Pagans motorcycle club expanding in the Garden State, N.J. investigators say

The Pagans now have 17 chapters, the state Commission of Investigation says, up from 10 a few years ago, and some of its members continue to break the law.

(Courtesy of New Jersey State Commission of Investigation)

(Courtesy of New Jersey State Commission of Investigation)

An outlaw motorcycle gang with criminal tendencies is experiencing a resurgence in New Jersey, authorities say.

According to investigators with the New Jersey Commission of Investigation, the Pagans motorcycle club now has 17 chapters across the state, up from 10 a few years ago, and some of its members continue to break the law.

“It’s going to be hard to find a county where you don’t have a Pagan presence or have somewhere in the county where they’re not trying to establish a chapter,” said Edwin Torres, an SCI investigative agent.

But Hugo Nieves, a suspected national vice president of the Pagans who testified during a Wednesday hearing in Trenton, largely invoking his right to remain silent, said it was “not the policy of this club for anybody to engage in any criminal activity.”

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According to the SCI, the motorcycle club has rapidly expanded its membership across the state and ramped up its criminal activities, including assaults, shootings, extortion, strong-arm debt collection, and drug dealing.

One SCI investigator said that some Pagans even had ties to current law enforcement officials, including employees of the New Jersey Department of Corrections and local police departments.

“We even have at least one example of a Pagan who is friendly with a law enforcement person in a sensitive position and has tried to exploit that relationship to gain sensitive information about law enforcement investigations,” said Glenn Pender, an SCI special agent and investigator.

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