Spokane County?s top law enforcement officials are concerned about the bad blood between the Hells Angels and Mongols Motorcycle Clubs spilling over into Spokane.
Like any organization motorcycle clubs need to grow to survive and so two weekends ago some high ranking Mongols were in town looking to expand their chapter here. The official website of the Mongol Nation portrays its members as reasonable, likable guys. The group, founded 40 years ago by Hispanic Vietnam veterans, even tries to be politically correct.
However Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick says both the Mongols and Hells Angels are more criminal enterprises than fun loving clubs.
?The enterprise they are involved in are drugs, weaponry and prostitution, and those will corrode the fabric of any community,? Chief Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick says the opportunity to expand those illegal operations in the area may be why Mongol recruiting is on the rise in Spokane. The group was spotted wearing their colors in Sprague Avenue bars two weekends ago and rival Hells Angels chapter members showed up to defend their territory.
?We had between 20 and 30 gang members from two rival gangs that were congregating downtown and we received a telephone call and took immediate action to bolster our presence,? Kirkpatrick said.
While the Spokane Police Department shifted all available officers from around the city to the bars where the Mongols and Hells Angels were facing off, the Spokane County Sheriff?s Office shifted some of its deputies to cover outlying areas around the city until the situation between the two motorcycle clubs was resolved.
The bad blood between the Mongols and Hells Angels goes back many years. In 2002 the gangs clashed during the Laughlin River Run. A fight inside Harrah?s Laughlin Casino between the Mongols and Hells Angels left three dead and 13 injured.
Chief Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich don?t want that type of violence to spill over into Spokane County.
?We're not going to make Spokane a place where any of this can breed. We're going to make Spokane the safest city of our size in America,: Kirkpatrick said.
If the Mongols are trying to recruit in Spokane, they?re working against a deadline. ?Smilin? Rick? Fabel, the president of the local chapter of the Hells Angels, has been in federal prison since 2007 but is scheduled to be released next year.
Once Fabel is released, the Mongols may find it a lot tougher to move in on Angels territory.