August 3- 9, 2006
City Beat : UnderworldBadder Breed
Biker-gang members wonder if there are rats among them.
"These guys are worse than the mob," one organized crime investigator tells City Paper. "They're ready to turn on each other."
Although the Breed and rival biker gang the Warlocks usually steer clear of one another, a Warlock was allegedly selling meth to a Breed who lives in Bristol; state agents stumbled onto the Breed meth ring during their investigation into drug trafficking by the Warlocks.
Last year, undercover agents for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) began buying crystal methamphetamine, known as "ice," from Breed associates and members in Bucks County and South Jersey. Then, five weeks ago, BNI agents, Bucks County detectives and Philly police fanned out with 13 search warrants. They seized 22 pounds of "ice," $500,000 in cash and bank deposits, a submachine gun, a shotgun and 42 other firearms. They also seized 24 motorcycles, some of which were stolen. After the raids, state agents listened in on wiretapped telephones as members of the Breed continued to blab, allegedly about their own illegal activities.
State Attorney General Tom Corbett says that John "Junior" Napoli, president of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Breed, had plenty of bad things to say about investigators. Napoli, of Levittown, was allegedly overheard on a wiretap saying, "Maybe one day they will get shot in the head while on the job. ... Maybe someone will rape their mothers with a hot curling iron."
At least one lawyer representing a member of the Breed now under arrest thinks that Napoli's foul mouth is the reason the gang was rounded up so quickly but sources say his words had nothing to do with the busts.
Those arrested include John "Shameless" Kovacs, the reputed New Jersey Breed chapter president and William "Tattoo Billy" Johnson of Philadelphia, who supposedly used his tattoo shop in Bensalem, House of a 1000 Tattoos, to store multipound shipments of meth and distribute the drug to other Breed members.
"As low class, lowlife as the Pagans are, the Warlocks are worse," ex-Pagan Jimmy DeGregorio once told the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. But along the spectrum of bad to worse in the outlaw-biker subculture, the Breed seems to occupy the very bottom rung of a very grimy ladder.
"They've been around the Trenton, New Jersey, and the Bensalem area of Bucks County for about 30 years now," one organized crime investigator explains. "If you get kicked out of the Pagans, if you get thrown out of the Warlocks, then the Breed will take you as a member."
Nicknames of Breed members and associates arrested two weeks ago include Slam, Ruthless, Coffin, Nazi Jimmy, Crypt Keeper and a woman known as Scary Movie.
State agents say that a search of Breed chapter secretary Kenneth "Chains" Steinmuller's Bensalem home turned up a shrine to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Steinmuller is accused of distributing meth.
Even though Breed bikers count among their members and associates former Warlocks and Pagans, many fellow 1-percenters can't stand them. In December 1988, the Warlocks kidnapped then Breed chapter president Craig "Coyote" Gudkneckt. Since several Warlock members had been jumped in a Bensalem bar, Gudkneckt was taken to the home of a Warlock where he was tied up, beaten and pistol-whipped. Gudkneckt escaped and in a very un-biker moment, went straight to the police to report the crime.
At the same time, the Breed was involved in a series of incidents with the Pagans. One Breed was jumped in Philly — Pagan Nation territory — and stripped of his colors. (Colors are club emblems sewn on the back of a member's jacket and are considered the most prized possession of an outlaw biker. Losing one's colors is grounds for expulsion.)
During the next 20 years, things didn't get much better for the 100-member club with chapters in Central and South Jersey, Bucks County and western Pennsylvania. Six years ago, Central Jersey Breed members were arrested in Long Branch for extortion and assaulting nude dancers who worked in area strip clubs controlled by the gang. And two years ago, one high-ranking South Jersey Breed, who allegedly ran a burglary ring specializing in ripping off rural bars, was forced to flee the state after loose-lipped associates began bragging about their crime ring and their close connection to the Breed.
"I'd say they're the scum of the earth," says an investigator, "but scum is too nice a word for them."