Cleveland, OH - The Avengers are revving up again in northeast Ohio.
The motorcycle gang, once crippled by undercover police work, has started a chapter in Huron County, according to authorities and the gang's Web site.
The move comes six years after 19 members of the gang's Elyria chapter, as well as the national president of the club, were convicted of federal drug and conspiracy charges.
Police said the new chapter emerges as motorcycle gangs are growing. As thousands of outlaw bikers from the "Easy Rider" years grow gray, they are being replaced by younger, meaner members, authorities say.
"They're becoming more organized, more sophisticated and more violent," said Steve Cook, a police detective in Independence, Mo., and an expert on motorcycle gangs.
In Toledo, more than 25 members of the Outlaws gang have been convicted in the last two years of drug and weapons charges. In Indiana, investigators have raided several homes of the Sons of Silence gang.
The Avengers have a respected name among national biker gangs, because they "refuse to be pushed around by anyone," Cook said.
The club may be operating in a former bar in Clarksfield Township, in the eastern part of Huron County, said county Sheriff Richard Sutherland.
County auditor's records show that Howard Dick, a member of the Avengers, bought the former bar in April for $35,000 on a land contract.
Dick, 56, was convicted in 2000 of racketeering and sentenced to 33 months in prison. A telephone message seeking comment was left at a number for a Howard Dick in Nova, which is about 15 miles outside Clarksfield.
The national Web of the Avengers Motorcycle Club, lists chapters, in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Indiana and West Virginia and on the island of Malta. It bears the motto "Don't Mistake Kindness For Weakness."
The Web site welcomes the new Huron County club, but does not list an address or a phone number for it. The Avengers have five other clubs in Ohio: in Columbus, Toledo, Tiffin and two in the southern part of the state.
In 1995, law enforcement officers received a break when an Avengers member sold eight pounds of marijuana to an undercover Lorain County sheriff's deputy.
The member agreed to become an informant and helped an undercover detective join the club. The Avengers liked the officer so much, they wanted to elect him as a high-ranking officer. He refused and months later, they were arrested.
Those sentenced to prison, including Dick, have been released.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World.
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