Kingsmen Motorcycle Club trial gets under way

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BUFFALO: Federal racketeering case triggered by double murder in North Tonawanda.

BUFFALO — First there were 16. Then there were 20

Now just three remain.

And in a courtroom in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on Tuesday, federal prosecutors began laying out their case that two top officers and a hardened enforcer of the Kingsmen Motorcycle Club, ran an organized crime enterprise out of clubhouses from stretched from Lockport, the Falls and North Tonawanda all the way to Florida.

The federal racketeering case was triggered by the slaying of two North Tonawanda Kingsmen Chapter members in September 2014.

Andre Jenkins, who is currently serving a sentence of life without parole for the murders of Paul Maue and Daniel “DJ” Szymanski, is one of the five remaining federal defendants. He's joined by the Kingsmen’s National President David Pirk and Kingsmen Florida/Tennessee Regional President Timothy Enix.

They, along with 17 other regional officers and members were hit with a pair of grand jury indictments that charge crimes including racketeering conspiracy, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, using and maintaining a premises for drug dealing, distribution of marijuana, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, felon in possession of a firearm, Hobbs Act conspiracy, Hobbs Act robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon in furtherance of racketeering, use of a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime, accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice, false statements before a grand jury, user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms, distribution of cocaine and distribution of marijuana.

Pirk will also face a charge of murder in aid of racketeering for ordering the “hit” that led to the murders of Maue and Szymanski.

The trial is expected to last up to four months. Some of the original co-defendants in the case are expected to testify at the trial.

Prosecutor's plans have been shrouded in secrecy, necessary they say because of the threat of violence against those who cooperate with government investigators and attorneys.

The club, founded in 1959 in Lockport, took a turn to criminal activity in 2013 under the leadership of Perk. Prosecutors said Pirk determined that the Kingsmen should become a so-called 1% club. The 1% refers to a comment made by a representative of the American Motorcycle Association that 99 percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens while the remaining 1 percent are engaged in activities such as drug trafficking, firearms trafficking, and acts of violence.

Federal investigators say 1% clubs and their clubhouses are "a hub for criminal activity.”

Among the acts of violence that were charged in the indictments are the murders of Maue and Szymanski and an invasion of the club’s Springville Chapter, in 2013, where members were stripped of their club colors because they were “non-compliant” with plans to become a 1% club.

Coordinated raids at multiple Kingsmen clubhouses in August 2016, including the Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport clubhouse in the 2400 block of Cudaback Avenue, yielded a number of weapons. Investigators said they recovered long rifles, assault rifles and handguns.

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