The Strange Origins of the Pagans 1% Motorcycle Club

The Pagans MC is a 1% motorcycle club categorized as “outlaw” by the FBI.  What kind of man do you picture as the founder of a club like that? A hardened criminal? A confirmed anti-social? In reality, the Pagans MC, which has become notorious for its violent and criminal behavior over the decades was founded by an unlikely biker.

Before we get to that unlikely origin, let’s take a look at a few of the traits that make the Pagans what they are.  The MC was started in the late 1950s in Maryland.  They were, and still are primarily an East Coast entity.  Interestingly, in a departure from most of the 1% clubs, the Pagans originally wore denim (not leather) and rode Triumphs (not Harleys).

The outlaw motorcycle club (which has been a natural rival to the infamous Hells Angles for decades) has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities.  The FBI cites the club’s main activities as drug trafficking, prostitution, racketeering, extortion, and murder. The club has close ties to several other organized crime organizations.

The Pagans have also made national headlines over the years for high-profile incidents. In 1966, the club was involved in a gunfight at a Virginia supermarket with a rival club, the Avengers.  Over 100 shots were fired.   In 2002, 72 Pagans were arrested after a violent confrontation with the Hells Angles at an indoor motorcycle and tattoo expo in New York.

In 2009, 55 members of the club were arrested on allegations including kidnapping, racketeering, robbery, extortion, and conspiracy to commit murder.  At the time, United States Attorney Charles T. Miller stated, “Members and associates of this motorcycle gang have engaged in numerous violent crimes in an attempt to maintain control over other motorcycle gangs and clubs throughout the country.” Yes, the rap sheet on the club is long and violent.

So, who was the founder of the infamous Pagans outlaw motorcycle club?  The first leader of the Pagans was Lou Dobkins. Dobkins was a former military medic who served and was honorably discharged from the Navy. In an even stranger twist, according to the Washington Examiner, Dobkins was a biochemist at the National Institute of Health when he started the club.  How is that for an ironic historical tidbit?

In fairness, the real violence of the club started with later leadership; however, the Pagans first president was quite the unlikely leader.

Courtesy of

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