Three Members of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Gang Convicted of Racketeering, Drug Trafficking, and Charges Related to Suborning Perjury and Obstruction of Justice
After a three-month trial, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Michigan convicted three members of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Gang today for their participation in various criminal acts, including Racketeering Conspiracy, methamphetamine production and trafficking, marijuana trafficking, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice, and other federal offenses.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan and Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division made the announcement.
“These defendants were responsible for violence and trafficking in methamphetamine in Macomb County and across the country,” said U.S. Attorney McQuade. “We are grateful for the work of the investigating agencies and the jury to bring them to justice.”
“The defendants in this case ran an illegal enterprise spanning multiple states, and specialized in violent and criminal activity,” said Special Agent in Charge Gelios. “Today’s convictions, coupled with prior judicial outcomes, have dramatically impacted the ability of this criminal organization to operate, and are the result of a strong partnership of our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.”
Devils Diciples members Victor Carlos Castano, a/k/a “Vic,” of Warren, Michigan, Michael Kenneth Rich, a/k/a “Tatu,” of Anniston, Alabama and David Randy Drozdowski, aka “D,” 39 of Fair Haven, Michigan, were all found guilty by a jury of engaging in a RICO conspiracy. Both Castano and Rich were found guilty of suborning perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice as well. Both Castano and Drozdowski were found guilty of engaging in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, with Drozdowski being found guilty of a separate count of manufacturing methamphetamine, and Castano being found guilty of engaging in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy. Castano was found not guilty of possession of meth precursors, and Rich was found not guilty of involvement in the mariuana conspiracy. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled at a later date before U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan.
According to evidence presented at trial, the Devils Diciples (which the group intentionally misspell) is a motorcycle gang with its national headquarters in Clinton Township, Michigan. The Devils Diciples operated regional chapters in cities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere, and engaged in criminal activities for financial gain.
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, various leaders 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. 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.
Additionally, the evidence showed that members of the gang 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.
For example, in August 2003, other gang members 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 firearms, tasers, knives, and other weapons. The victims were then loaded into the bed of a pick-up truck, driven out into the desert, dumped into ravines, and left to die. The evidence showed that leaders helped to plan the beatings and that later congratulated one of the participants, telling him in a letter that the Devils Diciples were “all proud of you.”
In 2006, Castano was charged in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan with Marijuana trafficking, felon-in-possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. The evidence demonstrated that at the February 2006 jury trial, Castano and Rich suborned the perjury of another Devils Diciple (“Gadget”) from Alabama and his girlfriend, by encouraging them to falsely claim that the firearm found in Castano’s possession was Gadget’s girlfriends and that Castano had no knowledge of the firearm. Separately, Rich threatened to get the Devil Diciple’s girlfriend’s 16 year old daughter addicted to drugs and thereafter prostitute her as part of the conspiracy to have the girlfriend testify falsely.
Additionally, the evidence demonstrated that in 2012, at a bar in Chesterfield Township, Michigan, Drozdowski and another Devils Diciples member assaulted a perceived 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 defendants convicted today, over 50 members and associates of the Devil’s Diciples have been convicted at trial or 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.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Michigan State Police, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the County of Macomb Enforcement Team (COMET), with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.