In what federal authorities called a historic "takedown," FBI agents Wednesday morning fanned out to arrest 42 members of the Outlaws motorcycle club in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.
At least half a dozen FBI agents dressed in T-shirts and khakis, many wearing masks and sidearms, went in and out of the Outlaws' Fort Wayne location at Main and Cherry streets with boxes of evidence and paraphernalia from inside the two-story house.
Overall, more than 300 federal and local law enforcement agents took part in the operation statewide, said Tim Horty, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett. The raids, Horty said, represented the "largest federal bust of alleged gang activity in Indianapolis history."
In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, federal prosecutors outlined a long list of alleged crimes – including extortion, fraud, battery and firearms violations – that are included in a grand jury indictment against the Outlaws.
In the raids, FBI agents seized at least 35 guns, including assault rifles; a kilogram of cocaine and other drugs; more than $14,000 in cash; and more than a dozen cars and motorcycles, according to Hogsett.
Many of the indicted Outlaws, who ranged from 20 to 71 years old, had nicknames, such as Michael E. "Bone" Hamilton, Norvell "Nasty" Terry and Edward J. "Special Ed" Bolen. It was not clear from the indictments how many of the Outlaws were based in Fort Wayne.
The indictments marked the culmination of an investigation that first started in 2009, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington, the government's lead prosecutor in the case.
In the investigation, federal agents employed a wide array of techniques and resources including informants, undercover agents, wiretaps and drug buys. Authorities executed 17 search warrants Wednesday, Blackington said.
"Basically, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies threw the kitchen sink at these folks," he said.
One Outlaw targeted in the raids, Terrell Lamont Adams, 28, remained at large and was wanted for alleged "narcotic related violations," the FBI said.
In Fort Wayne, agents were still loading items into a marked FBI truck at 11:30 a.m. while Fort Wayne Police officers formed a perimeter around the building.
Across Main Street, a pair of bikers on custom Harley-Davidson motorcycles parked for a few minutes and watched the investigation unfold. One of the men walked across the street and went into the clubhouse but emerged a few minutes later, got on his bike and left.
John Bullock, a Fort Wayne resident who said he lives "a couple of blocks" from the Outlaws headquarters, said he wasn't surprised at the raid.
"It was only a matter of time," he said.
Last year, a federal judge in Virginia sentenced the Outlaws' national president to 20 years in prison on racketeering charges related to a violent turf war with the rival Hells Angels.
In 2008, members of the Fort Wayne chapter were among 16 Outlaws indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to violence and drug trafficking. Fourteen Outlaws later pleaded guilty to assorted crimes.