by Charles Hollmuller
For many people, motorcycles symbolize freedom of the open road, for others, motorcycles only think of lawless biker gangs who pick fights in roadside dive bars. Despite these impressions, the American Motorcycle Association has estimated that only one percent of motorcyclists are involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang. One of the most famous of these gangs is the Hells Angels. Founded in 1948 in Fontana California, the Hells Angels was actually a conglomeration of a bunch of small local clubs. The name was inspired by the name of a fighter plane from the Second World War.
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Since there founding over seventy years ago, the gang has garnered a bad reputation with local and federal law enforcement. The United States Department recognizes the group as an organized crime syndicate, but what did they do to deserve this distinction? Well, many chapters of the Hells Angels, both in the United States and abroad, have been brought up on charges of racketeering and conspiracies to commit extortion, arms dealing and drug trafficking.
As new motorcycle clubs have sprung up, they cut into the Hells Angels rackets, which led to gang on gang violence. But how dangerous is this outlaw club today?