I knew something was wrong the second I heard Willie Beard’s voice. For one thing, he was calling the landline; he’d never done that. For another, I’d gotten to know him over the past several months, and the dude was almost 100 percent night owl, but now he was reaching out on a Sunday afternoon.
This was December 2004 in Northeast Ohio, up near Cleveland. Beard was a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, the country’s most notorious outlaw biker gang. I was a founding member of the Order of Blood Motorcycle Club, the first biker gang ever sanctioned by the Aryan Brotherhood, the country’s most notorious prison gang. As far as Beard knew, we were associates and friends. He was right only about the first part. The guy had no idea that I was also an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), let alone that I was running an investigation involving 18 undercovers from four law enforcement agencies in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Or did he know?
That’s the question that rattled around my skull.
“Hey, Junkyard,” Beard said. “We need to talk.”
“There’s something I need to show you.”
“What is it?”
“Not on the phone,” he said. “I had my car swept for bugs. It’s clean.”
Beard told me to meet him at the McDonald’s on Interstate 90 and Route 534 and asked if I could be there in 30 minutes — except he wasn’t asking.
I said, “Yeah, sure,” hung up, and looked over at my fellow undercover agents, Shorty, Brian, and Bailey. “This. Cannot. Be good.”
We slapped together a quick plan: They’d change out of their Nazi-themed biker gear — nothing’s more conspicuous than guys wearing SS lightning bolts and swastikas — and watch us from the lot across from McDonald’s, where they’d act as my cover team. I’d carry a gun, but I wouldn’t wear a wire; for all I knew, Beard would start our little meeting by patting me down. We all agreed that if I got in the car and Beard drove off, then I was getting out whether he stopped the car or not.
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I found Beard standing inside the main door, sipping coffee. He was a big guy, fit from kickboxing, though you couldn’t see it beneath the winter jacket. I don’t even think we shook hands. He just said, “Let’s go to my car,” so I followed him to the parking lot, and we got into his small SUV.
When the doors were closed, Beard reached into his coat pocket. I thought to myself, Is this guy about to off me in a Mickey D’s parking lot? My pistol was tucked into the right-side waistband of my jeans and covered by my old Carhartt work coat. I watched Beard’s hands and leaned toward him a bit in case I needed to draw my gun.
But I didn’t. Beard pulled out a small envelope that I noticed was addressed to the Lake East chapter of the Hells Angels — Beard’s chapter. He handed it to me and said, “Take a look.”
It had photocopies of two pictures. Next to one picture, someone had written, “Nazi Jim — ATF Agent.” Next to the other one: “Bailey — ATF Agent.”
I did my best to play it cool. Beard looked at me and said, “Are these dudes in your club? Is that Nazi Jim? Is that Bailey?”
I studied the picture like I meant it. That was Nazi Jim alright, and yeah, he was an ATF agent and a member of the Order of Blood Motorcycle Club. The guy labeled as Bailey was actually a different ATF agent with a similar look and build; the picture was so grainy that he’d been misidentified.
After a few seconds of looking at the pictures, I turned to Beard and shook my head. I said, “I’ve never seen these guys before.”
Then I waited for him to make his next move.
* * *
How exactly did I become the co-leader of a motorcycle gang sanctioned by the Aryan Brotherhood? To be honest, it kind of happened by accident. The agency never said, “Hey, Frank, go out and befriend a bunch of Aryan Brotherhood members and help start their motorcycle gang.” I was never told I’d be palling around with some of the Ohio Aryan Brotherhood’s most notorious members. But things never go as expected when you work undercover.
By that point in my career, I’d spent the better part of 18 years working undercover for the ATF. My specialty was outlaw biker-gang infiltrations. I should mention here that they call themselves “motorcycle clubs.” But these aren’t groups of Sunday cruisers. They have track records as criminal enterprises, which is why law enforcement (and respectable humans) refer to them as gangs.
By 2004, I’d infiltrated the Brothers Motorcycle Club in Columbus, Ohio, and the Vagos club out in Las Vegas. I’d been in a couple armed standoffs and heard a major gang leader order a hit on another undercover ATF agent who happened to be my best friend, Darrin Kozlowski. I’d also played undercover support roles in cases targeting the Outlaws, the Mongols, and the Warlocks. All told, a handful of guys and I, who collectively dedicated hundreds of years on these cases, put hundreds of seriously bad people behind bars for armed violent crimes, attempted murder, weapons sales, and countless other charges. And I picked up a lot of tattoos along the way.
