On June 5th, the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies hosted a webinar focusing on the global threat of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs). The session was led by Dr. James Minnich, Colonel U.S. Army Retired and Professor, and featured expert investigator Michael Will, a retired detective with extensive experience in countering outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Dr. Minnich and Michael Will worked to dispel the romanticized image of OMGs, revealing them as sophisticated criminal enterprises involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, cybercrime, and other illicit activities. These operations contribute to global violence, corruption, and instability.

The webinar traced the evolution of OMGs from their post-World War II origins in the United States to their current status as transnational criminal organizations. The term “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang” and the “1%er” label emerged in the 1960s, indicating their rejection of mainstream norms and involvement in illegal activities.

Michael Will shared in-depth stories and insights into the inner workings of OMGs, emphasizing the complex challenges law enforcement faces in dismantling these networks. He outlined the security implications of their operations, including their roles in the drug trade, human trafficking, and cybercrime.

The webinar covered several key themes: the transformation of OMGs from clubs to criminal empires, the broad threat they pose to domestic and international security, their expansion into transnational networks and cybercrime, specific concerns for the Indo-Pacific region, and strategies to build community resilience against these threats.

The audience engaged with questions about preventing OMG infiltration, their access to police intelligence, and proactive measures to deter their criminal activities. Michael Will recommended two books for further reading: “Under and Alone” by William Queen and “No Angel” by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton.

The webinar concluded by emphasizing the critical need to understand and address the complex security challenges posed by OMGs.

Recommended books
Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America’s Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by William Queen (Fawcett Books, 2006).

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton (Crown, 2010)