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Large motorcycle gang gathering passes uneventfully

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

Law enforcement officials in several communities kept a wary eye on the Pagans MC outlaw motorcycle gang as up to 150 members rumbled through the Northern Shenandoah Valley Saturday.

No complaints were reported during their appearance along a route that ran from Winchester to Front Royal, police said.

"There was no trouble," said Richard Swartz, team leader of the Northwest Virginia Gang Task Force. We had no issues, no complaints whatsoever in any of the jurisdictions they were in."

The gathering, although uneventful, was notable for its sheer size, Swartz said.

"Since 2005, this is the largest event we've seen in our area," he said.

Capt. Mark Werner of the Front Royal police went back even further, calling it the largest assembly of motorcycle gang members he has seen in 22 years with the department.

Swartz said law enforcement agencies throughout the region were notified of the gang's arrival around noon on Saturday.

"The region responded," he said. "The departments took care of what they needed to take care of."

Swartz said the Pagans' appearance in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties included several smaller, supporting motorcycle clubs that added up to about 150 riders. Riders from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware were identified in the group, he said.

He said the Pagans' stops included Grove's Winchester Harley Davidson on Independence Drive; the Blue Fox Billiards Restaurant Bar and Grill, 1160 Millwood Pike, Winchester; and the Lone Oak Tavern on Lord Fairfax Highway in Clarke County.

Werner estimated about 100 Pagans arrived in Front Royal at the Stonewall Jackson restaurant and bar on North Royal Avenue around 4 p.m. and lingered inside and outside the building until about 6:30 p.m. Neither Swartz nor Werner had an explanation for the gang's visit.

Werner said he was confident that police agencies in the area could have responded effectively to any disturbances through mutual aid agreements, but the unusual size of the gathering was a concern.

"Between all the agencies in the area, we would have been able to handle anything that did happen, but you can't plan for everything," Werner said.

While the Pagans came and went without incident in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, other parts of the country have experienced differently.

In 2009, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of West Virginia unsealed a 44-count indictment charging 55 Pagans, including some from Virginia, with crimes that included kidnapping, racketeering, robbery, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder.

In its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, the FBI identifies the Pagans as one of about 3,000 outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States. The agency defines an outlaw motorcycle gang as "organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises."

The agency's report lists Virginia among the states "experiencing the most significant increases in (outlaw motorcycle gangs), increasing the potential for gang-related turf wars with other local (motorcycle gangs.)"

The report mentions the Pagans, with the Wheels of Soul, Mongols, Outlaws and Vagos, among the motorcycle gangs that have expanded in several states recently.


This event was well done and a great time. Even the statement above says that! Why does the reporter and the Police want to make it look as tho these were bad people? They all came together to have a GOOD time and show that 1%ers and bikers in general are good people. Nobody broke any laws and had no intent to do so. We all just enjoyed and beautiful day with our friends and family. Next time you bring up a congressman, why not bring up all the congressmen that have been arrested in the last tens years. I believe their numbers of arrests would surprise you.
People really need to stop watching Sons of Anarchy. Times have changed! One last thing, most of the people attending that ride are VETERANS! who love this Country.

next time the writer decides to mention past information , he should include all the facts not just the ones he wants to. Like almost all of the 55 pagans from 2009 either had their cases dismissed or reduced to a small fine. only a couple had any real charges. compare that with the united states congress which is smaller in size and see how many of them have felonies in the last 4 years!!


The cops are also VETERANS, as are the the ones who man "motorcycle only" checkpoints, were members of the SWAT who kicked down Jose Guerena's door and murdered him in front of his family, in Pima County, AZ


I agree with the above comments. I have had 2 siblings that were part of "bad motorcycle gangs" according to the law... both have passed away due to unrelated circumstances, but the bikers were always there for my family. It seems to me that many judge far to quickly and in some aspects "normal people" are the ones who usually start the trouble & the "gang" members finish it if needed, yet they are the ones that get the blame for it all.
To all the bikers... stay safe... & do your best to ignore the ignorance of many.


I had the opportunity to hang out at some fundraisers with some of the PMC in Virginia a few times they are great guys with big hearts that like to have a good time. What's wrong with that? I really enjoyed hanging out with them. People seem to forget quickly about corrupt government and police but let one bad person in a group that just really likes riding motorcycles and having fun with brothers and family no one can forget that. I think it is because of the jealousy and feeling of rejection because they don't just open their doors and accept everybody or that most people just can't commit to being there for their fellow man when they may need help.

