INDIANAPOLIS - Nine more members and associates of the Outlaws motorcycle gang were arrested Thursday, bringing the number of gang members facing dozens of federal charges to 51.
Federal investigators called the Club Paradise strip club at 5200 English Ave. a central drug distribution center for cocaine on the city's east side. Investigators served search warrants, seized property and they plan to forfeit the building.
"It's one thing to put them in jail. We've made arrests before in the district with the Outlaws. But you don't shut them down until you seize property used in their operation," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington.
Federal authorities struck the first blow against the Outlaws in July, carrying out simultaneous raids in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Illinois and Ohio.
The three-year investigation involved the use of wiretaps that investigators used to intercept 14,000 phone calls and text messages.
Federal investigators called the Sidewinder Bar on the south side the place where a Mexican drug cartel supplied the Outlaws with cocaine.
"That's one of the bad things. There's a lot of drug activity in the neighborhood," said nearby resident Iran Bolin. "We have a real problem with that. They catch them in there all the time, but they're still in there a lot. That bar right there is known for drug activity."
Prosecutors say the latest arrests reflect their determination to dismantle a criminal enterprise that has pumped a deadly mix of drugs and violence into the city.
"I feel very satisfied that we have and will continue whenever the evidence is presented to completely dismantle the Outlaws motorcycle club," said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett.
Federal prosecutors have amended many of the charges to include more serious penalties.
Some of the drug charges alone could send members of the Outlaws to prison for life.
Hogsett said the case is expected to go to trial in six months, but he said the case against the defendants is so overwhelming that he expects many of them to take their chances by pleading guilty.