An international motorcycle gang that once had a top leader from Toledo suffered a blow yesterday when 38 of its members were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with organized crimes involving murder, drug dealing, and gun charges.
Members of the Outlaws motorcycle club, including its international president, were charged in the 40-count indictment. It was filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo because the investigation was initiated in Lima, Ohio.
Thirty-two of the people indicted were in custody yesterday.
Those indicted after a five-year local, state, and federal investigation are from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, and Oklahoma.
None is from Toledo, but three are from elsewhere in northwest Ohio. They are Kenneth L. Bucher, 59, of Lima; Glen D. Carlisle, 36, of Bucyrus, and Jamie M. Reichelderfer, 35, of Wapakoneta.
“They don't call themselves the Outlaws for nothing,” said Peter Tobin of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. “They're drug traffickers, thieves, and thugs.”
Wayne Edward Hicks, formerly of Toledo, was one of the Outlaws' top leaders before he became a surprise witness against former international president Harry “Taco” Bowman in a federal trial in Florida two years ago.
Hicks' testimony was likened to Sammy “The Bull” Gravano's betrayal of John Gotti, a Maryland state police officer said at the time. Bowman was sentenced to life in prison after the trial.
When asked whether Hicks was involved in the investigation that led to yesterday's indictments, Gregory White, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said: “We're going to have to do our talking in the courtroom.”
Bruce Hicks, Wayne Hicks' brother, was fatally shot in October at an East Toledo motorcycle bar. Robert Wymer, 26, of 645 Segur Ave., was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to life in prison for the murder.
Mr. White said the Outlaws were positioning themselves to increase their role in the drug trade in northwest Ohio.
James L. Wheeler, 60, of Indianapolis, who the indictment identifies as the international president of the Outlaws, came to Toledo in 2001 to talk about drug dealing operations in the city, according to court records.
“I think it's fair to say that a major criminal enterprise was stopped from setting up in Toledo,” Mr. White said.
David Bauer, head of Toledo's U.S. Attorney's Office, said members of the Outlaws are involved in numerous criminal activities that justified 13 of the defendants being charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute.
“It's not traditional organized crime, ... but it's still an organized criminal enterprise,” Mr. Bauer said.