In 1970, 5 Pagans kidnapped, tortured and murdered my brother and his best friend in Fairfax County. 4 other Pagans were indicted on lesser charges. This happened because a Pagan was murdered previously BUT neither my brother nor his friend commited that murder or were involved in any way. Seems it didn't matter though.

My brother and his friend were members of the Saints, my brother was only 19 years old and never even owned a motorcycle. He just joined the gang because his best friend did. Stuff you do when you are young and dumb. Pardon me for not being sympathetic to the Pagans' cause. I am not trying to paint my brother as an angel and I do not condone my brother joining a gang, but I sure don't think it should have cost him his life.

In summation, I despise all gangs of this nature and I believe that if people put as much effort in doing good as they put forth in doing bad, it would be a much better world!

Don't tell me they didn't break any laws. I saw a bunch of them screaming down Rte. 55 at around 90 mph!

wasn't us - we weren't on route 55.

when you see a large group of bikes traveling in an area with intersections, bikes near the front of the pack will stop and block an intersection till the rest of the pack comes through. this because traffic lights don't stay green long enough for everyone to make it through, and typically 90% of the group is unfamiliar with the area (much like a funeral procession). those who stayed behind to block the intersection will sometimes return to the front of the pack at, um, higher than normal speeds, as they're the ones who know the route and have made note of where such critical intersections are beforehand.

it's much safer to keep the group unbroken than to have lost, frustrated stragglers trying to keep up. so please, when you see a large group of bikes together on the road, don't try to break it apart. we'll be out of your way shortly.

correction - we were indeed on 55 for about 1/4 mile in town. no way any of us got above 40 mph there, even in catch-up mode.

It appears there are two of us...

"when you see a large group of bikes traveling in an area with intersections, bikes near the front of the pack will stop and block an intersection till the rest of the pack comes through. this because traffic lights don't stay green long enough for everyone to make it through"

I guess bikers have some God given authority to block intersections and run red lights as long as it's not their hometown????

Yeah, no laws broken.

Don't break the law, if you all are such great people, a red light means stop, not keep going because you might get lost. Everyone else has to stop at a light, you need to as well. Stop for a funeral is not a good comparison.


"In its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, the FBI identifies the Pagans as one of about 3,000 outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States. The agency defines an outlaw motorcycle gang as "organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises."

The above quote is ridiculous. There may be 3,000 outlaw motorcycle clubs in the USA. However, the term "outlaw" simply means that none of these clubs are registered with the American Motorcycle Association. The term "outlaw" was applied to unaffiliated clubs back in the late 1940's because they were not allowed to participate in AMA competitions and were "outlawed".

Stock car drivers who were affiliated with NASCAR were also branded with the "outlaw" tag during the same period of time because NASCAR was unaffiliated with AAA which, before it became primarily a towing insurance company, was the umbrella organization for auto racing in the United States. Drivers who were unaffiliated with AAA were "outlawed" from major auto races like the Indianapolis 500. However, you do not see newspaper articles accusing NASCAR racing teams as "conduits for criminal enterprises"

Dubbing any and all motorcycle clubs "conduits for criminal enterprises" simply because they are not registered with the AMA is slanderous. If there are over 3,000 outlaw motorcycle clubs in the USA the chances are that there is a club in or near everybody's hometown. Misinforming the public about people's neighbors, co-workers and friends is irresponsible. Any reporter writing an article about motorcycle clubs should first learn what the terms "outlaw", "one percenter", "motorcycle club" and "riding club" mean. This information can be easily gleaned in five minutes through a Google search.

You do realize that the FBI's definition of "outlaw" and the AMA's definition are two separate things don't you? The quote you included even gives the FBI's definition of an "outlaw motorcycle gang", so it shouldn't be that hard to understand. I doubt they consulted the AMA when compiling their assesment to find out who was an "outlaw" and who was not.


I do realize that the FBI and the press's definition of "outlaw" are two different things and that when they use that term they really mean 1%er. However, the 3,000 club figure is only accurate if "outlaw" is definded as a club unaffiliated with the AMA and rides American V Twin cruises with an engine displacement of over 1200 cc's. There are NOT 3,000 motorcycle clubs in the USA who wear the 1%er Diamond on their cuts. There are probably less than 5,000 bikers who wear the diamond. Implying that there are 3,000 1%er clubs is a blatant attempt to misinform the public.

If the PMC are such upstanding Citizens please explain their Shenanigans years back at Watermelon park (Bluegrass festival). Many of us Local folk still remeber their not so frendly actions (assault, strong arm robbery, Etc. etc.)



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