By David Amoruso
This month has been the bloodiest one yet in the entire history of outlaw motorcycle gangs. And it’s not even over. The spotlight was on Waco, Texas, where nine bikers were killed. But earlier this month, in the Netherlands, three bikers were wounded in a shootout. And yesterday, in Germany one was badly injured, while another died after being shot in the head. The Bandidos motorcycle club played a big role in the majority of these recent incidents and law enforcement is taking notice.
High Noon at Twin Peaks
It was the Wild Wilde West all over again. And just like in those days, this showdown took place at noon. On Sunday, May 17, at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, members of the Bandidos and Cossacks outlaw motorcycle clubs had gathered to talk about some issues. Talk escalated quickly into a fistfight, which turned into an all-out gunfight that spilled over into the restaurant’s parking lot and involved over 30 angry bikers shooting at one another.
When officers broke up the fight 9 bikers were dead and 18 wounded. The other attendees, around 170, were placed under arrest. Their mugshots plastered across numerous media outlets for all to see. Afterwards, according to CNN, “investigators combing the crime scene have found more than 300 weapons, and they expect the numbers will go up.”
Though it remains unclear what started this rampage - the outlaw bikers are not talking to police to give their side of the story – there are plenty of rumors and theories. “The Waco brawl […] is believed to have been not directly over a parking space or a bathroom stall spat, as had been reported early on. The new theory is that an accident may have kick started the melee,” The Daily Beast reported. A police sergeant told the website that, “Somebody had their foot run over and started the disturbance in the parking lot.”
Furthermore, the sergeant said there was also an interloper at the coalition meeting. “We know an additional biker gang that was not invited to this meeting showed up,” he told The Daily Beast. “Hence, what we were calling somewhat of a turf war, if you will.”
An anonymous biker informant told CNN a similar story. “The Bandidos are the biggest motorcycle gang in Texas, and they don't allow other motorcycle gangs to enter that state. They will allow other motorcycles clubs to exist, but they're not allowed to wear that state bottom rocker. If they do, they face the onslaught of the Bandidos,” he said.
Marking territory in Europe
The last decade saw a huge increase of outlaw motorcycle gang chapters throughout the world. Many of the established clubs like the Hells Angels and Bandidos either expanded into new territory or tried to stop other clubs from encroaching on theirs.
In Europe, bikers are currently in the midst of exactly such a turf war as was mentioned before. The Hells Angels in the Netherlands were long considered the dominant biker gang in Europe, but to their dismay, they have seen several clubs challenge their hegemony in the country of tulips and windmills. Clubs like Satudarah and No Surrender are expanding rapidly and have opened chapters in Hells Angels territory.
Meanwhile, their fiercest global rivals, the Bandidos, have also set up shop in the Netherlands and have been welcomed with dynamite as several bombs exploded at the residence of their Dutch president.
Violence begets violence and it didn’t take long for the Bandidos to return the favor.
On Thursday night, May 7, the Bandidos wounded three members of the Red Devils, considered the biggest support club of the Hells Angels, during a fight in Sittard. Shots were also fired in an altercation between members of the two clubs.
With Belgium and Germany just across the border from Sittard, a city in the south of the Netherlands, the bikers have an easy get-away. The Bandidos already have a presence in those, and many other European countries. In Scandinavia they have fought a fierce battle with the Hells Angels over territory and similar violent incidents have taken place in Germany.
The latest burst of violence occurred yesterday in the German town of Würselen, located just across the border with the Netherlands. According to police, two rival groups were having a heated argument at a bar. Around 9pm, shots were fired from the street outside into the bar. An 18-year-old member of a biker gang was hit in the head and died, while a 28-year-old man was shot in the stomach and badly wounded. It is unclear who fired the shots or why.
Nor is it known which biker clubs were involved. However, German police have been in contact with their Dutch colleagues to see if there perhaps is a link with the violence that occurred earlier this month.
Can biker gangs be stopped?
What is clear to all is that something needs to be done about outlaw motorcycle gangs. In recent decades they have become a bona fide global organized crime threat and they continue to grow in numbers and expand their territory, despite extra pressure from law enforcement.
Exactly what needs to be done remains unclear. Gangsters Inc.’s piece How to destroy outlaw bikers has tried to give authorities some useful tips with the help of two experts on outlaw motorcycle gangs, but whether these tactics will work remains to be seen.
As former ATF agent Jay Dobyns told us, “They are embedded as a part of Americana. From Altamont to Sons of Anarchy - they saturate our culture and are an important piece of our country’s fascination with crime and punishment. They are America's export of organized crime. We will never, ever eliminate them.”
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