A neo-Nazi motorcycle gang created by an undercover law-enforcement unit to investigate white supremacists and racist bikers has helped topple two domestic-terrorism groups in Central Florida.
The original investigation began in 2007, when an undisclosed agent traded emails with August Kreis III, a leader of the Aryan Nations hate group who wanted to form a Nazi motorcycle club to serve as the militant arm for white supremacists across the country, according to records obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.
Using a false identity, the agent with theOrange County Sheriff’s Office became the Aryan Nations’ top Florida administrator responsible for recruiting members for what would become the 1st SS Kavallerie Brigade Motorcycle Division — operating out of a clubhouse inSt. Cloud.
Early members included at least two additional undercover FBI agents — who infiltrated the club — and a biker accused of offering $1,000 to anyone willing to shoot a black man riding an ATV in rural Osceola County, records show.
“The underlying aspect through all of it was that they were obtaining explosives and explosives expertise, and they intended to use them to kill people in the United States,” Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar told the Sentinel last week about what he characterized as the region’s most complex undercover operation in decades.
“We have a duty to stop what they were doing.”
The two cases — the motorcycle club and the takedown of the American Front white-supremacist group in Osceola in May — have resulted in 20 arrests on charges ranging from unsuccessful bomb and murder plots to drug dealing, illegal firearms possession and conducting paramilitary training to prepare for a race war.
Hidden mikes, cameras
Once one of America’s largest white-supremacist groups, the Aryan Nations broke into factions after losing a 2004 civil lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center that depleted the racist group’s finances. In 2008, Kreis came to Central Florida to meet his new followers after Brian Klose became the new club’s “Fuhrer.”
A 6-foot-6 giant known for drinking from a 70-pound beer stein, Klose worked as an enforcer for the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, which the U.S. Department of Justice describes as one of the country’s largest “outlaw motorcycle gangs” with a long, violent history in Florida. A doting son of elderly parents, he opened the Kavallerie Brigade’s clubhouse within walking distance of their St. Cloud home on Old Canoe Creek Road.
The Sentinel obtained hundreds of pages of documents related to the two domestic-terrorism cases. The information in this report comes from them and from interviews with Lamar, some members of his staff and local law-enforcement officers.
Once the operation into the Kavallerie Brigade began, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force installed enough hidden microphones and cameras in the clubhouse to stage a reality-TV show.
Unaware of being filmed and recorded, Klose warned members to be wary of the post-9-11 Patriot Act, which gave police new surveillance powers, and to never admit they belonged to the Kavallerie Brigade.
Despite his wariness of police infiltration, Klose’s in-house explosives experts turned out to be agents whom he asked repeatedly to build bombs and hand grenades for attacks he was planning.
Documents in the case show an agent reported to officials that he stalled Klose and others by claiming the explosives were difficult to make or easily traceable.
But on April 28, 2009, the agent detonated a remote-control bomb to show Klose what he could do. The blast so excited Klose, he fired a pistol and told the agent “he had a target for him to use the explosives on and that was the [rival] Warlock motorcycle gang’s clubhouse.”
By then, agents had become so entrenched in the group that three of them traveled with Klose to Chicago to meet with heads of the Outlaws’ chapters about opening Kavallerie Brigade chapters there, records state. The outcome of the discussions was not disclosed.
In the spring of 2010, the local Joint Terrorism Task Force began looking at the American Front, another Nazi-influenced group of white supremacists rumored to be conducting combat training in rural Osceola County for a race war.
There were no law-enforcement officers inside that organization. Instead, that investigation relied on a former drug dealer working as a confidential informant for the government. In that capacity, the man received offers to join biker gangs and the Confederate Hammerskins, a skinhead group that required genetic testing to prove racial purity.
Emailing agents late at night, the informant reported on whom he met, the drugs they sold, the guns they carried and violent acts the group was planning.