Funny, you’ll never get a real gang member, but keep trying.

I spent years infiltrating multiple gangs as an investigator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and eventually wrote a book on my experience: Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America’s Deadliest Biker Gangs. There are many things that might shock you about this particular type of gang life, even after you watched news of the Waco biker shootings, but here are five surprising facts of that dangerous life.

1. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are anything but rebel nonconformists. To the contrary, they follow a strict military rank-and-file structure, implement an earned-patch system, vote in “officers” and insist their members wear uniforms (“cuts”).

2. OMGs are highly skilled warmongers; killing can be a purpose and mission. They meet regularly in so-called “Church” to plot, share intelligence, discuss surveillance of rival gangs and study their enemy combatants. They learn details, such as where their rivals live, work and play. And they can be methodical killers.

3. They understand protocol, and respect and adhere to strict rules and regulations within their own club — yet many of them cannot function outside these structures as civilized members of society.

4. Many members of outlaw motorcycle gangs are former and active military personnel and have been reported on both U.S. and international military installations. This legitimacy helps them facilitate criminal activity such as weapons and drug trafficking, or to receive weapons and combat training that they can then introduce to their gangs.

5. The deplorable treatment of women by OMGs is well documented, but whywomen willingly subject themselves to such abuse by these gangs is even more disturbing. A select few proudly wear their “Property Of” shirts while so-called “pass-arounds” willingly submit to sex acts by multiple members. Within each gang is a female hierarchy (not modeled after the military). Women are first “sheep,” then “Mamas” and finally “Ole Ladies.”

Charles Falco infiltrated outlaw motorcycle gangs as an undercover agent.

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