15 members of the Taunton chapter of one of the largest motorcycle club's in the world and now face federal drug and firearms charges in after a two-year probe led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
They come from city streets and small town back roads, but in the eyes of law enforcement they are scary people involved in violent crime.
They are the Outlaws, members of the Taunton chapter of one of the largest motorcycle club's in the world and now 15 of them face federal drug and firearms charges in after a two-year probe led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
During that time, they engaged in a host of violent criminal activities, including an armed carjacking in Norton, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said today in a prepared release.
They also terrorized a Taunton neighborhood where their clubhouse served as the hub of marijuana and cocaine trafficking and other crimes, according to authorities and affidavits filed in U.S. District Court. Beyond the drug and firearms charges levied Tuesday, authorities say many members of the group are involved in motor vehicle theft and fraud, witness intimidation and other crimes to protect the interests of the gang and its members.
Former club president Joseph Noe, also known as "Joe Doggs," of Taunton, was among those arrested on drug trafficking charges. He was also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The investigation included wiretapping of suspect's telephones and undercover cops infiltrated the operation, according to court papers. It also implicated leaders of the national organization.
"It's a big case," said Brockton Police Chief William Conlon. "They're a scary group."
Members of the Outlaws are "significant players" in crime in Brockton, he added.
"Operation Road Kill" targeted a traditional organized motorcycle gang and led to the seizure of numerous firearms and narcotics and arrests of numerous "
Outlaw motorcycle (club) members," State Police Col. Mark F. Delaney said in the prepared release.
It also went to the heart of crime on the streets of Brockton, Taunton and beyond, city leaders said.
In Taunton, the Outlaws School Street clubhouse has terrorized the neighborhood for several years, Mayor Charles Crowley said.
"We're very pleased that they took action in a troubled spot in our community," he added.
"The neighbors have been very upset, a lot of them fearful," Taunton Police Chief Raymond O'Berg said. I'm hoping the feds have enough to seize the clubhouse and eliminate the blight on that neighborhood."
The suspects were rounded up late Monday in a controlled drug transaction in Brockton and early Tuesday throughout the region by a law enforcement team that included the FBI and state, Brockton and Taunton police with the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department. Cash, vehicles, drugs and more were seized, authorities said.
They also searched the Taunton clubhouse, according to O'Berg.
The Outlaws' Brockton chapter has a clubhouse on Hunt Street, but Conlon said there is not significant activity there