The Devils Diciples

The Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club is a second generation outlaw motorcycle club that was founded in Fontana in 1967.
The Devils Diciples is the second most famous, or infamous, outlaw motorcycle club to be launched in Fontana, the first being the quintessential outlaw biker organization, the Hell’s Angels, which was started on March 17, 1948 by the Bishop family.
The word outlaw in the term outlaw biker group carries a connotation which does not necessarily imply criminality, although that interpretation has now become common. Originally the label meant that such a club is not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and does not adhere to the AMA’s rules.
Outlaw motorcycle clubs gained cachet in the late 1940s, after the Second World War ended and substantial numbers of servicemen, many of whom were exposed to the chaos of combat, returned home, to a civilianized America where there were a large number of ex-military Harley Davidson motorcycles available for nothing down and practically nothing per month. Some rode to relax. Others for excitement or as a way to kill boredom, the same way they had killed so many Krauts or Japs. The camaraderie of wartime was recreated in a civilian context, in the form of a brotherhood of bikers.
Twenty years later, a new generation of servicemen, in some cases the sons of the men who had fought in World War II, were returning home from the Vietnam Conflict. 1967 was The Summer of Love. Hippies had replaced bobby soxers. A firestorm of social change was burning across the North American continent even as napalm fireballs were denuding swathes of the canopied jungle in Vietnam to clear out a way to rain greater destruction upon the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese regulators fanning into South Vietnam. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were on the upswing. Into this milieu were thrown twelve ex-servicemen, fresh from the trenches in Southeast Asia, who were now at liberty in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Those twelve ex-military men would coalesce into the original Devils Diciples chapter in Fontana.
Those original members were not illiterate. They intentionally misspelled the word disciples and they disposed with the possessive form out of a defiance of convention and to convey that they were not to be mistaken as being associated with any religious beliefs, even as their name self-consciously conjured the image of the Hells Angels they were emulating.
Already thought of as an outlaw biker gang, they would also become known as a one percent or 1% motorcycle club. The term “1% motorcycle club” is commonly applied to outlaw motorcycle clubs such as the Hells Angels, the Vagos, the Mongrels, the Devils Diciples, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, the Pagan or the Outlaws.
The expression “1%”, “one percenter” “1%er” or “1 percenter” was coined when the American Motorcycle Association, in an effort to defend itself and motorcycling in general, offered an official statement in response to the 1947 Hollister Riot in north central California, later recreated cinematically in the Marlon Brando movie, “The Wild One,” which propounded that 99 percent of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens. Not long after the comment was made by the American Motorcycle Association, some of the more daring clubs bragged that they represented the other one percent.
Gradually, the original Fontana Chapter of the Devils Diciples grew. Other chapters – in Montclair, Ontario and San Bernardino – sprouted locally. In time, the organization expanded, to other parts of California.
In 1969 the club went national with a chapter in Michigan. In the same year they also patched over the Paladins Motorcycle Club in Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky. The start-up of a chapter in Ontario, Canada made the Devils Diciples an international organization. In 1970 the motorcycle club further expanded into Ohio. The late 1970s also saw the forming of the Devils Diciples Arizona chapter and in the early 1980s the Indiana chapter of the Gladiators Motorcycle Club was patched over by the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club. There have since been chapters established in Alabama, Illinois, and Mississippi. California and Fontana would lose claim to the headquarters of the club to Michigan and Clinton Charter Township, Michigan, Port Huron, Michigan, and Detroit.
Perhaps the most famous of Devils Diciples would be Duane “Dog” Chapman, who built a reputation as a “bad ass” biker and semi-outlaw to become what is now a celebrated anti-crime advocate and bounty hunter, replete with a nationally syndicated television show.
Since 1995, a number of members of the club have been accused or convicted of selling or manufacturing illegal substances, primarily methamphetamine.
In November 2006, the U.S. District Court in Detroit closed its first major methamphetamine case with the sentencing of two Devils Diciples members and five associates in connection with manufacturing methamphetamine.
