The strange and terrible saga of Thursday’s column

There are some fascinating peeks at the workings of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang in the federal grand jury indictment released Tuesday.

Their brutality is apparent:

“On August 18, 2006, in Los Angeles County, defendant (William `Dago Bill’ Shawley) advised an undercover law enforcement officer that he and defendants (David `L.A. Bull’ Gil) and (Aaron `Sick Boy’ Price) had captured an individual and tortured him for three hours, by breaking the man’s knuckles with a pair of pliers, breaking his knee by hitting it with a metal pipe.”

Alongside the action, a sub-plot emerges from the pages and pages of court documents.

It lies in the ongoing feuds among individual Mongols and a turf battle between bikers and area street gangs who are loyal to La Eme.

While there’s been a push by former Mongols president Ruben “Doc” Cavazos to recruit street gang members, old-time members have been resistant.

Meanwhile, newer members have been reluctant to pay taxes on illicit drug sales to La Eme, because they are already paying the Mongols.

Last year, Cavazos wanted to broker an agreement between the organizations, but instead found himself targeted, according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, an informant told an undercover ATF agent that “Cavazos was attempting to negotiate with La Eme to compensate them for the narcotics-trafficking being conducted by Mongols members.

“Cavazos had met with

La Eme representatives at City Walk in Studio City to offer them a one-time tax payment, but that the offer had been rejected and La Eme had ordered a greenlight on the Mongols.”

Although the meeting took place on the other side of town, it’s pretty clear the San Gabriel Valley is fertile ground for organized crime.

This is prime turf for credit card scams, dope deals, money laundering, extortion, prostitution, assault and murder.

Stuff that happens here every day. Stuff that often gets reported in the newspaper, but in a disconnected, bullet-points-on-a-blotter sort of way that occasionally fleshes out the big picture.

Think about all the groups that operate in our neighborhoods. There’s La Eme. We have the Wah Ching and assorted other Asian gangs. Crips and Bloods rule some neighborhoods, while Armenian and Russian gangsters continue to filter into the SGV from Glendale and Los Angeles.

If anything it’s a Balkanization of sorts. And from time to time, each gang has its moment in the spotlight because of a large-scale federal or county prosecution.

Despite turf battles and rivalries, the prosecutions of these gangs highlight plenty of similarities – mainly the desire to make money. Lots of it. By any means necessary – including beatings and murder.

But it also paints a picture of young men who believe they are the last true individualists in America.

In his 1966 book “Hell’s Angels,” Hunter S. Thompson saw violent motorcycle gangs as part of the bleak and terrible rise of a new form of gangsterism dispensing equal amounts of violence and dope.

“(They are) not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to deal with,” Thompson wrote.

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