Gangland (2007) s04e08 Episode Script

Silent Slaughter

narrator: They're the most Violent motorcycle gang In the west.
narrator: These gangsters Have one true enemy, The law.
everywhere I would go, I was being followed.
narrator: Now The sons of silence Are uniting in rebellion.
narrator: Colorado springs, Colorado: This is a military town, Home to the air force academy And the army's fort carson.
It's clean, green, And beautiful.
In 2006, money magazine Named colorado springs America's best place to live.
But amid the beauty Is the outlaw motorcycle gang The sons of silence.
there were too many times That I've seen people come up And get in brothers' faces, Say, "you guys Think you're tough, don't you?" Wrong thing to say.
And no wonder Why they got beat up.
narrator: The sons Are 1%ers, A criminal brotherhood That's proud of its Outlaw image.
Y's laws.
the types of crimes That the sons of silence Were involved in over the years Has ranged from murder, Burglaries, robberies, Drug dealing, gun dealing, Prostitution.
You name it, They've been involved in it.
it's all fun one on one Until you swing on a son.
narrator: Nick nichols, An army veteran, Rode with the sons For a decade.
Growing up, He was constantly moving.
So nichols was drawn to the gang For its stability And sense of family.
it looked like The guys were close, Like there was a brotherhood, Like they would do anything For each other.
narrator: When nichols First joined in 1988, It was because he liked drugs, Liked to party, And he liked easy women.
the girls I liked Were dancers.
The reason I liked dancers Is, you got to see What was in the package Before you ever got it home.
narrator: Big larry Asked to have His identity concealed.
narrator: Big larry Is a longtime member Of the sons of silence.
He won't reveal When he first joined But admits that originally, He considered it A stepping stone.
narrator: When he became A son, however, He lost interest In being anything else.
narrator: The sons Are one of the fastest-growing Motorcycle gangs in the world.
They have 36 chapters worldwide.
But the majority Of their members Live in the western u.
narrator: They are Pathologically Antiauthoritarian.
Beat their ass, send them home Like a little girl.
narrator: The sons are known To traffic in weapons, Stolen bike parts, And drugs.
the main drug of choice In the club is speed.
There were times when I was awake for three Or four days at a shot.
narrator: The sons are Careful to keep their Criminal activities Separate from club business.
a lot of brothers Are pretty secretive About what they got going on.
They could be involved in stuff That other brothers Have no idea about.
narrator: They learned This lesson the hard way In the late 1990s, When they were infiltrated By the atf.
narrator: Blake boteler Asked to have His identity concealed.
In 1997, This atf undercover agent Was transferred To colorado springs.
He was young and eager To take on a challenging case.
narrator: Jim wattles, Then a detective with The denver police department, Had been tracking The sons of silence for years.
if I didn't know Who I guy was, I'd walk up, "hey, I'm jim wattles from The denver police department.
What's your name?" narrator: Wattles operated In the open.
They always saw him coming.
I says, "would you rather Have me standing here In front of you Or sitting across the street Watching you in binoculars, Waiting for you To do something stupid?" narrator: The sons Have a severe code of secrecy.
Developing informants Within the club Was extremely difficult.
Blake was the answer To the problem.
narrator: Blake started Calling himself "bo" And began hanging out At the biker bars around town.
He was invited To a sons of silence party At the gang's clubhouse.
Things were going well Until he made a mistake.
narrator: Blake was A stranger trying to illegally Buy a gun, And the sons Were onto his game.
narrator: They took him Outside the clubhouse, Pushed blake into the shadows, And began interrogating him.
he was going to get His butt kicked that night.
narrator: Blake insisted He was just trying to party.
But the sons weren't buying it.
narrator: The agent knew That if he let the gang Chase him off now, He might never get Another chance.
So he took yet another risk.
narrator: The club's enforcer Immediately took notice narrator: Blake had To think fast.
narrator: Blake had passed His first test.
He would eventually become A fully patched-in member, Privy to the sons' Hidden world of crime.
And blake would soon learn The sons of silence Show no mercy When it comes to their enemies.
narrator: Colorado springs Is the suburban american dream.
It has no ghetto And little crime.
The crime it does have Usually involves The sons of silence, A gang that rules Through intimidation.
narrator: This is the way Of the sons of silence.
The gang has been around For 40 years.
But few members know The origins of the club.
narrator: The founder Of the club is a reclusive 69-year-old named Bruce richardson, Known simply as "the dude.
" Many members don't even know He's still kicking.
I'm the dude, And I'm alive and well.
narrator: In 1968, the dude Was just out of the navy And living in longmont, Colorado.
He and three biker friends Were looking for something To do.
one day, we were sitting Around drinking a beer And said, you know, "what do you guys think If we start a little club?" They were all for it.
