We've been hearing the term organized crime a lot lately. Mostly associated with the practices of alleged crime families in large urban centers, it doesn't always play out that way.
Authorities have a tendency to use the tag for a wide array of groups, including motorcycle gangs. Here in the Minneapolis area, police identify six such groups. These are clubs that officials suggest might be on a par with those who were involved in the deadly melee in Waco, Texas, over the weekend.
According to various news reports about those events, some 170 suspects from several gangs face charges of engaging in organized crime in connection with a capital murder case. That's because of the deaths of nine people. Many others were hurt. A judge in Waco set bond for the defendants at $1 million each.
When claims of organized crime are made, the sense many may be left with is that there is some clear social structure that directs all of the suspect group's activities. But the truth is that the organization part of the equation is a less evident. It's more of a loose confederation situation.
There might be some bad players in any club. But those familiar with the Minnesota gangs say there are also good people in the clubs, and it would be wrong to paint them all with the same brush.
Indeed, it may be that some members of an organization could be involved in some illegal activities for money. And it might be possible for someone with ties to the club to unknowingly get caught up in a police action and be facing serious criminal charges just because of the affiliation.
Getting to the bottom of the whole story and protecting individual rights is something to leave in the hands of a skilled criminal defense attorney.