Federal law enforcement began a comprehensive investigation of the Devils Diciples in 2002, making what appeared to be a major step forward in that effort when on April 2, 2009 it carried out raids targeting the organization, arresting 18 Devils Diciples and seizing 42 firearms, 3,000 rounds of ammunition, three bullet-proof vests, $12,000, 15 casino-style slot machines, 1,000 Vicodin and OxyContin pills, 1½ pounds of methamphetamine and 55 pounds of marijuana. Among the locations hit in that raid were the home and New Baltimore, Michigan office of Michigan District Court Judge Paul Cassidy. Before the end of that month, charges were dropped against 17 of those arrested. Later that year, prosecutors requested dropping the last remaining charges against the sole remaining defendant, the club’s national president, Jeff “Fat Dog” Garvin Smith, “to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation and because the interests of justice require it.” The remaining charges Smith was to be tried for were being “a violent felon in possession of body armor” as well as “using a communications facility (a telephone) in furtherance of drug trafficking.” The only casualty of that chapter of the club’s history, it seemed, was Cassidy, a boyhood friend of Smith, who had frequently had dinner with his chum, including after the April 2009 arrests and raids. Cassidy was never charged, but was suspected of providing special treatment in his courtroom, where traffic tickets and misdemeanor offenses from Chesterfield Township, New Baltimore, New Haven and Lenox Township were heard, to members of the Devil’s Diciples, Cassidy took four days off work during the FBI investigation into his court activities. He cooperated with that investigation, even while denying he ever broke the law or engaged in any corruption of his public office. He returned to the bench after the four day hiatus but shortly thereafter submitted a retirement letter effective May 31, 2009 to then-Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.
In August 2011 Stephen J. Kinzey, a kinesiology professor at California State University, San Bernardino and the head of the San Bernardino Mountain Chapter of the Devils Diciples, was accused of distributing methamphetamine on behalf of the motorcycle club. Kinzey was never arrested, but turned himself in and posted bail.
In July, 2012 the earlier dropped case against Smith and the other 17 Devils Diciples was resuscitated as 31 Devils Diciples members in Michigan and Alabama were arrested by the FBI. More than 60 firearms and 6,000 rounds of ammunition were seized during the investigation. Eight methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories were located, raided and dismantled.
After the case against the 31 defendants went to trial two-and-a-half years later, on February 20, 2015, guilty verdicts were returned against six: Smith, aged 60; the group’s national vice president, Paul Anthony Darrah, 50, of Macomb Township, Michigan; Vincent John Witort, a.k.a. Holiday, 64, of California; Cary Dale Vandiver, aka “Gun Control,” 56, of Alabama; and Patrick McKeoun, aka “Magoo,” 60, of Alabama, all of whom were convicted of racketeering, drug manufacturing, drug possession, stealing motorcycles, theft, kidnapping, attempted murder, intimidation and lying to law enforcement agents. David Randy Drozdowski, aka D, was spared being convicted on the racketeering, conspiracy or other charges, but was convicted of assault and being a felon in possession.
According to prosecutors, five of the six convicted Devils Diciples members robbed, kidnapped and attempted to murder members of the Arizona Chapter for violating Devils Diciples 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, according to testimony. The victims where then loaded into the bed of a pickup truck, driven into the desert, dumped into ravines and left to die.
This year, after the case against him languished for more than four-and-a-half years, Kinzey forged a plea arrangement with San Bernardino County prosecutors forged a plea arrangement with Kinzey in which he pleaded guilty to PC 182, conspiracy to commit a crime, and PC 12022C, being armed with a firearm during a Health and Safety Code offense.
He was given a one-day suspended and a fine of $70 on each of his convictions, for a total of $140. He was put on probation for three years. It is widely believed that Kinzey was a cooperative informant in the case against Smith, Darrah, Witort Vandiver and McKeoun, all of whom were given life sentences. Kinzey is now believed to be in the federal witness protection program.

Leave a Reply