So that's where The sons of silence comes from.
narrator: They chose a name That summed up their main goal, Secrecy.
I just wanted to be Just a bunch of guys That could get together; Not everybody would Know our business.
It's sort of like The mafia does something, right? They don't advertise it.
narrator: Then they designed The club's colors.
Their inspiration came from A classic american institution.
we were drinking budweiser Beer, and I seen the emblem.
I says, "hey, That'd make a good one.
" We live in america.
Big "a," you know? the only thing That was really missing Off the budweiser symbol Was the star on top of the "a" From the original Budweiser logo.
these here were made in 1969.
National chapter.
Sons of silence.
narrator: Underneath The symbol was a latin phrase.
donec mors non separat.
That sort of means, like, "we don't part till we're dead," "till we die," you know? narrator: The new club Put on their emblem And began riding.
At first, They stayed out of trouble.
the criminal activity Of the sons of silence In the 1960s Probably amounted to some Fighting, some beer drinking, And pot smoking.
what young man ain't rowdy? Been there.
I know that.
narrator: The club had An intimidating image, Especially in colorado, Which didn't have Motorcycle gangs.
narrator: It didn't take long For word to spread.
Soon, bikers across the state Were starting Their own chapters.
More popped up in states Like iowa and kansas.
These new members weren't Just interested in being rowdy.
They were ready to rumble.
they're kind of Social misfits.
These people want That intimidation.
They can put that patch On their back And walk around the streets And intimidate the public.
narrator: As the gang grew, It became more organized.
The dude was named National president.
The sons also became More lawless.
In 1971, Tensions between the sons And local law enforcement Finally erupted.
there was a group Of sons of silence members Who had been indicted In colorado springs On conspiracy charges To kidnap and murder The wives and daughter Of a police detective.
narrator: The dude claims A police captain Was giving the colorado springs Chapter trouble and says He tried to have a calm Sit-down to work out The differences.
they would give me A bunch of sááá.
And I just said, "well, I'll just pull in Everybody from every chapter Into this town, See how you like that.
" And it scared them.
And they come up with an idea That we was gonna Kidnap their wives And rape and pillage And all kinds of bulláááá.
narrator: The conspiracy Indictment was dropped When the witnesses to the case Skipped town.
The gang remained On the law's radar And found their Quality of life compromised.
everywhere I would go, I was being followed.
Law enforcement everywhere.
narrator: In 1974, The dude made a decision.
He was out.
He turned the club over To new officers And rode off into the sunset.
The sons continued to grow, With chapters established In seven states.
They began battling With other motorcycle clubs Over drug turf.
In indiana, They were clashing With the outlaw motorcycle gang, Who saw them as newcomers.
In March 1980, The outlaws invited the sons To a party at their clubhouse.
The peace proposal Didn't go as planned.
the outlaws told them To take their guns off.
The sons of silence Felt disrespected.
They weren't allowed To bring their guns Into the outlaws' clubhouse.
And they refused and left.
narrator: The sons Decided to take action.
some calls were made Back to colorado.
The word I got was, They were told to air-condition The house.
narrator: Five members Of the sons went back To the outlaw clubhouse And opened fire.
The outlaws' National vice president, Thomas "satan" reeves, Was shot in the head and killed.
This atf surveillance video Shows longtime sons member Steve kressin claiming To be involved in the murder.
narrator: Despite The apparent confession, The atf never prosecuted.
And no one was charged With the murder.
The sons of silence Declared war on the outlaws And began to hunt them down.
if any outlaws Came around here Or we were somewhere, We were supposed To take care of them.
narrator: The outlaws Sought their revenge.
In October 1980, Two sons members were fired on While riding their bikes With their girlfriends.
One of the women was killed.
In August 1990, Tensions came to a head At the sturgis biker rally In south dakota, The most famous biker gathering In the world.
It was the 50th anniversary Of the rally, And the outlaws, Who rarely attended, Showed up in force.
we knew the outlaws Were there.
Everybody was on orders To travel in groups To avoid any kind of conflicts.
We were ready to fight If we had to, But we weren't going Looking for it.
narrator: Nick nichols Spent most of his time Looking for women.
Other sons were looking To kill outlaws.
and they found What they were looking for.
outlaws were in a bar On main street in sturgis Called gunner's, Getting along, drinking.
Two sons of silence members Start to go in.
And an outlaw Confronts them at the door, Says, "can't come in here.
" And they basically said, "yeah, we're coming in.
" narrator: The battlwas on.
The outlaw was shot, And the two sons were stabbed Before fleeing on foot.
and the sons of silence Jumped over the motorcycles, Got into the middle Of the street, and ran Several blocks down the street, Where police found them.
narrator: Leonard "j.
