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The History of The Warlocks Motorcycle Club

Motorcycle clubs are notorious organizations that are often associated with crime and rough men, but these groups have a complex role in their communities and were originally created as a way to connect men from similar backgrounds. However, many of them have always had connections to the criminal world and anarchist rhetoric. One of the most notable of these clubs is the Warlocks Motorcycle Club, which remains one of the oldest and most prominent of all motorcycle clubs.

The history of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club is long and fascinating, and there actually isn’t just one Warlock Motorcycle Club out there. Many details surprise outsiders who have never heard the in-depth history of the Warlocks and their mission. The Warlocks MC is often labeled a motorcycle gang, but what is the history of the Warlocks MC, and are they really a motorcycle gang? Read on the discover how the Warlocks Motorcycle Club was created, what the group does, and how drug and weapon charges play a role in the group’s organization.

What is Warlocks Motorcycle Club?

The Warlocks MC is a motorcycle organization that arose in the 1960s, starting in Florida. This group has grown to include dozens of chapters and hundreds of members. These groups prioritize brotherhood, the love of motorcycles, and collective appreciation for the group’s beliefs and values. For many, these clubs became a refuge but also created a lot of controversy over the years.

What many people don’t realize is that there are two “Warlocks Motorcycle Clubs.” One started in Florida while another started in Pennsylvania, both in 1967. These clubs are distinct, but we will talk about both here, as they have similar philosophies and have huge influence in their respective areas and even on each other. The Florida group is most associated with the name because it is larger and global, but there’s no doubt that the shared name causes some confusion and some of the actions of the Pennsylvania group influence that of the Florida group because the public mostly knows the groups as one.

The Early History of Warlocks Motorcycle Club

The Warlocks Motorcycle Club had a modest start in Florida, where the mother chapter was established in 1967. The Florida Warlocks were founded by Tom “Grub” Freeland. Tom “Grub” Freeland created this group after serving on the USS Shangri-La, and he created it as a one percenter motorcycle club, meaning that it included the one percent of motorcyclists who were not law-abiding citizens.

It’s no wonder that the group has always been linked with criminal associations. The group targeted many men who had experiences similar to those that he had on the Shangri-La, and initially, these men were often felons, who proudly wore the club’s insignia. Florida turned out to be a great location for the group to build a presence. The impact of the WMC did not end in Florida. Other groups quickly emerged in response and new charters began.

At around the same time, a similar one-percenter group of the same name also emerged in Pennsylvania. This group is distinct from the Florida Warlocks but also has many associations. For example, it is an outlaw group and encourages crime, implicitly if not explicitly.

Emblem of The Warlocks MC: To Beat Us, You Must Be Kidding

The Warlocks MC is known for the club’s insignia and branding, which connects the many chapters and divisions of the organization. The colors of The Warlocks MC are yellow, crimson red, and black with a glowing Phoenix emblem. The mottos for the group are Warlocks Forever, Forever Warlocks. The club’s insignia is displayed on the backs of their riding jackets or vests. Another motto of the group is “To find us, you must be good, to catch us, you must be fast, and to beat us, you must be kidding.”

The PA group has an insignia based on a harpy figure from Greek mythology, which distinguishes it, and has been linked to racist policies and the racist motto of “All white!” Red and White!”

Growth of The Warlocks MC Florida

Not long after founding the mother chapter, more chapters begin to flourish beyond Orlando, Florida. Chapters were also formed in Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Minnesota, New York, and South Carolina. There are also international chapters of The Warlocks in Canada, England, and Germany. While the mother chapter may seem most prominent, the other chapters have gathered hundreds of members of their own, showing an impressive presence of the Warlocks MC.

International Chapters of The Warlocks

The Warlocks have two known chapters in the country of Germany. This includes Warlocks Allgau Chapter, and Warlocks Mountain Valley Chapter. The MC is also active in the country of England with the Warlocks Lincolnshire Chapter, Warlocks Lincoln Chapter, and Warlocks Scunthorpe Chapter. Canada also has a presence of The Warlocks MC with Warlocks Edmonton Chapter, Warlocks Fort McMurry Chapter, and The Warlocks Drayton Valley Chapter.

Special Warlocks Chapters

There are two special Warlocks Chapters. These are made up of members who are not associated with any particular city/state chapters, but who live and work in the United States. These members are still just as proud of their positions. They are the Warlocks Nomad Chapter and the Warlocks Freebird Chapter. Several Nomads and Free Birds have been prominent names in the Warlock MC. These special Warlocks chapters may not be arranged exactly like the others, but they are still notable parts of the Warlocks MC.