In 2001, when I got to the ATF field office in Youngstown, Ohio, I wasn’t supposed to be undercover; I was supposed to be running my group and spending some much-needed time with my wife and our newly adopted daughters. I was still getting adjusted to normal life after an 18-month undercover case. I was happy for the break, but also miserable; even though I was glad to be living without the 24/7 paranoia, something was missing — that rush of living the life and catching these bad guys and beating them at their own game.
A year into my time in Youngstown, I got a call from Lieutenant Tom Doyle of the Eastlake Police Department, near Cleveland. He said, “Would you be interested in taking a look at the Hells Angels with us?” Doyle explained that there was a big Hells Angels presence up there; the Lake East and Cleveland chapters ran a lot of drugs and weapons, but law enforcement just couldn’t get the evidence they needed. Doyle said he had a confidential informant—a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who’d nearly beat a guy to death in a bar was facing hard time and hoping to knock a few years off his sentence. So ATF formed a task force with the Eastlake police, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio State Adult Parole Authority.
When we met the confidential informant — we call them CIs — he told us about another Aryan Brotherhood member, James “Aryan Jim” Blomquist, who went by AJ.
AJ knew how to build machine guns.
The plan was for our CI to introduce AJ to an undercover agent whose street name was Nazi Jim, have the agent buy some machine guns from him, and shut him down. I’d run things from the field office. But when the meet day came, I asked the CI what he’d told AJ about my undercover guy. The CI looked right at me and said, “I gave him your description.”
“Yeah.” The CI was a young guy, and I was about 40. He said, “I told AJ that your name was Junkyard and that you know my dad from county jail.”
“What else did you tell him about me?”
The CI said, “I told him you and my dad used to go to bars and wrestle bears.”
He said it like wrestling bears was a normal thing to do.
And just like that, I went from being a family man, to being Junkyard, a guy who wrestles wild animals in public.
* * *
Growing up Italian-American in a gritty Rust Belt city, I was exposed to a rough crowd. I was comfortable around bad guys and vice versa. At the intro, Nazi Jim and AJ and I spent two or three hours drinking beers and whatnot. I dropped little hints of some of my criminal business — enough to let him know I was looking for opportunities. AJ was way more forthright. He told me straight up, “I’m a captain in the Aryan Brotherhood,” and pulled down his shirt collar to show me the tattoo on his chest indicating his rank.
Soon enough he told me that if I could get all the parts for machine guns, then he could build them for me. No serial numbers. Totally untraceable. Later, I went online and ordered all the parts, then dropped them with AJ a couple days later. A few days after that, Nazi Jim and I met him in a parking lot outside Cleveland. There were three Sten machine guns with 20-round mags, the same weapons the Brits used in World War II. They looked like they were straight from the manufacturer. A few days later, we asked AJ to make 10 more. We said we’d pay $500 apiece.
AJ started calling me every morning just to shoot the shit. I was supposed to be bowing out but I told my boss, “Hey, I gotta keep going. He’s expecting me to be involved. He likes me.” (I did not like AJ.) I had to twist some arms at ATF, but soon I was also buying drugs and contraband from AJ.
On one of our calls, we got to talking about our love of money and how we wanted to make more. AJ knew I rode motorcycles, and before long he said, “You know, my Aryan brothers and me, we’ve been trying to get a motorcycle club going for a long time.”
AJ wanted to help the Aryan Brotherhood get control of drug and weapons sales in northeast Ohio, which required competing with the Hells Angels and their criminal network. From there, he proposed, they’d take it nationwide. The way AJ saw it, if he was gonna go head-to-head with a motorcycle club, he had to be part of one, and that organization had to have serious power.
Up to that point, there hadn’t been an Aryan Brotherhood-sanctioned motorcycle club that I or any of the other ATF agents had heard about. By most accounts, it was founded in the early 1960s in California’s San Quentin State Prison and kept growing on both sides of the bars. Some Aryan Brotherhood members believed in the whole white-power cause; some just rolled with it to stay safe in prison — not that burying your head in the sand makes it okay to be a white supremacist.
On the phone, I listened patiently as AJ told me about his visions of criminal greatness, and I told him how brilliant he was. Then he surprised me. AJ said, “Let’s make this happen, Junkyard. I’ll bring five guys, and you bring five guys, and we’ll start a club.”
Neither of us had a clue how big this would get.
