Woodburn man found guilty
Two members of the Gypsy Joker Outlaw Motorcycle Club, including a Woodburn man, were found guilty of kidnapping and murder in the aid of racketeering, according to a report issued Nov. 30 from the Oregon U.S. Attorney's District Office.
Mark Leroy Dencklau, 61, of Woodburn and Chad Leroy Erickson, 51, of Rainier were accused of murder in aid of racketeering and kidnapping in aid of racketeering that resulted in the death of Robert Huggins of Portland, who was also a GJOMC member.
Another club member, Kenneth Earl Hause, 64, of Aumsville was acquitted of the charges.
Court documents and testimony indicated that GJOMC members maintained status within the club through various acts of violent racketeering, including murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, narcotics trafficking and witness tampering.
"Organized crime will not be tolerated in the District of Oregon," Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Scott Erik Asphaug said. "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.
"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," Asphaug added. "A robust, coordinated law enforcement operation led to their arrest and prosecution. Our community is safer thanks to the dedication of all involved law enforcement agencies."
Since the 1980s, the motorcycle club has been active in six states, including Oregon and Washington, and has international chapters in Germany, Australia and Norway, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
From 2003 until his arrest, Dencklau served as the president of the GJOMC Portland chapter. The club oversaw several support clubs in Oregon and Washington, including the Road Brothers Northwest Motorcycle Club, Solutions Motorcycle Club, Northwest Veterans Motorcycle Club, High-Side Riders, and the Freedom Fellowship Motorcycle Club.
Support club members conducted criminal activities in support of the GJOMC and served as a source of new members and revenue for the club.
The U.S. Attorney's Office report said that Huggins was an estranged GJOMC member. On July 1, 2015, Huggins's body was found lying in a field in Clark County, Wash., badly beaten; he appeared to have been tortured prior to his death.
Huggins was stripped of his club membership for allegedly stealing from the club and, after breaking into Dencklau's Woodburn residence, tying up Dencklau's girlfriend and stealing multiple firearms. In the days and weeks following this robbery, Dencklau directed GJOMC members to find Huggins.
Several government witnesses testified at trial to Dencklau, Erickson, and their co-defendants' roles in the revenge kidnapping, torture, and murder of Huggins.
The report said on June 30, 2015, Dencklau and others kidnapped Huggins from a Portland residence and took him to a rural area in Southwest Washington. Over the course of several hours, Huggins was severely beaten and tortured, sustaining numerous injuries to his head and face, including a fractured skull; lacerations to his chest and torso and removed nipples. A local medical examiner ruled that Huggins' death was caused by multiple blunt and sharp force injuries.
"The heinous actions of this criminal organization clearly warranted this guilty verdict," Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Seattle Field Division Jonathan T. McPherson said. "ATF remains committed to combatting organizations like the Gypsy Jokers Outlaw Motorcycle Club that endanger our communities."
In June of 2018 a federal grand jury in Portland returned a four-count indictment charging Dencklau, Earl Deverle Fisher, 48, of Gresham and Tiler Evan Pribbernow, 40, of Portland, with murder in aid of racketeering; kidnapping in aid of racketeering, resulting in death; kidnapping resulting in death and conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death.
In November 2018 Dencklau, Fisher, Erickson, Hause, Ryan Anthony Negrinelli, 36, of Gresham and Joseph Duane Folkerts, 61, of Battleground, Wash., were charged by superseding indictment with racketeering conspiracy.
Fisher, Negrinelli, Folkerts, and Pribbernow all pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
All defendants convicted face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. Dencklau and Erickson also face mandatory minimum sentences of life in prison.
Portland Police Bureau and ATF investigated the crimes, assisted by the U.S. Marshals Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Clark County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, and the Oregon and Washington State Crime Labs.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah K. Bolstad and Steven T. Mygrant prosecuted the case along with Damaré Theriot, a trial attorney for the Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Gang Section.
Asphaug and McPherson noted that the case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General's mission to reduce violent crime, the District of Oregon's PSN program focuses on prosecuting individuals who most significantly drive violence in local communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement, community organizations, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.
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