US Has 300 Outlaw Biker Gangs
'These guys have never gone away'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2015 3:43 AM CDT
Updated May 20, 2015 6:21 AM CDT
Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas.   (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
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(Newser) – Outlaw motorcycle gangs are in the spotlight after Sunday's slaughter in Waco, though law enforcement officials say they've been thriving for many years out of the public eye. "These guys have never gone away. I'm shocked that people are shocked that this happened," the ATF's Los Angeles chief tells the Wall Street Journal. He was part of a team that infiltrated the Hells Angels more than a decade ago. The Hells Angels, along with the Bandidos, are among the biggest outlaw groups in the US, but the Justice Department says there are more than 300 active ones, the Journal reports. The Waco shootout is believed to have stemmed from a Bandidos-Cossacks feud over the latter club's wearing of a "Texas" patch.

Police in Waco have called for a truce between biker factions, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports. A police spokesman says the fighting on Sunday appears to have started after a biker's foot was run over outside the Twin Peaks restaurant, though he adds that investigators are finding witnesses and suspects deceptive. Around 170 bikers charged with engaging in organized crime are still in custody, though the wife of one of them tells the AP plenty of innocent bikers were rounded up. She says her husband—a member of the Vise Grip club—had just arrived when the shooting started. He took off and was arrested when he came back for his bike, she says. Police arrested all sorts of "nonviolent, noncriminal people," she says. "I mean, they got the Bikers for Christ guys in there."
 

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