Motorcycle, Prison and Street Gangs Are Scattered Throughout The Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Biker gangs are highly structured institutions who engage in criminal activities ranging from drugs, violent crime and human and weapons trafficking. Even though the FBI accounts them as only 2.5% of the active gang population, many states have listed them as a top threat to their public safety.
Biker gangs and drug cartels have many similarities. Both are organized internationally, operating chapters across country borders. They have their own colors and symbols contributed to their organization and they fiercely protect the “territory” they claim, so as to limit the amount of competition for their criminal affairs. Their members are loyal and view the organization as a “family” – to leave means almost certain death. The difference is simple – while members of drug cartels actively celebrate their illegal activity, members of biker gangs first and foremost view themselves as active in fraternal societies, like the Freemasons or the Rotary Club. They often hold toy drives or charity motorcycle races, which gave rise to the “loveable outlaw” image portrayed often in the media, until we witnessed the biker shootout in Waco, Texas shooting that left 9 bikers dead. So while drug cartels and biker gangs often commit the same crimes, one is considered more socially acceptable than the other.
The similarities between the two organizations made them ideal allies for each other’s criminal enterprises. While biker gangs used to produce the drug methamphetamine, they soon realized that drug cartels had easier access to the chemicals needed to produce a better product in bulk.
In order to profit off the thriving market for meth, they offered their distribution networks for use. The FBI has reported in the past that the motorcycle gangs have allied with drug cartels in order to more effectively import drugs into the United States.
There are at least seven known biker gangs that claim territory in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Biker gangs have been the subject of much media scrutiny since the May 17th shooting that killed nine of their members and injured eighteen others in Waco, Texas. Their violent criminal past has been aired multiple times as media pundits continue to discuss ways that the law should deal with them. Texas has struggled with the alliance of biker gangs and drug cartels for many years, passing laws that allow prosecutors to charge all members of a club with supporting organized crime if necessary.
Prison gangs are criminal organizations that originated within the penal system and they have continued to operate within correctional facilities throughout the United States. Prison gangs are also self-perpetuating criminal entities that can continue their operations outside the confines of the penal system. Typically, a prison gang consists of a select group on inmates who have an organized hierarchy and who are governed by an established code of conduct. Prison gangs vary in both organization and composition, from highly structured gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood and Nuestra Familia to gangs with a less formalized structure such as the Mexican Mafia (La Eme). Prison gangs generally have fewer members than street gangs and Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs(OMGs) and are structured along racial or ethnic lines. Nationally, prison gangs pose a threat because of their role in the transportation and distribution of narcotics. Prison gangs are also an important link between drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs), street gangs and OMGs, often brokering the transfer of drugs from DTOs to gangs in many regions. Prison gangs typically are more powerful within state correctional facilities rather than within the federal penal system.
Street Gangs are located throughout the United States, and their memberships vary in number, racial and ethnic composition, and structure. Large national street gangs pose the greatest threat because they smuggle, produce, transport, and distribute large quantities of illicit drugs throughout the country and are extremely violent. Local street gangs in rural, suburban and urban areas pose a steadily increasing threat, transporting and distributing drugs within specific areas. The local street gangs often imitate the larger, more powerful national gangs in order to gain respect from their rivals.
Street Gangs will continue to pose a serious domestic threat to many communities throughout the United States. In the long term it is highly probable that United States based street gangs will increase their role in trafficking drugs, particularly involving the smuggling of drugs into the United States from international sources of supply. Furthermore, it is highly probable that several United States based street gangs will increase their relationships with international criminal organizations and drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) as a means of obtaining access to the global illicit drug market.
Gangs in Kentucky
According to local, state and federal Law Enforcement Agencies there are about 30-40 active motorcycle, prison, and street gangs here in Kentucky. These criminal organizations are a primary source for the increase in drug addiction, violence and crime in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.