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Apr-19-2022 15:39printcomments

Two Oregon Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club Members Sentenced to Life in Prison

Murder victim was an estranged member of the GJMC Portland chapter.

gypsy joker
Mark Dencklau and Chad Erickson were sentenced to federal prison for Life.
Photos: USDOJ

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Two members of the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club from Oregon have been sentenced to life in federal prison for kidnapping, torturing, and murdering a former club member.

GJMC Portland clubhouse president 61-year old Mark Leroy Dencklau, of Woodburn, Oregon and Portland member 51-year old Chad Leroy Erickson, of Rainier, Oregon, each received a life sentence in prison.

This legal undertaking began July 1, 2015, when the body of 56-year old Robert Huggins was found lying in a field in Clark County, Washington. Huggins’ body was badly beaten, and he appeared to have been tortured prior to his death.

Robert Huggins

It was soon discovered that Huggins was an estranged member of the GJMC Portland chapter.

Huggins was previously stripped of his club membership for allegedly stealing from the club, then breaking into Dencklau’s Woodburn residence, tying up Dencklau’s girlfriend and stealing multiple firearms.

In the days and weeks following this robbery, Dencklau directed club members to find Huggins.

Several government witnesses testified at trial to Dencklau, Erickson, and their co-defendants’ roles in the revenge kidnapping, torture, and murder of Huggins.

On the evening of June 30th, 2015, Dencklau and others kidnapped Huggins from a residence in Portland and transported him to a rural property in Southwest Washington. Over the course of several hours, Huggins was severely beaten and tortured.

Huggins sustained numerous injuries to his head and face, including a fractured skull; lacerations to his chest and torso; and removed nipples. A local medical examiner ruled that Huggins’ death was caused by multiple blunt and sharp force injuries.

On June 28th, 2018, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a four-count indictment charging Dencklau; 48-year old Earl Deverle Fisher, of Gresham, Oregon; and 40-year old Tiler Evan Pribbernow, of Portland, with murder in aid of racketeering; kidnapping in aid of racketeering, resulting in death; kidnapping resulting in death and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, resulting in death.

Later, on November 29th, 2018, Dencklau; Fisher; Erickson; 64-year old Kenneth Earl Hause, of Aumsville, Oregon; 36-year old Ryan Anthony Negrinelli, of Gresham, Oregon; and 61-year old Joseph Duane Folkerts, of Battleground, Washington, were charged by superseding indictment with racketeering conspiracy.

Mark Dencklau and Chad Erickson were convicted at trial in December 2021 of murder in aid of racketeering; kidnapping in aid of racketeering, resulting in death; kidnapping resulting in death; and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, resulting in death. Additionally, Dencklau was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy.

The federal jury who convicted Dencklau and Erickson acquitted Erickson and Hause, the GJMC national president, of racketeering conspiracy.

On April 12th, 2022, after previously pleading guilty, Pribbernow was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison.

Fisher, Negrinelli, and Folkerts have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

"Mark Dencklau and Chad Erickson will rightfully serve the rest of their lives in federal prison," said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

"These men prided themselves in using violence to intimidate others and increase their power and influence among club members and rivals. Organized violent crime has no place in Oregon and will not be tolerated," said Scott Erik Asphaug.

"Today’s sentences were years in the making and required a dedicated and coordinated law enforcement effort. We are grateful to all the law enforcement agencies who participated in bringing these men to justice and exposing the Gypsy Jokers as the ruthless, violent gang they are."

According to court documents and trial testimony, the GJMC is known to be a hierarchical criminal organization wherein members and associates maintain their position and status in the organization by participating in, directly or indirectly, various acts of violent racketeering activity including murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, narcotics trafficking, and witness tampering.

Since the 1980s, the club has been active in several states including Oregon and Washington and, until recently, operated six clubhouses in the Pacific Northwest. The club also has international chapters in Germany, Australia, and Norway.

From 2003 until his arrest, Mark Dencklau served as the president of the club’s Portland chapter.

The Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club also oversaw several support clubs in Oregon and Washington including the Road Brothers Northwest Motorcycle Club, Solutions Motorcycle Club, Northwest Veterans Motorcycle Club, High-Side Riders, and the Freedom Fellowship Motorcycle Club.

Support club members conducted criminal activities in support of the GJMC and served as a source of new members and revenue for the club.

"The heinous nature of these crimes truly warrant these life sentences," said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.

"ATF has vigorously investigated, and will continue to investigate, these outlaw motorcycle gangs when they perpetrate criminal acts."

U.S. Attorney Asphaug and Special Agent in Charge McPherson made the announcement. This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau and ATF, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and the Oregon and Washington State Crime Labs.

Leah K. Bolstad and Steven T. Mygrant, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, prosecuted the case with Damaré Theriot, Trial Attorney for the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). This prosecution is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.

Source: U.S. Dept of Justice

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