Police say an 18-month Horry County police investigation known as Operation Red Harvest showed the Hells Angels motorcycle club runs much like a business.
Surfside Beach police assisted county police in the investigation that led to 226 indictments and dozens of arrests.
Surfside Beach police Chief Mike Fred
taught college courses on the psychology of gangs for more than 12 years.
He considers Hells Angels a gang. But he said they do more than just ride the road on their bikes.
"I don't think the general public probably understands
," said Frederick. "
They are organizational structures. You apply for positions. There are positions that are voted on. There are presidents of each chapter. There are vice presidents. Many chapters have intelligence officers
hey almost all have a sergeant in arms."
He said they run like most organizations, with complete chains of command.
Members pay fees, hold fundraisers and often make money legitimately.
"Outlaw motorcycle gangs actually trademark their images and their logos and make a significant amount of money legally by selling trademarked goods like T-shirts, support wear," said Frederick.
He said police know this because agents spend years infiltrating the organizations.
"Its not a mystery in the sense that we have no idea what's going on in there. Its just a puzzle we have to crack. We have to figure how to get in there and infiltrate the organization and investigate."
Officers at every level of law enforcement consider the most notorious motorcycle groups, the big four, the Pagans, the Bandidos, the Outlaws and Hells Angels.
rick said chapters of these groups are run day to day like a company.
Horry County police have arrested all but eight people they say were part of a Hells Angels crime ring in Horry County
Officers in Horry and Georgetown counties arrested 27 people over the past few days.