" reed, Who had been the sons' National president for a decade, Started to think The war with the outlaws Was misguided.
narrator: Reed believed That law enforcement Was the sons' true enemy, I mean, The feds would love it.
You know, like I say, Whoever doesn't die, They get to arrest.
narrator: In the mid 1990s, J.
Started the colorado Confederation of clubs To try to stop the biker wars.
Nick nichols was the co-chairman Of the organization.
I believed in what was Going on and what we were doing, Because they all want The same thing.
They want to wear their patches.
They want their little slice Of the pie.
They want to be left alone.
narrator: Big larry saw The confederation As a show of force.
narrator: J.
Reed's Confederation succeeded In ending the war With the outlaws.
But it didn't succeed In getting law enforcement To lay off.
By 1997, atf agent blake boteler Had infiltrated The colorado springs chapter And was prepared To take the gang down.
narrator: Colorado springs: The outlaw motorcycle gang Sons of silence Through intimidation and force.
The club's rules Are its doctrine, Its patch Its most sacred image.
narrator: To get his patch, A biker has to go through A rigorous rite of passage Designed to weed out the weak.
Before a biker Can become a member, He must be a prospect.
narrator: The sons of silence Take no mercy On their prospects, Hazing them relentlessly.
come on, spec! if they holler For a prospect, You'd better get there quick.
You don't kind of Stumble over there.
You run.
narrator: Big larry Says prospects aren't required To break the law.
narrator: There is a loose Interpretation of what "illegal" actually means.
narrator: When undercover Agent blake boteler Was prospecting, A patched member ordered him To go after a civilian Who was bothering him At a motorcycle rally.
he said narrator: Blake had just Seconds to figure out His next step.
If he broke the law, It would mean the end Of his case.
narrator: The bottle Flew out of the guy's hand, And he toppled over.
Blake hadn't Actually touched him But hoped he'd made Enough of a scene.
narrator:Nly after A prospect makes it through These hurdles and is voted in By 100% of the chapter Membership does he Get his patch.
The sons award them yearly At sturgis, Their most important Mandatory run.
It's the members' last chance To torment the prospects.
And they make the most of it, Even dragging them Through the fields In a shovel race.
Then the club offers the patch But only if the prospect Can take it away From the entire group.
that's about the only time In the club where You're pretty much free To hit anybody, President, Enforcer.
How bad do you want that patch? narrator: Once he's Patched in, The new member goes out For his first ride In full colors.
Only then is he introduced To the other traditions And rules of the sons Of silence.
The gang's first law Is for those Who violate their rules.
It's called "punishment.
" narrator: Each chapter Has an enforcer Who keeps people in line.
In addition to enforcers, Every chapter has a president, A vice president, And a treasurer.
There are also national officers Who oversee everyone, Though they are spread across The sons nation.
And then there's the gang's Special forces unit, The nomads.
narrator: The nomads Are the grim reaper.
No one wants to see them coming.
narrator: The sons employ A variety of weapons.
narrator: Members Carry two trademark weapons.
One is a large Industrial flashlight, The kind carried by cops.
narrator: The other Is a simple bandana Tied to a large lock.
Sons carry them In their back pockets.
narrator: Weapons Aren't the only way To recognize gang members.
They all wear gear That brands them as sons, Including undercover agent Blake boteler.
narrator: The vest Is covered with patches, Each with a different meaning.
narrator: "m" Stands for "methamphetamine," The sons' drug of choice.
There are other patches, Like "S.
S," Which stands for "sons forever, Forever sons.
" narrator: And members Also get inked To mark their allegiance.
Those who have been In the club for ten years Are eligible for a tat Of the club patch.
But if they leave In bad standing, The club takes back everything With the sons' name on it, Even the ink.
narrator: Everything Is club property: Weapons, patches, Even women.
They have no status Unless they become Someone's old lady.
Blake boteler had an old lady Of his own when he infiltrated The club in 1998.
just to help me out In that role, My story was more Like I was rebelling From a wealthy family And was attracted To that type of culture.
narrator: Carrie dipirro Was blake's backup.
It was not an easy assignment For a female atf agent.
you're supposed to just Keep your mouth shut, And I was coached By agent boteler To keep it zipped, Or else he'd have to keep me In line in front of them.
If I had a mis-slip Of the tongue Or made any other Kind of mistake To give them an idea That either one of us Were federal agents, It would've been A fatal mistake for both of us.
narrator: It didn't Make the job any easier.
you always have to expect The other members To be able to feel like They can take liberties With you.
It happened less After agent boteler Became a patched member Than before.
And that's when I was able To wear my little belt That says "property of bo.
" And that's exactly What it means.
narrator: Carrie wasn't The only atf agent Blake brought in.
He also introduced the sons To his partner, cole.
Together, they began To set up deals That could take The whole club down.
they were Extremely violent criminals.
