News Item: Motorcycle gang returning to region
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by MJF
Thursday 20 July 2006 - 10:54:08

The Plain Dealer

John Caniglia
Plain Dealer Reporter
The Avengers are ready to ride again in Northeast Ohio.

The motorcycle gang, once crippled by undercover police work, has started a chapter in Huron County, west of Lorain County, according to authorities and the gang's Web site.

The move comes six years after 19 members of the gang's Elyria chapter, as well as the national president of the club, were convicted of federal drug and conspiracy charges.

Police say the new chapter also emerges as motorcycle gangs are growing. As thousands of outlaw bikers from the Easy Rider years grow gray, they are being replaced by younger, meaner members.

They're becoming more organized, more sophisticated and more violent," said Steve Cook, a police detective in Independence, Mo., and a national expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs.

In Toledo, more than 25 members of the Outlaws have been convicted in the last two years of drug and weapons charges. In Indiana, investigators have raided several homes of the Sons of Silence.

Huron County Sheriff Richard Sutherland said his office has information that the club may be operating in a former bar on Ohio 18 in Clarksfield Township, in the eastern part of the county.

It's about eight miles from Lorain County.

The Avengers' national Web site welcomed the new club, but does not list an address or a phone number for it.

Huron County auditor's records show that Howard Dick, a member of the Avengers, bought the former bar for $35,000
Dick, 56, was convicted in 2000 of racketeering and sentenced to 33 months in prison. He could not be reached for comment.

The Avengers have five other clubs in Ohio: in Columbus, Toledo, Tiffin and two in the rural southern part of the state. The club's stronghold has been the Midwest.

Cook, the Missouri gang expert, said the Avengers have a respected name among national biker gangs, as they "refuse to be pushed around by anyone."

The club had been a fixture in Elyria for years. It hated police and its biker enemies, the Iron Coffins.

It saved its greatest disgust for informants, whom members threatened with death.

In 1995, law enforcement officers received a break when a member sold 8 pounds of marijuana to an undercover Lorain County sheriff's deputy.

The member agreed to become an informant and helped an undercover detective join the club, believing he had connections to the criminal underworld.

The Avengers liked the officer so much, they wanted to elect him as a high-ranking officer in the Lorain County group. He refused. Months later, they were arrested.

Those sentenced to prison, like Dick, have been released.

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