TORREY, Wayne County — Law enforcement officers beefed up their presence in Wayne County over Memorial Day weekend for an event involving a notorious West Coast motorcycle club.
Just days before Memorial Day weekend, Wayne County sheriff's officials were informed that as many as 400 members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club would descend upon the area, Wayne County sheriff's spokesman Tal Ehlers said.
According to the club's website, it was started in the Los Angeles area in 1969 and is known as a "brotherhood." In 2008, dozens of members were arrested in a federal crackdown that had prosecutors alleging the group is actually an organized criminal gang that dabbles in the drug trade, as well as violent crimes ranging from murder to robbery and assault.
The weekend event was the group's annual "run," which involves the club president and members from "California to Florida, Pennsylvania to Washington," Ehlers said. In total, 300 to 400 people arrived Friday, May 27, and left Sunday, May 29.
"We thought they were going to stay until Monday or Tuesday, but apparently there was such a heavy law enforcement presence here they left," he said.
Ehlers said he believes the group chose Wayne County because "it's a sparsely populated rural community with very limited law enforcement."
But law enforcement officers from the Utah Highway Patrol and surrounding counties came to support Wayne County in monitoring the motorcyclists, adding up to 70 officers over the course of the weekend.
"We cannot thank the Highway Patrol and all the county sheriff's offices enough for dispatching men from their areas on a heavily traveled weekend to help us," he said. "Just having the presence of law enforcement in the area thwarted anything that could have happened."
In total, about 100 traffic-related citations were issued and one individual was arrested. Ehlers said he was unsure what prompted the arrest, but was pleased with how the weekend ended.
"Things went extremely well," he said.