The former national president of the Clinton Township-based Devil’s Diciples Motorcycle Club was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison by a federal judge.
Jeff “Fat Dog” Garvin Smith, 64, of Mount Clemens, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Robert Cleland of U.S. District Court following years of legal proceedings that resulted in his conviction on several criminal charges.
Smith was among six defendants convicted of racketeering, methamphetamine production and trafficking, violent acts in aid of racketeering, firearms charges, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury and other charges for acts over a nearly 20-year period both locally and in several states following a six-month jury trial in 2014-15 and a second trial in 2015 in federal court in Detroit. Two other defendants were convicted of lesser charges in the second trial.
More than 50 members and associates of the Devil’s Diciples have pleaded guilty to various crimes as result of the investigation. Over 20 of those individuals testified against the defendants as part of deals with authorities.
Smith is the fourth and most prominent member of the DDMC to be sentenced as part of the investigation into the club’s activities over decades after he and several co-defendants were indicted in 2012.
“The life sentence imposed on this Defendant is a clear indication of the seriousness of the violence he engaged in and how committed the law enforcement community is to stop this kind of organized violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater, Detroit Division of the FBI.
DDMC national warlord Cary Dale “Gun Control” Vandiver, 59, of Sand Mountain, Ala., was sentenced Nov. 1 to life in prison while “meth” cook Patrick Michael “Magoo” McKeoun, 59, of Birmingham, Ala., was sentenced Nov. 8 to 31 years. Alabama leader, Michael “Tatu” Rich, 62 of Anniston, Ala., was sentenced Oct. 26 to 30 years.
Awaiting sentencing are four remaining convicted defendants including national vice president Paul “Pauli” Anthony Darrah, 54, of Macomb Township and “West Cost boss” Vincent “Holiday” John Witort, 68, of Fontana, Calif.
Found guilty of lesser charges and awaiting sentencing are David “D” Randy Drozdowski, 42, of Fair Haven, convicted of committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering and being a felon in possession of ammunition, and Victor Castano, 46, of St. Clair Shores, who was found guilty of obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a news release Smith’s life term is appropriate.
“For over three decades, the Devils Diciples spread fear, violence and their poisonous drugs throughout Michigan and the country,” Schneider said. “The extent of the crimes committed by members of this outlaw motorcycle gang is staggering, and they avoided prosecution over the years through witness intimidation and obstruction of justice at all levels.”
The Devils Diciples for decades operated regional chapters in communities throughout Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere, and engaged in criminal activities to protect the enterprise and for financial gain, federal officials said.
The headquarters building was located on Gratiot Avenue near Hall Road.
Evidence presented at trial showed that club members went through a process to become “full patched members,” federal officials said.
They were required to own a Harley Davidson motorcycle, follow by-laws and orders from leadership, and attend regular meetings referred to as “church,” officials said.
Smith and Darrah were responsible for overall management of members and chapters, and Vandiver was the enforcer, officials said.
Smith directed and participated in beatings and robberies, officials said. Smith shot a Devils Diciples member in 1998 and brutally assaulted the girlfriend of another Devils Diciples member in 2008.
Additionally, evidence showed Smith possessed state and federal law enforcement manuals regarding outlaw motorcycle gangs and documents related to investigation of the club including police reports, search warrants, affidavits, indictments and witness interview transcripts. Those were used for counter-surveillance and to identify suspected informants, officials said.
Suspected informants or members who failed to follow the gang’s rules were frequently thrown out of the gang, or “run down the road” and had their motorcycle seized. In the 1990s, a member who retook his confiscated motorcycle was murdered, officials said.
In August 2003, in what became known as the “Box Canyon” incident, Witort and other gang members traveled from California and elsewhere to Arizona, where they robbed, kidnapped and attempted to murder members of the gang’s Arizona Chapter for violating the gang’s rules, officials said. The evidence showed the beatings were planned by the national leaders.
In 2012 at a Chesterfield Township bar, Drozdowski and another Devil’s Diciples member assaulted a man who they mistaken believed to be a rival motorcycle gang member because he was in the club’s “territory.”
The investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, and the dismantling of eight meth labs across the country.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saima Mohsin and Eric Strauss.
The cases were investigated by the FBI, Michigan State Police, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and 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.
Source Macomb Daily