US Army Veterans Among Defendants in Georgia: Report

16 people have been indicted in Georgia as part of Operation Patronus. (Mugshots from Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office; screenshot of guns on a table by Savannah, Georgia’s NBC affiliate WSAV-TV)

Sixteen suspected members of an illegal motorcycle gang, including nine suspected US Army veterans, face a slew of gang-related charges in what Georgia authorities say is the largest indictment against a motorcycle gang in the state.

The arrests follow the culmination of Operation Patronus, a multi-agency anti-gang and anti-gun investigation in southeast Georgia targeting the highly organized Outcast Motorcycle Gang, described as an illegal motorcycle gang or “one percent” motorcycle gang. Authorities seized about $180,000 in cash, 71 guns, two motorcycles and two cars. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are executing more than 40 search warrants in numerous counties in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, officials said in a news release.

According to authorities, the gang is involved in various criminal activities, including murder, assault, and drug and arms trafficking. The allegations include violations of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, aggravated assault, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery through intimidation, and possession of firearms.

A spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Department issued a statement saying, “Motorcycle gangs pose a criminal threat to every community, including the Army.” This joint investigation shows that when all levels of law enforcement work together, we can eliminate this species identify, prosecute and dismantle motorcycle gangs and protect the communities in and around our military installations. Any gang activity and related crimes will be investigated by the appropriate authority and the information shared with law enforcement.”

The spokesman did not confirm any military service for the suspect and said to contact US Personnel Command for more information on the individuals involved. A representative from that department did not respond to messages from Law&Crime.

The US Army Personnel Command confirmed to the Augusta Chronicle that nine of the defendants are former military personnel, listing the names, ranks and occupations during their service in the military, including several who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The indictment alleges that for nearly 11 months, from August 24, 2021 to July 16, 2022, members and staff of the motorcycle club conspired to violently attack members of a rival club on June 17, 2022, stealing their motorcycle vests from them rob a bar in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

An indictment outlines a chronology of allegations following a confrontation that began when alleged outcast members turned to their rivals, the Chosen Few, and told them they didn’t belong. Outcast employees then allegedly followed a rival with a chain in another county and hit him. The indictment describes a time in April 2022 when Outcast employees attended a motorcycle club association meeting where they asserted “their dominance” in the southeastern Georgia Territory.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr called the charges historic.

“By deploying our resources, we can more effectively take down the growing gang networks that are terrorizing our communities and endangering the lives of our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.