* * *
On Saint Patrick’s Day 2004, I brought five guys to a bar in Eastlake, Ohio. Four of them were fellow ATF agents: Ivan, Nazi Jim, JT, and Brian. The fifth, Shorty, was a deputy with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department. AJ brought four guys, including John “JB” Beason, a convicted murderer on parole. JB was covered in prison tats and was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood in Ohio. David Snow was there; he was recognized as the founding Aryan Brotherhood member in the Ohio prison system. A soft-spoken redhead, Snow spent most of his life behind bars. He shot a guy while locked up, and had orchestrated an 11-day prison riot from 23-hour-a-day solitary lockdown in a max-security facility in Youngstown. Legend had it that when he got released, Snow was so accustomed to being in confined spaces that he spent six months living under — not in — his mother’s trailer.
Also at the bar was AJ’s other guy, Paul “Paulie” Geiger, who had done 10 years in a federal prison for muling dope in Oklahoma, and his friend Neil Ashley, who went by “Motor.”
We sat around drinking beer and bullshitting until we all felt comfortable enough to talk about starting a motorcycle club and getting a piece of the Hells Angels’ action. The plan was to ease in, not start a war, but eventually take over. Everyone was on board. Shorty took the opportunity to establish his role as a madman. He put one of those plastic leprechaun hats on his shaved head, jumped on the bar, and shouted, “Listen up, you Irish fucks! The Nazis are in charge now, so if you got a problem, fuck off or talk to us!”
The fact that AJ brought this foursome of ex-felons was a huge deal. A lot of times, ATF supervisors get bent if the subjects of an undercover operation don’t have felony convictions or a record of violence. Not only did these guys fit the bill, but we were confident that everybody they’d bring us would be violent felons too. That meant they’d likely be in possession of firearms — and for the ATF, criminals with guns are a good thing. After all, the bureau’s job isn’t just to go after arms dealers; it’s to take armed felons out of their communities. While other law enforcement agencies would rather stay away from people who carry weapons, ATF seeks them out. For us, a bad guy with a gun is the kind of bad guy we like to prey upon.
* * *
Our inaugural club meeting was on April 20 — Hitler’s birthday — and AJ told us he’d already come up with the name: Order of Blood Motorcycle Club. It was based on the führer’s Blood Order, a medal of honor given to certain Nazi soldiers for the work they did in the 1923 uprising of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
We moved on to the next order of business: a patch. Every biker gang has a patch that members wear on their vests or jackets. For some reason, AJ and his crew were a little cool on the whole swastika thing, so we settled on the SS lightning bolts.
My guys and I kept up appearances by renting a house in Saybrook, just outside Geneva-on-the-Lake, about an hour east of Cleveland. I won’t call Geneva-on-the-Lake a resort town, but it’s packed with tourists in summer. I lived there with Shorty, Ivan, Brian, and JT. We also had female agents come around; I can’t name them, because they’re still active. They played the vital role of befriending the wives and girlfriends of the Aryan Brotherhood guys and gathering info.
We flew our colors right outside the house. There were always a lot of bikes in the driveway, which is kind of a magnet for other bikers. Next thing we knew, random riders started coming by. It turned into the kind of house that every respectable homeowner on the block must’ve hated. There was an indoor hot tub at the place, so, late at night, when we knew we were alone, we’d unwind and debrief, knowing that the jets muffled our voices in case anyone showed up unannounced. We lived there in shifts and had our stories straight, so if JB and David Snow and AJ or any of their Aryan Brotherhood pals asked, we could say, “Shorty’s visiting his baby mama over in Warren,” or what have you. My story was that I had some criminal business in Virginia and a couple kids who lived with their mom down in Florida.
A bar in town served as our main hangout. The owner liked us and said, “Hey man, I’ve got a vacant lot down the street free of charge if you guys want to sell your stuff.” We’d set up tables and sell Nazi paraphernalia, along with our own T-shirts, to anyone who’d buy them. It’s called “support gear.” All outlaw motorcycle gangs sell it. For example, if you see a shirt saying “Support your Local 81,” the “81” means Hells Angels. (H is the eighth letter in the alphabet; A is the first.)
To this day, I’m stunned at the people who bought our stuff — just regular folks, tourists basically. It was eye-opening to me, because you know racism exists but not to the extent that Joe Six-Pack strolling by wants to give you money for Nazi gear. No one challenged us; they were probably too afraid.
There were some weird interactions, though, like when some old guys in WWII Veteran hats stared daggers at me. Those were the hardest times to stay in role. You’re standing there looking like the most despicable creature on earth, and you wanna tell them, “Hey, I have family who got shot fighting the Nazis. I even have my godfather’s Purple Heart.” But you can’t talk. One time, there was a little kid who wanted his dad to buy him one of our support shirts. The father kept saying no, but the kid wouldn’t let up. Finally, the kid said, “Come on, Dad, why not?” And father got irritated and said, “Because you’re Jewish!”
* * *
Trying to understand the ecosystem of Northeast Ohio’s outlaw motorcycle clubs was like keeping track of high school gossip. The big national gangs like Hells Angels and Pagans and Outlaws have multiple chapters; some have more influence than others. Sometimes there are rivalries between gangs. Outlaw motorcycle clubs, which have been around since the 1940s, are organized and hierarchical, so there can also be cliques, clashes, and bad blood between members of the same chapter. On top of all that, each chapter has affiliates, or support clubs — meaning other motorcycle gangs that they get along with or do business with but have less sway.
Because the Aryan Brotherhood sanctioned the Order of Blood Motorcycle Club, we came onto the scene with built-in strength. My guys and I weren’t official Aryan Brotherhood members, but Snow told me he considered us true “brothers,” and if anyone asked, we were part of the “brand.”
Power has a way of attracting trouble. One day, Aryan Jim, dumbass that he was, went to a Cleveland Hells Angels bar, rode inside, and did a burnout in the middle of the room. The rest of us didn’t know about the incident because AJ had gotten away and kept it to himself. But I got a call from a ticked-off Willie Beard, who told me all about it.
A few days later, we had to make an appearance at these drag races the Hells Angels put on at a speedway south of Cleveland. It was an annual event for them to let everyone know who ran the show in the region. We were independent and not under the grip of the Hells Angels, but we had to show up to let everyone know we were for real.
When we got there, the Hells Angels were posted up around the drag strip, waiting for AJ and the rest of us. We pulled in, made sure AJ was out of sight, and got off our bikes. JB — the guy who’d recently done more than two decades for murder — and I walked over to Johnny Merchant, the Cleveland Hells Angels’ sergeant-at-arms, and another Cleveland HA everyone called Face, a rough-looking dock worker whose mug was hidden behind a beard and glasses.
Merchant said, “Hey, Junkyard, where’s AJ? We’re gonna beat his ass.”
JB piped up: “You guys ain’t touching none of our guys.”
JB and I walked over to Snow, who, in his man-of-few-words way, told us to walk back over and let the Hells Angels know that if they touched one of our members, we’d “green-light everybody in the Ohio prison system who wears the HA patch.” Green-lighting means ordering them killed. Now, as you might have heard, the Hells Angels didn’t get their reputation by taking a lot of shit, especially from the Aryan Brotherhood. But these dudes knew about Snow’s legendary prison riot. If he could pull that off from solitary, he could have a few Hells Angels whacked. We went back over and spent a few minutes hashing things out, and then Merchant reluctantly agreed. “Okay, we’re good,” he said. “But seriously, you guys have to do something about AJ.”
So afterward, Snow walked over to AJ and said, “Gimme your patch. You’re out.” AJ tried to argue, but all Snow had to say was, “Are we going to have a problem?” That was code for, “Am I going to have to kill you here and now?” AJ handed over his patch. He was out.
The way we handled the incident earned the respect of the Hells Angels. But they tested us again a few hours later, after the other clubs had cleared out. The Hells Angels wanted us to hang back and talk some more. One of their guys took out a shotgun and put it on the bench seat of a parked pickup with an open door so it was pointing in our direction. Then he started putting on black leather gloves. I said to my guys, “If that son of a bitch picks that thing up and aims at us, we’re killing everybody who doesn’t have our patch.” There were more of us in that area of the speedway than there were Hells Angels. We surrounded three of them to let the would-be shooter know that if one of us got shot, his three guys would die immediately. I guess they respected that maneuver, too, because Face and Merchant called off their goon.
What felt like a near-death experience turned out to be a game changer. Right after that event, all of us agreed it was time to grow the Order of Blood Motorcycle Club. The Aryan Brotherhood liked the idea because they wanted power and money from the weapons and drug trades. My guys and I were onboard because it’d get us more access to more violent felons who were buying, selling, carrying, and maybe even using firearms and explosives. The plan was to split the club in two. Snow and Paulie would start a new chapter over in Akron; JB would be president, and they’d recruit more Aryan Brotherhood guys. I’d stay at our home chapter near Geneva-on-the-Lake with my guys. We’d also recruit new members — meaning other undercovers.
* * *
And I’d be president.
