A federal jury on Thursday found the Mongol Nation biker gang guilty of racketeering, siding with prosecutors who said it operated as an organized criminal enterprise involved in murder, attempted murder and illegally distributing methamphetamine and cocaine, authorities said.
The Mongol Nation, called a violent biker gang by prosecutors, was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy.
Still to be determined is whether the Mongols, dubbed “the most violent and dangerous" biker gang in the country, will forfeit "any and all marks" that include the organization's logo — the word "Mongols" and a drawing of a Genghis Khan-styled rider on a motorcycle.
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Higher-ups in the estimated 600-person gang "will frequently bear patches that indicate they are officers in the enterprise," and they earn those patches through violence and mayhem, prosecutors say.
The verdict will not mean prison time since it is against the organization, not individuals, but the group could be subject to criminal fines, according to court documents. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 8 to argue forfeiture issues.
A request for comment from the attorney listed as representing the Mongol Nation in court documents, was not immediately returned. An email to a person listed on the Mongols' website was also not returned Thursday.
"The Mongols Gang is a violent, drug trafficking organization that advocates and rewards its members and associates for committing violent crimes, including, and specifically, assaults and murders, on behalf of the gang and in order to promote what the gang terms 'respect,' prosecutors wrote in one court filing.
In another filing, they said the club's "'Mother Chapter" may award a "skull and crossbones" or "Respect Few Fear None" patch to members who have committed murder or engaged in acts of violence on behalf of the gang.
Prosecutors said in court documents that the Mongols are a nationwide organization, but approximately 400 of its 500 to 600 members are believed to be located in Southern California, and some of its members are current or former members of Los Angeles County street gangs.
Defense lawyers have said the motorcycle group is simply a loose configuration of riders in the Southwest, not an organized criminal enterprise. They also have maintained that the government doesn't have the right to seize the patches of members who haven't been involved in any criminal activity.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles has been trying to go after the patches for a decade.
Then-U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien first announced the unusual legal bid after 79 members of the gang were indicted in 2008.
Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security.