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Resurgence of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs)

 The resurgence of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) in the 1980s and 1990s is troubling to law enforcement officials at all levels, from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to state and local police and sheriff's departments. In this is seen burgeoning trafficking in controlled substances, particularly methamphetamine ("speed," "meth," "crank") and PCP ("angel dust") production, as well as firearms and munitions, including plastic explosives, bombs of all types, and antitank and antiarmor rockets and grenades (Penn, 1984; Sawyer, 1985; Anderson and Spears, 1986; Sessions, 1990; Serwer, 1992).

Despite a series of highly effective and publicized raids on OMGs across the United States and Canada throughout the 1970s and into the mid-1980s (Sawyer, 1985; McGuire, 1986; Serwer, 1992; Thornton, 1984, 1986), law enforcement organizations have more recently been forced to divert their attention away from OMGs to the increasing "crack" cocaine problem, and to a certain extent this is allowing OMGs to rebuild their organizations as many of those convicted and imprisoned are now being released (Serwer, 1992). It is widely believed that individuals such as Sonny Barger, regarded as the "organizing genius behind the Hells Angels," will reassert the leadership roles they held prior to their arrests and incarcerations (Serwer, 1992).

The origin of motorcycle gangs is usually attributed to the creation of the Hells Angels in Fontana, California, in 1950, by a group of World War II veterans (McGuire, 1986; others set the date as early as 1948), although the first incident to attract national attention occurred in 1947, in Hollister, California, when members of at least two groups, POBOB and the Market Street Commandos, effectively turned an American Motorcycle Association hill climb event into a week-long brawl (McGuire, 1986; Hopper and Moore, 1990). Later that year, and agai...

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