CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (April 14, 2015)– When Pat Matter left the outlaw biker life he walked, not rode, away as the president of the Minneapolis chapter of the Hells Angels. He was a millionaire four times over, had a fortune buried in PVC pipes in his backyard, a pole barn full of toys and a nearly unblemished 30-year career running a key chapter in a nationwide criminal empire.
At one time, legendary Oakland Chapter President Sonny Barger was a friend and visited his house.
Hennepin County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Omodt led the multi-year investigation that finally brought down the man dubbed “The Godfather” of Twin Cities bikers and sent him to federal prison.
Now, the retired lawman and the paroled Angel travel the country teaching law enforcement authorities how to spot and stop motorcycle gangs and the drug dealing, money laundering and murder that is destroying their hometowns.
“We go to local law enforcement and we talk about the life of a biker and ways to investigate them and what they really do,” said Omodt during a break in a training session hosted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. “I will say that he might have been a criminal but he’s always told the truth.”
Omodt came to respect his biker adversary, Matter’s professionalism and underground integrity and commitment to his family if not his fellow club members.
“I had a wife I had a son that was four years old and that’s when I decided I’m going to turn this around and give up the club,” said Matter, who now looks back and said his criminal success was not worth the price, “Because of what happened in the end and having to cooperate against people that I considered brothers, it was a hard thing to do. It was the hardest thing to do.”
Matter and Omodt co-authored, Breaking the Code: A True Story by a Hells Angels President and the Cop Who Pursued Him. The book details, in alternating chapters, Matter’s history as a biker boss and Omodt’s struggle to bring him to justice.
“I like to take Pat because he’s the real deal,” said Omodt. “I like to take him out along with myself, hear his side of the story, my side of the story, how to investigate him, and he talks about ways law enforcement can kind of come at him, too.”
Matter told officers gathered from across Indiana about the internal security steps that made the Angels appear clean to the outside world, the meaning of the Filthy Few patch, how he laundered money and polygraphed club members and how the crew bought off a judge.
“I think because the club stays so low key that they don’t draw attention to themselves and they don’t want to draw attention to their business to what they’re really doing,” said Matter. “Can judges be bought? Yes, they can.”
Scattered in the audience were undercover officers charged with gathering evidence and devising ways to keep biker gangs and their operations from ruining rural Indiana communities.
“We certainly have a growing number of bikers in our area,” said Chief Deputy Ryan Needham of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. “We have a meth problem and a heroin problem and a prescription drug problem here as well.”
Needham noted two clubhouses have located near Crawfordsville.
“A lot with these guys its claiming territory and I don’t know that we ever had a real big problem with outlaw biker gangs in our area until a few years ago,” he said. “That would be my assumption, ‘We’re gonna take over this area we’re gonna gain this ground and we’re gonna make this our home.'”
Needham’s assessment is being borne out all across Indiana, especially in Marshall County where one officer told FOX59 News that rival Chicago and Ohio gangs have put the north-central community of Plymouth on the dividing line for territory.
“This is a starting point,” said Needham, looking out at a conference room full of investigators sharing the same concern. “This is what you look for, this is how you start a case with an outlaw motorcycle gang, here’s the starting point that if you don’t know, here’s a lot of people who are into this as well. Here’s your contact information.”
Needham said he respected the journey Matter took back to the side of the law abiding to teach investigators the secrets of his former life.
“He did it for nearly thirty years and not getting caught which is pretty much unheard of.”
Matter looked back on a three-decade long career that brought him power and riches, flooded the Twin Cities with methamphetamine that destroyed countless lives and forced him to turn his back on former brothers and left him at various times as a marked man.
“It was a rough life,” he said.