Local man and Chicago area associate sentenced on federal racketeering conspiracy charges
St. Louis, MO - LAWRENCE PINKSTON, St. Louis, Missouri, and CARLYLE FLEMING, a/k/a "Thundercat," Chicago, Illinois, were sentenced to 63 months in prison and 132 months in prison, respectively, involving their association with the Wheels of Soul Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a nationwide motorcycle organization claiming chapters in more than 20 states, including Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
According to Pinkston’s plea in February, Pinkston, , Former Vice President, admitted that he participated in an armed robbery in St. Louis in August 2009 in which members of another motorcycle club were robbed of their "colors" at gunpoint. In addition, Pinkston admitted to having been present during the murder of a rival club member, also in August 2009. Although Pinkston did not fire the fatal shot, he was armed with a handgun and had told fellow Wheels of Soul members that he had attempted to shoot the victim, but that his gun jammed.
According to Fleming’s plea, he admitted to having attempted to kill two different individuals in separate incidents in Chicago, Illinois, in 2009. In the first incident, Fleming admitted that he had shot a man in the abdomen, later telling fellow Wheels of Soul members that he would have killed the victim but the gun jammed. In the second, Fleming acknowledged that he had attempted to kill another victim by stabbing him in the head. According to eyewitnesses, the victim was nearly scalped. Fleming admitted that he had committed these offenses, at least in part, to increase his status within the Wheels of Soul enterprise.
The investigation into the Wheels of Soul began in 2009 after an armed robbery and a murder occurred in St. Louis, Missouri, allegedly by members of that organization's St. Louis Chapter. Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigations in St. Louis later teamed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago, and the investigation expanded to include targets not only in those cities, but in Philadelphia; Milwaukee; Louisville; Youngstown, Ohio; and Denver. In all, 18 defendants were charged in a multi-count Indictment in which it is alleged that these members of the Wheels of Soul are responsible for multiple murders, attempted murders, conspiracies to commit murder, kidnapping and trafficking in firearms.