Nothing attracts criminals and lowlifes more than other criminals and lowlifes. One of the people who was most drawn to us was Willie Beard, the Lake East Hells Angels member who told me about the stunt that got AJ kicked out of the Order of Blood. Beard’s big thing was poisonous snakes. I’m talking hundreds of snakes. The first time I saw them was when he’d invited Shorty, Nazi Jim, and me to shoot guns on his property. Beard said, “Come to the basement. I wanna show you something.” That’s not what an undercover agent ever wants to hear. We got down there, and no kidding, the floor was covered in plastic. Shorty and I looked at each other like, “I guess this is it.” I never thought I’d be so relieved to see a cobra.
Beard seemed as committed to us as he was to his own club. It got to the point where he didn’t just want to befriend us, he wanted us to be to the “charter” of the Hells Angels — basically a chapter in Erie, Pennsylvania. I said, “Why would we wanna be Hells Angels when there’s nothing better than being an AB?” He just looked at me and smiled.
As we built our reputation, we were growing, recruiting new Aryan Brotherhood members, and bringing in even more undercovers from our task force. We were doing criminal business with more and more biker-underworld guys each week. Our main target was the Hells Angels, but over the course of the case, we bought more than 60 firearms, including 13 machine guns, 35 handguns, four shotguns, and eight rifles from various motorcycle gangs and members. We had a female associate of the Aryan Brotherhood make straw purchases for us from a federally licensed firearms dealer who knowingly broke federal law.
My guys even bought a gun from David Snow. JB provided me a firearm when I told him I needed to “do some dirt” and didn’t bat an eye when I told him I may have to get rid of it “because it may have body on it.” Besides the weapons, we also bought significant amounts of meth, cocaine, crack, and prescription drugs from a range of outlaw biker gang members.
* * *
Our network grew. Word spread among Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania chapters of the Pagans, a major East Coast outlaw club, that we knew how to handle ourselves. Soon enough, Ivan, one of our original undercovers, bought cocaine from a high-ranking member of the their Youngstown chapter. As their relationship solidified, I was befriending the Youngstown chapter president, a dude named Snake. Over in western Pennsylvania, two more ATF agents and two Pennsylvania state troopers had officially started the third chapter of the Order of Blood, in the town of Sharon. We were less than a year into the case, but we now had 18 undercovers in two states.
Every now and then, a non-biker would show up on the scene, usually by way of the Aryan Brotherhood. One was a buddy of David Snow’s named William “Wild Bill” Millsaps Jr., a violent guy, late thirties or early forties, who’d recently gotten out of the joint. He was a heavy drug user, always armed. The first time I met him was at a strip club in Alliance, Ohio. We were all sitting around, talking about the wonderful world of crime, and Wild Bill asked us the question every undercover wants to hear: “What are you guys lookin’ for?”
Two hours later, I was riding shotgun in Wild Bill’s truck, while Shorty, another undercover named Roach, and Ivan were following us in an old Cadillac. We pulled up to a nice house in suburban Akron. I was thinking, There ain’t no motherfucking way Wild Bill lives here. But we walked in, and Wild Bill looked at an older guy on the couch and said, “Hey, Dad. These are my brothers.”
Bill told us to come upstairs. As we left the living room, his dad said, “You better hurry up — your mother’s gonna be home soon.” He seemed to know exactly what his son was up to.
Up in his bedroom, Wild Bill showed us a big pile of guns — pistols, rifles. He said, “How many do you want?”
I said, “Shit, we’ll take it all.”
“I’ll put them in this duffel bag so you guys can take them out, right?”
In the meantime, we heard the door open downstairs. His mom was home.
We bumped into her at the bottom of the steps, and she was like June Cleaver. “Hey, boys. Can we get you anything to eat or drink?”
I didn’t know Wild Bill’s last name, so the only thing I could think of to say was, “No thank you … Mrs. Wild Bill.” I felt like I was 10 years old. Except that I had a duffel bag full of weapons. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life.
The next stop was Wild Bill’s house, where he lived, a shithole filled with motorcycle parts. He told us to hang out while he went and scored us some meth. He left his gun on a table; Wild Bill knew if he got caught with it, he’d get serious time. When he pulled away from the house, we took down the serial numbers on the gun, scoured his whole place, then sat back down and hung out till he came back with the dope.
A few minutes after he got home and sold us the meth, he said, “Hey. Let me show you something in the basement.”
I don’t know what it is with these guys about wanting to show us their basements. But Ivan, Shorty, Roach, and I followed him down there. There was this crusty old refrigerator with about 400 pounds of freezer ice on it. He went over and wrestled with the handle. I was thinking, “Is there gonna be a body in there or what?”
