On February 13, 2018, over 150 people participated in an event known as the “2018 New Orleans Bike Life Mardi Gras Day Ride Out.” The “Ride Out” lasted nearly 8 hours in different areas of the city on Mardi Gras day, and consisted of subjects utilizing dirt bikes, ATVs, motorcycles and trail vehicles. The group organized a complete shutdown of I-10 west over Orleans Avenue and a second complete shutdown over Conti Street. The individuals involved rode in different areas of the city, intimidating law abiding motorists, recklessly operating their mode of transportation, significantly disrupting traffic flow, and on numerous occasions evaded police. Some of the individuals assaulted police officers while they were making lawful arrests.
Prior to the “Ride Out,” Louisiana State Police Troopers assigned to Troop N had numerous encounters with individuals illegally and recklessly operating dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets in the French Quarter and Central Business District. Many of the bikes that Troopers stopped were previously reported stolen from commercial dealerships in “smash and grab” type burglaries that occurred in several parishes around Louisiana. Between May – July 2017, Troop N seized four dirt bikes/ATVs that were reported stolen from commercial dealership burglaries in East Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Terrebonne Parishes. Between March – May 2018, six additional burglaries of commercial dealerships occurred; three in Louisiana, one in Mobile, AL, one in Austin, TX and one in Ocean Springs, MS.
One of the suspects arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle was identified as 22-year-old Jerrell Maxon Jr. of New Orleans. Maxon is suspected of being one of the ring leaders of the group committing the dealership burglaries in Louisiana and Mississippi. On May 18, 2018, Maxon was arrested after an indictment was granted in the 23rd Judicial District of Louisiana for Criminal Street Gangs and Patterns of Criminal Street Gang Activity charges. Six other subjects were also arrested on May 18, 2018.
The underlying criminal offenses of the Street Gang indictment include simple burglary, attempted simple burglary, vehicle theft, manufacturing/distribution/transportation/possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances. During the arrest of the seven suspects, seven search warrants were also executed. Seven guns were seized (2 were stolen and 1 was identified as being used in a homicide in New Orleans), eight stolen dirt bikes/ATV/motorcycles were seized (one of which was stolen from the burglary in Austin, TX) and various amounts of illegal narcotics were located and seized.
Throughout the investigation, Troopers and Fusion Center analysts identified nearly 100 “Ride Out” participants from Mardi Gras day 2018. Nearly half of the persons identified are from Louisiana; the remainder are from out of state. Arrest warrants have been issued for 31 persons across 18 states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and the District of Columbia. 35 arrest warrants have been issued for Louisiana residents; 12 of which are still outstanding. The majority of the criminal charges they face include felony Aggravated Obstruction of Highway of Commerce, Reckless Operation, Simple Obstruction of a Highway, and various other criminal charges.
On February 14, 2019, Troopers arrested 15 suspects that participated in the 2018 “Ride Out.” One of the warrants issued was for an individual that was killed in a motorcycle crash in Troop A in January 2019, before he could be arrested. This investigation is ongoing and additional charges and warrants are forthcoming.