And they're not To be underestimated.
narrator: In colorado Springs, the sons of silence Are old-school outlaws, Typical dirty bikers.
narrator: Atf agent Blake boteler Was definitely hiding something.
He, his girlfriend, And his undercover partner, Cole, were trying to take down Colorado's largest gang.
narrator: Blake and cole Began buying large quantities Of meth from the gang While a surveillance camera Recorded everything.
narrator: Here, Blake discusses a meth deal With steve kressin, The sons member who claimed 18 years earlier To have been involved In the murder Of the outlaws' National president.
narrator: Blake and his Partner also began Arranging firearms deals.
narrator: This surveillance Video shows him negotiating A sale.
narrator: They bought Semiautomatic stand guns Illegally modified To make them Fully automatic machine guns.
narrator: Blake's house Was a revolving door Of drug and firearms deals.
narrator: As blake Went deeper undercover, The rest of his life Took a backseat.
He rarely saw his own family.
narrator: The stakes Were high And got even higher As some became suspicious.
Blake's partner, cole, Almost blew their cover The first time he met Nick nichols.
when I walked in to sit down, Cole, the other fed, Said, "you want a 7-up, No ice, right?" I'm like, "yeah.
" He's never met me before.
I thought it kind of strange That he knew what I drank.
Either he was Really on top of it Or he did his homework.
narrator: Nichols Wasn't the only one.
In the middle of one gun deal, Blake was confronted By the national president, J.
narrator: By 1999, Blake and cole had been Working undercover For almost two years.
narrator: In October, The atf finally decided To conclude the investigation And roll up The sons of silence.
Warrants were prepared For 21 members of the gang, Including longtime national President j.
Finally, on October 7th, Blake went into the gang's Clubhouse early in the morning To disable the security systems.
narrator: For the first time In two years, He took off his sons colors And put on his atf uniform.
narrator: For two days, Blake and the atf Raided sons of silence Chapters across The state of colorado.
They arrested 43 gang members And associates, Seized 59 weapons, Four hand grenades, Four homemade bombs, A silencer, Ten pounds of methamphetamine, And approximately $30,000.
In addition, Agents seized the clubhouses In colorado springs And commerce city.
The raid stunned the public.
I think it opened up People's eyes, that, "geez, you know, These guys are selling bombs And machine guns And selling all these drugs.
" narrator: When it was over, Atf officials said they had Ended the sons of silence Reign of terror in colorado.
The sons quietly disagreed.
narrator: In 1999, The atf took down The sons of silence Motorcycle gang In colorado springs, Confident they dealt A fatal blow To the organization.
Then in 2003, After serving 18 months In prison, j.
Reed, The gang's president Of 22 years, Died from heart disease.
The sons of silence Showed up in force.
good afternoon.
I'm here to preside over The final services Of a good friend of ours.
narrator: They quoted From the bible, Read highly dramatic poetry Set to music and know that We're the lucky ones.
Sons forever, forever sons.
narrator: And called j.
A "peacemaker.
" your loss and my loss And our loss of a good friend, One who made everyone think They were his best friend.
narrator: Detective Jim wattles was in the crowd Keeping an eye on things.
He says the description Wasn't off the mark And that the peace j.
Brokered In 1997 is still holding strong.
there's been a couple Of little scrums And stuff, But no major things; No bombings, no shootings, No stabbings Or anything like that.
narrator: Today, Despite the atf raid And reed's death, The sons of silence Are stronger than ever.
Undercover agent blake boteler, Who put two years Into building the atf's case Against the gang, Says their numbers Are at an all-time high.
narrator: Not everyone Has stayed with the gang.
Ten-year member nick nichols Became a born-again christian.
I wanted a break.
I wanted some time off.
I wanted just to be With my wife.
And I asked the club For an early retirement.
narrator: He still Rides bikes But now wears the patch Of a christian motorcycle club, Church in the wind.
'cause we all want The same thing.
Whether it's a 1% club Or a party club Or a family club Or a christian club, We want to wear our patches, We want to ride With our brothers, And we want to be left alone.
narrator: Now the sons Of silence are being left alone.
Jim wattles has retired From the denver police force.
Since then, no one has kept The same close eye On the motorcycle gang.
I was working bikers 90% of the time.
Nobody's taken that over Since then.
Most of the old denver police Intelligence files were Destroyed after I left.
narrator: Wattles Occasionally shows up At the denver swap meet, An annual gathering Where all the bike clubs Sell merchandise And recruit new members.
it's a money-making Endeavor for the club, Same with the banditos And hells angels.
narrator: The sons Are as secretive as ever And are flying Under the radar.
if nobody's Watching these guys, They're free to do Whatever they want.
narrator: It's a point Not lost On the sons of silence.

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