Wild Bill finally got the door open, but none of us could see inside from where we were standing. Then he looked at Shorty and, no shit, he said, “Hey, Shorty, ya like chicken wings?”
Shorty said, “Uh, yeah, man, I like chicken wings.”
Wild Bill pulled out a big bag of frozen wings that was covered in old ice, handed the bag to Shorty, and said, “Here you go, brother. I like you. I want you to have this.”
Later, Shorty tossed the bag out the window of the Caddy.
I said, “Shorty, what are you thinking, man?”
“What am I supposed to do with a bag of old frozen chicken wings?”
“Hell if I know, but you can’t toss them on the road he drives down every day. What if he sees them?”
So I pulled over and backed up. Shorty went searching in the dark for the wings.
* * *
I still have no idea how much time passed while I waited for Willie Beard to say something in his SUV that fateful day. When people say “it felt like a lifetime,” they’re not exaggerating. I was still sitting there, holding the photos of my fellow undercover ATF agents in my left hand. A blizzard of thoughts swirled in my head. If he reaches for his gun, can I get to mine in time? Does my cover team have a clear view of us? Am I gonna see my wife and kids again? I was aware of everything — the gray November sky, the oblivious people walking in and out of McDonald’s — and at the same time my own response to the pictures echoed through my brain: “I’ve never seen these dudes before.”
Willie Beard finally spoke. “That’s what we thought. We’ve had this picture for a couple weeks, and we had a meeting about it.”
Beard told me that one set of copies of the pictures had been sent to the Hells Angels’ Cleveland chapter, and another was sent to the Lake East Hells Angels. I ran some quick logic: If they had the pictures for two weeks and hadn’t killed us yet, and Beard didn’t kill me just now, then the investigation probably wasn’t compromised. He told me to be careful about informants and undercovers. Looking back, I don’t think he suspected me at all. I think he was looking out for me.
Thing is, I knew about the photos. After an ATF infiltration a few years earlier — a massive case with dozens of arrests and convictions — the pictures got circulated to all the outlaw motorcycle clubs around the country. We’d recovered a lot of them from biker clubhouses over time, but some were still circulating. Maybe that’s why I was able to keep my cool.
My supervisors decided to shut it down. One of them had been on edge through the whole investigation, so he was able to use the confrontation with Beard to justify ending it. But we couldn’t just stop in our tracks. We needed time to get warrants and affidavits in order, so we kept at it for a couple more months.
Bailey and Nazi Jim were instructed to lay low. I used my fictional kids and baby mama down in Florida to get away for a bit. While I was out of town, the other guys started spreading the word about my fictional death: “Junkyard had a brain aneurysm and died on the trip.” When people said they wanted to come to the funeral, my guys told them that it was too late. They said my kids’ mom hadn’t called anyone until after the funeral.
* * *
On June 23, 2005, 16 months after I’d assumed my most ridiculous undercover handle, 150 federal and local law enforcement officers in Ohio and Pennsylvania did their first round of raids and searches. All told, charges were brought against 59 individuals, many of them violent felons, on federal and state weapons and drug trafficking charges, identity theft, money laundering, burglary, and felony assault. The case, expertly managed by ATF Special Agents Brian Kolar and Chad Foreman, even led to a murder conviction.
My undercover team and I weren’t there for the actual raids or arrests. It would have been way too risky; those guys might have opened fire rather than get arrested by the undercover cops who’d duped them. But we were there to help our two case agents with interviews and evidence. We didn’t see Snow after the arrests; he went to prison and wound up getting killed inside by a fellow member of the Aryan Brotherhood who nearly sawed off his head. JB died of heart failure in county jail. Wild Bill went back to prison. Somehow we missed a gun at Paulie’s place; so he only got probation on a drug charge.
The only person we made a point to see after the fact was Aryan Jim, who was about to get a nine-year sentence, during which time he’d probably be kicked out of the Brotherhood for letting so many undercovers into the organization. When we saw him, he was being questioned in a room at Eastlake Police Department shortly after the raids. One of the officers opened the door to let us in. Nazi Jim was with me. So were Ivan and Shorty, three of the guys I’d brought to the bar on St. Paddy’s Day more than a year earlier when we’d first agreed to start the club.
When we walked in, AJ was sitting at the end of a big table. He looked at us, gathered his thoughts, shook his head, and said just three words:
“All of you?” This article originally appeared on the website Medium.