By Beth Fisher

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan-based motorcycle gang has been indicted on several crimes, including: murder, drug trafficking,  extortion and illegal gambling.

More than 40 members of the Devil’s Disciples face charges with about 31 members arrested in Michigan and Alabama on Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that eight meth-amphetamine labs were dismantled and more than 60 firearms seized along with more than six thousand rounds of ammunition.

The indicted include national president Jeff “Fat Dog” Smith and vice president Paul Darrah.

Eighteen of the defendants, including Smith and Darrah, are charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by conducting their illegal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity which included the above-listed offenses as well as  obstruction of justice and other federal and state offenses.

“According to the indictment one of the things (the gang) did was really cloke itself in secrecy,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade.

“And so anyone who attempted to disclose to law enforcement some of the activities of the group would be met with retribution — which according to that indictment, things like being beat with metal pipes and sometimes as far as murder,” she said.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said members of the Devil’s Disciples “have spread fear” in Michigan and elsewhere.

“This violent criminal enterprise allegedly profits from drug trafficking and illegal gambling, and uses intimidation and violence to silence its adversaries and maintain control over its members,” said Breuer. “Today’s arrests of the Devils Diciples’ top leaders and 39 of the gang’s members and associates are an important step in our efforts to dismantle violent criminal enterprises across the country.”

The government says the group is based in Macomb County, near Detroit, but has chapters in at least six other states. Metro Detroit is home to chapters in Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Detroit, Utica and Chesterfield Township. There are reportedly also chapters in at least six other states.

The names of the defendants’ lawyers were not immediately known Friday.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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