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Thursday, September 12, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department Detective Michael “Mike” Merckle on Wednesday, September 11 received the 2013 Robert Faulkner Memorial Award from the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association in recognition of Merckle’s work as one of the lead investigators in a local, state and federal investigation of the Hells Angels South Carolina Nomads chapter that operated between Lexington and Rock Hill.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said Merckle, 36, of Gilbert, received the award for a United States investigation during the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association’s 39th annual conference in St. Paul, Minn. The association is comprised of investigators and other criminal justice practitioners who are committed to investigating and prosecuting crimes that are committed by outlaw motorcycle gang members.

Merckle serves an undercover detective with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET), Metts said. On July 12, 2004, Metts appointed Merckle to serve as a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department.

“I am pleased that Michael received this prestigious award, which recognizes the outstanding job that Michael performed in investigating Hells Angels activities in South Carolina,” Metts said. “Michael is a smart and dedicated detective who is energetic, tenacious and thorough in investigating criminal activity.”

As a result of the local, state and federal investigation, 16 members and associates of the Hells Angels South Carolina Nomads chapter were convicted in federal court of crimes related to a racketeering conspiracy under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbia.

Members and associates of the Hells Angels South Carolina Nomads Chapter engaged in drug dealing, money laundering, firearms trafficking, use of firearms in relation to violent crimes and drug dealing, attempted armed robbery, arson and other offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation revealed that Hells Angels trafficked in more than 100 firearms, knowing that the weapons were being sold to criminals who intended to use the firearms to rob drug dealers. Hells Angels also illegally sold methamphetamine, cocaine, bath salts and prescription painkillers.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

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