Eighteen members of a nationwide motorcycle gang, which is controlled and entirely run by it’s “mother chapter” in Philadelphia face a federal indictment on charges ranging from racketeering to kidnapping to murder, including fatal shootings in three different states.
The gang is known as the Wheels of Soul.
The indictment handed up June 9 was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, and all but four of those indicted have been arrested. Police are seeking the remaining suspects.
Three others not named in the indictment have been arrested on weapons charges, said Terry Dougherty, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis.
The indictment alleges that a select few members of the gang achieved “1%er” (one percenter) or “Diamond” status for particularly violent activity.
Some of the accusations are breathtaking; one member allegedly stabbed another person in the head during a fight at a Chicago motorcycle club, then shot another in the stomach. The indictment says gang members are required to carry weapons, mostly guns but also hammers, knives and others.
Federal authorities cite meetings in St. Louis in 2009 in which a Wheels of Soul member, Dominic Henley -- known within the gang as “Bishop”-- told others in the gang that a member in Gary, Ind., had been threatened. He instructed them to retaliate by robbing the rival gang members of their colors by “any means necessary.”
Gang members raised money through robberies and by distributing drugs, especially crack cocaine, but also heroin, the indictment alleges. They are accused of plotting and carrying out several acts of violence including kidnapping, robbery and murder.
In 2009, gang members allegedly shot and killed a member of the rival Sin City Titans gang in St. Louis. The shooting came weeks after a meeting in which, the indictment says, members were told that the Mother Chapter had declared “open season” on the Sin City Titans.
In January, a member Wheels of Soul allegedly shot and killed a person in Chicago during an altercation with the rival Street Soldiers gang. And in March, a member is accused of shooting three victims in the back as they fled from a party in Marion, Ohio, killing one and seriously wounding another.
In January, six of the accused went to an East St. Louis, Ill., nightclub intending to kill members of the rival Outkast OMG gang, according to the indictment. The plan was foiled because several police officers were seen near the club.
A message seeking comment from U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan was not returned. It wasn't immediately clear if any of the defendants had attorneys.
Wheels of Soul gang members wear black vests adorned with patches on the back and commonly refer to the gang as “the Nation.” The indictment accuses gang members from St. Louis of planning to extort smaller gangs by requiring them to purchase a “support patch” that demonstrates subservience to the Wheels of
The indictment alleges that the Wheels of Soul is governed by the “Mother Chapter” in Philadelphia, with regional chapters around the country. Federal agents raided two Wheels of Soul clubhouses in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The indicted are from seven states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin and Kentucky.