, located in Charlotte, Hickory, Asheville and Lexington. The Rock Hill chapter is the only one listed in South Carolina.

The group also has chapters in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The site says the group was established in 1935 and is one of the largest motorcycle clubs in the world.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Division; the FBI's Washington Field Office; the Virginia State Police; the Chesterfield County Police Department; and numerous law enforcement partners throughout the country. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Duffey and Dennis Fitzpatrick and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Kaplan on behalf of the United States.