10 Notorious Motorcycle Gangs

Outlaws Motorcycle Club

They may not be as famous as their rivals, the Hells Angels, but the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (aka the American Outlaws Association or Outlaws Nation) has exclusive bragging rights to at least one honor. They can genuinely call themselves the first outlaw motorcycle club, started in 1936 as the McCook Outlaws in Cook County, Ill. Later, they took inspiration from the 1953 Marlon Brando movie "The Wild One," even borrowing their colors from the design on Brando's leather jacket [source: Dulaney]. Ironically, that film was based on the Hollister riot that got many of the outlaw clubs started. The club is still one of the largest today, with 1,700 members in 176 chapters in 13 countries [source: National Gang Intelligence Center].

Today, the Outlaws are considered one of the Big Four and control the Great Lakes region of the United States. Much of their violent activity is the result of their ongoing feud with Hells Angels. To fund their operations, the Outlaws cook and sell crystal meth and deal other drugs like cocaine and MDMA, better known as ecstasy. They have a heavy presence in Canada, where they fight opposing gangs for control of the cross-border drug trade. Among other crimes, the Outlaws have been tried in the United States for (but not always convicted of) arson, murder, kidnapping, explosives, robbery and even running prostitution rings [source: National Gang Intelligence Center]. In Australia, the Outlaws have been charged with crimes such as assaulting police officers, attempted murder and planting bombs in rival gang members' cars [source: Barker].