As the violent motorcycle shootout in Texas earlier this year showed, biker gangs are alive and well in America. And the Feds have taken notice.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that Antonio Johnson, the "national president" of the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club, a predominately black motorcycle gang headquartered in northwest Detroit, had been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Johnson, aka Mister Tony, aka MT, aka Big Bro, 39, was convicted in March of numerous offenses, including conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and racketeering conspiracy.
Here are the two main incidents that did in Johnson, as well as a dozen other Phantoms—one as young as 21—who have already been convicted of murder and racketeering conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing:
The first occurred on Sept. 8, 2013. According to the Justice Department's release, Johnson ordered numerous Phantoms "to forcibly steal the 'rags,' or motorcycle vests, of members of the rival Satan Sidekick Motorcycle Club."
During the raid, a member of the Satan Sidekicks was shot in the face and a Phantom member was stabbed.
A few weeks later, Johnson and other Phantoms "plotted the murder of three members of the rival Hell Lovers Motorcycle Club"; the Phantoms held the Lovers members responsible for the death of another Phantom.
The Phantoms' full plan would have actually been pretty grisly, according to the release:
According to the evidence presented at trial, the plot involved killing the three men and then, during the anticipated subsequent wake at the Hell Lovers’ clubhouse, shooting all Hell Lovers in attendance. ATF and FBI agents intervened before the Phantoms carried out the plot.
The Phantoms have actually posted clips of their parties on YouTube:
Johnson was also a “Three-Star General” of Chicago's Vice Lords street gang, according to the release, and used this position to enlist Vice Lords in Phantom-based plots.
The crackdown is part of the Justice Department's Detroit One initiative, "a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and other violent crime in Detroit."
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.