COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A federal indictment released by the US Attorney's office Thursday details the inner-workings of what it takes to join or run a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club chapter.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is an international organization with hundreds of chapters and thousands of members, according to federal prosecutors.
According to the group's website, the first Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was founded in California on March 17, 1948.
The Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter is one of several in South Carolina. Like each Hells Angels chapter, according to prosecutors, the Rock Hell Angels Chapter adhered to a hierarchical chain of command with a president, vice president, treasurer/secretary, and sergeant at arms/enforcer, as well as general members.
The Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter was founded in South Carolina under the leadership of Daniel Eugene Bifield, who was arrested in the Lexington County raid Wednesday. Prosecutors say the group operated as "God's Few," before being "patched over" into the it's current designation under the Hells Angels in 2008.
In order to be a member of the Hells Angels, one must be a white male and own at least two American-made motorcycles, preferably Harley-Davidsons, prosecutors said.
Full membership into the "Enterprise" is referred to as "full patch," in reference to each member's ability to wear the full Hells Angels three-piece jackets and vests, the indictment said. The full patch includes the club's emblem and wording that notes the territory being claimed by the member.
Members of the Hells Angels may also wear a diamond-shaped "one-percenter" patch which reflects the club's recognition that its members are among the one percent of non-law abiding outlaws, prosecutors said.
Much like a fraternity, prospective members are brought into chapters through a lengthy process designed to measure the person's commitment to the Hells Angels and to guard against law enforcement infiltration, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, after associating with the Hells Angels for a period of time, prospective members may be identified as a "hang-around" and may do menial tasks to gain the respect of the members.
After a period of time, these hang-arounds may be sponsored by a Hells Angel member and may then become a "prospect" for that chapter. While a prospective member, one must follow the orders of full-patched members and run various errands, according to prosecutors. This can include participation in legal and illegal activities.
Eventually the "prospect" may be allowed to become a full member, but that's only possible with a unanimous vote of all chapter members, the indictment stated.
Hells Angels who are not members, including members' girlfriends and wives, may wear the number 81 as in "Support 81." The numbers stand for the respective positions in the alphabet of H and A.
Like other Hells Angels chapters, the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter paid dues and assessments to the national Hells Angels, prosecutors said. Money was raised locally from the sale of support gear at parties, including items such as T-shirts and stickers, according to the indictment. Funding from members was also used to create a legal defense fund to cover members' criminal legal fees, including, but not limited to, acts of violence, prosecutors said.
According to the indictment, funding for the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter was also generated through illegal activities and kickbacks.
After its formation, the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter began to "patch over" various Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Chapters into the Red Devils Motorcycle Club, which was a Hells Angels support club, according to the indictment. Support clubs support Hells Angels through attending various functions, taking orders from the Hells Angels and providing security for the chapters, prosecutors said.
The RDMC was required to pay a monthly assessment to the local Hell Angels chapter, the indictment stated.
If a member gets kicked out of a Hells Angels chapter, they are required to "outdate" or color-over tattoos which served as vestments of membership in Hells Angels, prosecutors said.
The Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter utilized clubhouses in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and West Columbia.
Prosecutors said the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter engaged in intimidation, extortion, narcotics distribution, money laundering, arson, trafficking in stolen goods, prostitution, and firearms trafficking.
Prosecutors said members of the local chapter promoted "a climate of fear and keeping victims, potential informants, witnesses, and others in fear of the Hells Angels and in fear of its members and associates through violence and threats of violence."