Tuesday's indictment of 17 members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club alleges

that the leaders of the Northwest Indiana chapter played a key part in the

gang's fight to keep rival Hells Angels out of the Chicago area.

The Gary Outlaws chapter is part of an international structure founded in

Chicago and now headquartered in Detroit under the presidency of Harry "Taco"

Bowman, 52.

Its chief rivals are the Hells Angels and any cycle club aligned with the

Angels, including the local Invaders Motorcycle Club.

The Hells Angels' move into the Chicago area in 1994 was preceded and

followed by murders, bombings and shootings that federal authorities say was

all part of the turf war.

Several members of two Wisconsin chapters were indicted Tuesday for

conspiring in Indiana to kill members of the Invaders on June 26, 1994 - the

day after the shooting in Chicago of Outlaw Peter "Greased Lightning" Rogers.

No one was ever charged in that shooting, from which Rogers recovered.

Indiana chapter president Raymond L. "Shemp" Morgan Jr., 34, and former

president Randy M. "Mad" Yager, 40, are both charged with conspiring to kill

members of the Hells Angels during a clash at the Lancaster, N.Y., speedway in

September 1995.

Yager has been with the Outlaws since the chapter in Gary was formed in

1982. A Lew Wallace High School graduate, Yager has led the club since it was

based outside Michigan City on a farm known as "The Flats."

He was charged in 1984 with the attempted murder of Alex "Mick" Thomas, a

member of the rival Invaders Motorcycle Club, whose skull was smashed by a coat

rack inside a Hobart tavern during a confrontation.

Yager was also charged with arson for conspiring to burn the home of fellow

club member John Knight for insurance money to pay Knight's legal bills for a

murder charge. Knight later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

In 1986, Yager pleaded guilty to battery on Thomas, and the arson charge was

dismissed. He got five years in prison.

Yager was charged with and convicted of a federal racketeering violation,

which netted him five years in a federal penitentiary in February 1989.

Morgan has been a member of the Outlaws since the early 1990s. A graduate of

Munster High School, he rose quickly to leadership.

In Illinois, on March 18, 1993, Morgan was arrested with Outlaw Alan Smick

and the daughter of former Harvey police chief Nick Graves in Riverdale. Morgan

and Smick were charged with unlawful use of a weapon when a gun was allegedly

found in their car - and police confiscated a human fetus found in a jar in the

trunk of the auto.

On Jan. 14, 1994, Morgan was charged with the November 1993 shooting of

Matthew Young inside the former Caper's Lounge, 2323 Summer St., Hammond,

during a fight.

On June 22, 1995, the attempted murder charge was dropped after the lone

eyewitness - a dancer at the club - was unable to be located.

The Outlaws seesaw between wanting to maintain their gangster image and

trying to clean up. Although their "creed," posted in clubhouses, maintains

that they want to look repulsive, they have in recent years tried to soften

their bad guy image.

Last year, the Gary chapter sponsored a dance at a Griffith lounge where the

benefits went to defray medical costs for a musician friend whose small

daughter had cancer.

Earlier this year, the club sponsored a dinner-dance to help raise money for

a tombstone of a 6-year-old Lake Station girl who was murdered and whose family

- related to one of the Outlaws - did not have enough money to buy a stone.