Three people accused of obstructing a federal investigation into a motorcycle club with alleged criminal ties were acquitted Thursday in United States District Court.
Larry McDaniel, Howard Brown and Sean King were indicted in April 2013, accused of impeding a federal informant investigating the Cleveland chapter of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club. McDaniel, region president of Outlaw Motorcycle Club, was accused of telling members to close down the Cleveland clubhouse and to remove all insignia from the clubhouse.
According to the indictment, McDaniel was accused of instructing King, Brown and others on July 19, 2012, to take all the vests, patches, belts, rings, T-shirts and other Black Pistons Motorcycle Club and Outlaw Motorcycle Club paraphernalia. King and Brown also allegedly took all insignia from members at the clubhouse that day.
The shutdown came after “an unknown co-conspirator,” according to the indictment, informed McDaniel of a federal agent working undercover in the club.
Testimony was heard Sept. 22 through Thursday before U.S. District Judge Richard Story acquitted the three co-defendants.
The defendants’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in June 2013, citing the vagueness of the indictment and the lack of evidence to prove obstruction.
“The Indictment in this case does not allege that an ongoing criminal investigation was underway,” McDaniel’s attorney Donald Samuel wrote in his motion. “Moreover, the Indictment has failed to allege that Mr. McDaniel had any knowledge of a pending undercover investigation.”
In addition, Brown’s attorney challenged the notion that confiscating the vests, wear and other paraphernalia constituted any sort of criminal act.
In 2012, 23 North Georgia people, many of whom had ties to the Outlaw Motorcycle Club, were indicted for gun- and drug-related offenses.
Four Gainesville men charged in the mass indictment received charges relating to cocaine conspiracy, with the intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms.