The national leader of the outlaw Pagans motorcycle gang was arrested in New Jersey on Feb. 20 on a federal gun charge after leaving a party in Lancaster County, according to a report by Mercer Daily Voice.
Keith Richter, 62, was returning to his Bay Shore, New York, home after attending a Pagans gathering in the county when he was stopped in Mercer County, New Jersey, according to the report. Police found Richter, a former prison inmate who is also known as “Conan the Barbarian,” with a loaded .45-caliber handgun.
The Pagans Motorcycle Club, identified by the FBI as one of four major outlaw motorcycle gangs in the U.S., along with the Hells Angels, Outlaws and Bandidos, has increased membership in Pennsylvania and New Jersey over the past five years, according to the report. Clashes between rival gangs are frequent, and members have also been known to randomly assault people.
The recent Pagans expansion, which includes new chapters in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, has been in what had primarily been Hells Angels and Outlaws territory in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to the report.
Authorities say Richter has boosted Pagans membership by absorbing smaller gangs, according to the report. He has also recruited from the Latin Kings, though he still bans Black people from joining the Pagans.
Richter was scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in Newark by video conference on Friday on weapons offenses that include being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to the report.
Richter had been sent to prison in 1988 for racketeering-related murder conspiracy, among other convictions, according to the report. He was released in 2012 and took control of the Pagans six years later.