jail cell

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Ex-National President Of 'Devils Diciples' Motorcycle Gang Gets Life Behind Bars

November 17, 2018 - 12:05 pm

CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) - It's life in prison for the former national president of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Gang, which was headquartered in Clinton Township and operated across the country.

Jeff Smith, who was nicknamed Fat Dog, was sentenced in federal court this week after he was convicted on racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

A six-month trial included evidence that Smith, 64, took part in and told members of the gang to beat up and shoot people, including other members of the gang, for not adhering to rules or disrespecting the group.  

In total, eight members of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club (which is intentionally misspelled) were convicted during two trials, including the national president (Smith), the national vice president and national warlord, and three others, for their participation in various criminal acts, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, methamphetamine production and trafficking, illegal firearms offenses, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury and other federal offenses.

In addition to Smith, Devils Diciples National Warlord Cary Dale Vandiver, a/k/a “Gun Control,” 59, of Sand Mountain, Alabama, was sentenced to life imprisonment on November 1, 2018; methamphetamine cook Patrick Michael McKeoun, a/k/a “Magoo,” 59, of Birmingham, Alabama, was sentenced to 372 months on November 8, 2018; and Alabama leader, Michael Rich, a/k/a “Tatu,” 62 of Anniston, Alabama was sentenced to 360 months imprisonment on October 26, 2018.

Awaiting sentencing are four remaining defendants who were found guilty by a jury of engaging in a RICO conspiracy, methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, violent crimes in aid of racketeering and various substantive charges. Those individuals include: National Vice President Paul Anthony Darrah, aka “Pauli,” 54, of Macomb Township; and “West Cost Boss” Vincent John Witort, a/k/a “Holiday,” 68, of Fontana, California.

Victor Castano, 46, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan and David Randy Drozdowski, a/k/a “D,” 42, of Fair Haven, Michigan, were also found guilty in a second trial in late 2015 of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy and methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy.

Drozdowski was separately found guilty by a jury of committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering and being a felon in possession of ammunition, while Castano was separately found guilty of obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury.

The remaining sentencings have been set at later dates before U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan.

According to evidence presented at these trials, the Devils Diciples is a motorcycle gang with its national headquarters in Clinton Township. For decades, the Devils Diciples operated regional chapters in cities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere, and engaged in criminal activities to protect the enterprise and for financial gain, according to the government.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that membership in the Devils Diciples is based in part on successful completion of a probationary period, followed by formal approval by one or more members or leaders. Members, commonly referred to as “full patched members,” are required to own Harley Davidson motorcycles and are required to follow orders from the gang’s leadership, including orders to assault, threaten and
intimidate others, to transport and distribute drugs, to lie to law enforcement and to hide or destroy evidence. Members are also required to follow the Devils Diciples by-laws and attend regular meetings referred to as “church.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Smith was the National President and Darrah was the National Vice President of the gang. In those roles, they were responsible for overall management of the activities of the other Devils Diciples members and chapters, including giving final approval to any activity generally affecting the gang as a whole. Vandiver was the National Warlord – or enforcer – of the gang. With other gang members, the leaders also participated directly in criminal activities both for financial gain on behalf of the Devils Diciples, and to protect the gang and its members.

Specifically, the evidence showed that at Smith’s direction, individuals including members and associates of the gang were beaten and robbed, and that Smith also participated in this activity directly. For instance, in late 1998, Smith shot a Devils Diciples member who failed to abide by the gang’s rules. And, in August 2008, Smith brutally assaulted the girlfriend of another Devils Diciples member because he believed she disrespected him and the gang.

Additionally, the evidence showed that Smith possessed state and federal law enforcement manuals regarding outlaw motorcycle gangs marked “For Official Use Only” and “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” and numerous documents related to criminal matters involving members of the Devils Diciples, including police reports, search warrants, affidavits, indictments and witness interview transcripts. The evidence showed that the documents were used for the purposes of counter-surveillance and to identify suspected informants. Suspected informants or members who failed to follow the gang’s rules were frequently thrown out of the gang, or “run down the road.” The evidence showed that when a member was stripped of his membership, the gang seized the member’s property and motorcycle, by violent means if necessary. For instance, the evidence at trial showed that in the mid-1990s, members of the gang murdered a former member for retaking motorcycle after the gang had “run him down the road” and seized his motorcycle.

The other defendants were also full patched members of the gang, who committed several other acts of violence.

For example, in August 2003, Witort and other gang members traveled from California and elsewhere to Arizona where they robbed, kidnapped and attempted to murder members of the gang’s Arizona Chapter for violating the gang’s rules. Inside the Arizona clubhouse, the victims were bound with duct tape and zip ties, and severely beaten with baseball bats, firearms, tasers, knives, and other weapons. The victims’ were stripped of personal possessions, such as phones, wallets, and shoes. They were then loaded into the bed of a pick-up truck, driven out into the desert, beaten further, and dumped into ravines, and left to die. The evidence showed that the beatings were planned by the national leaders, including Witort, and that Smith later congratulated participants, telling him in a letter that the Devils Diciples were “all proud of you.”

Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that in 2012, at a bar in Chesterfield Township, Michigan, Drozdowski and another Devils Diciples member assaulted a man who they mistaken believed to be a rival motorcycle gang member for being present in Devils Diciples territory. The victim was knocked unconscious and suffered multiple fractures to his face and jaw. Drozdowski and the other Devils Diciples member then ripped the leather vest off of the unconscious victim.

In addition to the four trial defendants sentenced recently, over 50 members and associates of the Devil’s Diciples have pleaded guilty to various crimes as result of this investigation. The investigation further resulted in the seizure of more than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and the dismantling of eight methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories across the country.