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Alleged Motorcycle Gang Leader Gets Bail

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A leader of a nationwide motorcycle club described by prosecutors as a violent criminal enterprise has been released on bail.

Wheels of Soul vice president James “Animal” Smith was released on $100,000 bond Friday with electronic monitoring. U.S. District Magistrate Linda Caracappa cited

Smith’s lack of a criminal record, his community ties and work history.

Lawyer William Brennan describes the 64-year-old equipment repairman as “clean as a whistle,” with no prior convictions.

The Wheels of Soul motorcycle club has a “Mother Chapter” in West Philadelphia which was raided by authorities on Tuesday. Federal prosecutors say the group orchestrated violence and mayhem that included at least three murders across the country.

The defendants are from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Colorado.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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