Breakdown of the United States Chapters

When Tom “Grub” Freeland started the Warlocks MC, he probably didn’t realize how much impact his small group would eventually have. The Warlocks have expanded to include 41 chapters within the United States, Canada, England, and Germany. They are the most prolific in the state of Florida with 11 chapters in various cities of the state.

In South Carolina, there are 7 chapters, five in Virginia, and four in West Virginia. There are two chapters in Georgia, two in Ohio, and one each in Tennessee, Minnesota, and New York. In Canada, there are three, three in England, and two chapters in Germany.

The Nomads and Freebirds also make up a good representation of independents. Membership is well over 500 for the WMC.

Warlocks Growth: The Pennsylvania Warlocks

The expansion for the Philly group was more limited and did not develop beyond the mid-Atlantic region of the United States; however, the group still has a notable presence in this region and has dozens of members. This chapter has a presence in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Warlocks Motorcycle Club Controversies and Criminal Activity

There’s no doubt that one of the main features of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club is the club’s many controversies, criminal activities, and legal battles. They have long been associated with organized crime, leading to common drug and weapons charges and undercover officers trying to access the group. The club has often been accused of a myriad of crimes that have led to arrests and imprisonment for drug crimes and other offenses like murder. In 1991, the former president, John “Spike” Ingrao of the Warlocks MC was even arrested and sentenced to 9 years in prison for drugs, explosives, and weapons charges. These offenses have added to the notoriety of the club and have helped it develop such a long-standing reputation among the many motorcycle clubs across the United States.

 To Catch Us You Must Be Fast: A Culture of Violence

The Warlocks Motorcycle Club is known for creating a culture of violence that is intertwined with the group’s identity and behaviors. Much of this atmosphere began with Tom “Grub” Freeland’s original chapter and has expanded to other chapters. There have been many reports of violent incidents both internally and externally. Both the Florida Warlocks and the PA Warlocks are one-percenter motorcycle clubs, which is a play on a saying that 99 percent of all motorcyclists are law-abiding, while these clubs don’t claim to be law-abiding, and during its founding, the Pennsylvania club even required that someone be a felon to join.

The overall organization of these groups has created an environment that encourages violence and crime, even if the groups were not created to be part of organized crime. Accordingly, crime has become a huge part of these groups, and even if they do abide by laws, the public and law enforcement will be skeptical based on the past and the mentality of many motorcycle clubs, especially the one-percenters.

These groups also have reputations for having a tense relationship with law enforcement, which only further creates the potential for violence. On top of all the external forces that create a culture of violence, internal disputed as well as territorial issues can cause even more problems. As a result, potential violence operates on many levels and is hard to separate from the groups.

The Warlocks of Orlando, Florida Earn a Notorious Reputation

According to Join The Bike Club, The Warlocks is considered to be one of the most dangerous MCs in the United States and have had a notable role in Central Florida affairs for many years.  The Orlando, Florida, group members are known for many of their controversies and boldness. Since its founding, the group has grown tremendously. The group earned a reputation that put them on the notorious list. In 1991, an undercover agent was sent to infiltrate the club. An undercover agent was also sent in at other times, like in 2003 when the ATF suspected some of the Florida Warlocks members of illegal drug dealing.

One of the members of the MC was caught with 10 pounds of crystal meth. The member was arrested and charged with criminal activity. Four more members were charged with selling various illegal drugs in the same year. These charges are not uncommon, so it’s clear how the Florida Warlocks built such a huge reputation over the years.

The Warlocks earned a history of violence for killing police officers, and for engaging in violent altercations with other MCs and gangs. Several members of the club are serving prison sentences for drug and firearms violations. Several members have also been charged but not convicted of other offenses.

Controversy in the Pennsylvania Chapter

One of the most notable features of the Warlocks is big controversies within the Pennsylvania club. The East Coast groups are known for their notoriety. There have been numerous encounters that have resulted in conflict within the club and in the surrounding community. This chapter is one of the best representatives of the tumult that has long been associated with Warlocks MC.  It highlights the club’s alleged involvement in illegal activities and internal discourse.

From the start, the history of the Pennsylvania chapter was rocky. It is believed that the Pennsylvania-based chapters of The Warlocks MC were stolen from the founder. A few members had visited the Navy Yards during the latter part of the 1960s in Philadelphia. They returned and started a chapter, but with no process in place to prove the allegations, there was nothing done about the franchise, so the group was ultimately taken from its initial founder. This remains a topic of controversy in the history of the group.

