Two members of the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Gang received life in prison for the torture and murder of a former gang member on Thursday.
The Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Gang, which has clubs around the world in countries like Australia, Norway, and South Africa, has been linked to criminal activity such as arson, armed robbery, gun trafficking, and assault.
After being convicted in December on kidnapping and murder charges, a judge sentenced Mark Leroy Dencklau, 61, of Woodburn, Oregon, and Chad Leroy Erickson, 51, of Rainier, Oregon, to life in prison.
Dencklau was the gang’s Portland-area president.
“Organized crime will not be tolerated in the District of Oregon. Dencklau, Erickson and other members of the Gypsy Joker Outlaw Motorcycle Club prided themselves in using violence to intimidate others and bolster their sense of power and influence,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Scott Erik Asphaug said at the time of their conviction.
“The kidnapping, torture, and murder of Robert Huggins was a gruesome example of the lengths these men were willing to go to exert their authority over rivals and perceived enemies,” he added.
Federal authorities recovered the body of Huggins, an ex-gang member, in Clark County, Washington, after he had a falling out with the gang over alleged stealing. His battered body lay in a field leading investigators to believe that he had been tortured.
Huggins, who had been addicted to heroin, was found to have suffered a fractured skull, and had been stabbed in the leg and cut in the arm by Erickson.
“The heinous actions of this criminal organization clearly warranted this guilty verdict,” ATF agent Jonathan T. McPherson said. “ATF remains committed to combatting organizations like the Gypsy Jokers Outlaw Motorcycle Club that endanger our communities.”
The initial arrests of Erickson and Dencklau were made back in 2016, and police raided the Gypsy Jokers Portland clubhouse while investigating the death of Huggins.
“All I can say is the victim died a horrible death, the nature of his injuries are such that his last hours were awful,” Portland Police Detective Jim Lawrence said after the raid.
The gang has been active in the United States since the 1980s and has maintained a presence in both Oregon and Washington.
“The old saying is that 99% of the motorcycling world is law-abiding,” she said. “This group embraces being part of the 1% who do not follow society’s rules and they wear a patch that says as much,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah Bolstad said during the trial.
The investigation involved ATF agents, Portland Police, the U.S. Marshall’s Service, Oregon State Police, Clark County Sheriff Office, Washington and Oregon Crime labs, the IRS criminal division, and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
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