The club initially began as a group frequented by white Vietnam War veterans. In the beginning, members were required to be felons. The group has dozens of members, and all must be an owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

There have been many power struggles in this chapter and confrontations between different factions. While it’s normal to have some discord in clubs, the PA club really takes the cake for feuds and fights. Thus, there have been many changes in the power structure and rivalries within the chapter, which have caused legal issues as well as PR issues for the club.

Like some of the other chapters, there have been big media moments for the PA chapter of the club. The attack of Danny Centrone made big news in July 1972 when the teenager was beaten with chains and boots. While the teen did recover, he was left brain damaged, and in 1993, he choked on a piece of steak and died, which related to the attack more than twenty years before.

Members of the Warlocks’ PA chapter have been charged or convicted of a variety of crimes, including racketeering, drug trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, assault, and even murder. These charges have earned them a dangerous reputation and add to the public’s belief that the motorcycle club is a criminal group. The club was known for associations with methamphetamine trafficking in the 1980s, but it later became more associated with trafficking cocaine.

Even now, years after many of the main controversies, it’s still common to see press releases about this chapter of the Warlocks MC. The chapter was even a focus in Thomas Barker’s book: Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs as Organized Crime Groups. In his book, Thomas Barker gives an in-depth perspective of the Warlocks MC as a criminal organization.

Issues in Other Chapters

Chapters most frequently associated with criminal activities are from Florida and Pennsylvania. But the groups from Orlando, Florida and Philadelphia, PA, aren’t the only groups around, and many other have also participated in illegal acts. In March of 2014, several members of the Alberta, Canada Chapter were arrested on weapons charges. These sorts of weapons charges and related charges have catapulted the group onto law enforcement’s radar. The Warlocks are classified as an outlaw motorcycle club and are under the constant scrutiny of the ATF. The ATF investigated the warlocks multiple times. It’s no wonder they’re one of the most-known motorcycle clubs of all time.

Racism and Sexism in the Warlocks MC

One of the most prevalent issues people have with the Warlocks Motorcycle Club is racism allegations. Motorcycle clubs are large are known for being mostly white and male groups, and some of them have done active harm to people of color and women. While there may be factions of the Warlocks that are racist, and some chapters have exclusionary rules, this is not always the case, and race relations have evolved over the years as the club has developed. The PA Warlocks are certainly more associated with racism because they have more explicitly racist terms and foundations, but the Florida Warlocks have also had their fair share of racism allegations. Regardless, racism and misogyny are very real issues that are still very much ingrained in motorcycle clubs, and while some members may be accepting, stereotypes and prejudices are prominent.

The Perseverance of the Warlocks: Forever Warlocks

The Warlocks Motorcycle Club has a long history that started aboard a US Naval carrier, and it has continued to develop as one of the most notable motorcycle clubs around the world thanks to the work of Tom “Grub” Freeland and his peers. It’s been in existence for more than 50 years and the group is still going strong, but here have been many notable controversies, including concerns about drug and weapon charges.

There has been a fair share of illegal drug and firearms activities and the group has gained notoriety for violence involving the killing of police officers as well as violence between Warlocks members and other rival gangs and clubs. There’s no doubt that the group’s alleged illegal activities will remain one of the main associations the public has about this group. Rivals of The Warlocks are Iron Order MC, Renegades MC, and Highwaymen MC.

The Warlocks are mostly an East Coast group with some international chapters in Canada, Germany, and England. The strongest representation of the Warlocks is in Florida where the mother chapter is still in existence, but there are certainly other notable chapters, such as the Pennsylvania Warlocks MC. Forever Warlocks, the motto of the group, shows that the Warlocks MC club believes they will have a long-lasting legacy and continue to develop the group. Warlocks forever want to keep their group alive for generations to come. We don’t think Warlock Nation is going anywhere anytime soon based on their still dominant presence.  Tom “Grub” Freeland would likely be proud of how large his club has become in the United States and abroad.

While many people in the community are concerned that the Warlocks are a harmful group that’s intertwined with organized crime, the WMC insists that they are not a crime group. Instead, they are a brotherhood that shares a deep social connection and seeks to share their love of motorcycles to promote a healthy social life that many men in the United States crave and need as an outlet. They are often clear that while certain parts and factions of the group may have tense relations with the police and legal issues, those issues do not expand to the entire club and is often exaggerated.

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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