The Secret Code Of The Notorious Mongols Motorcycle Club

The Mongol Motorcycle Club is one of the most notorious organized biker gangs in the United States. Also known as the Mongol Nation, this is far from just a ragtag bunch of rowdy bike enthusiasts, though. With a fascinating history, secret codes and fretful relationship with other well-known biker gangs, here’s everything you need to know about the fearsome Mongols.

40. A Latino challenger to the Hells Angels

The Mongol’s origins lie in the Hispanic community, from which its original members were drawn. The gang’s beginnings can be traced back to a pair of Hispanic bikers who’d been turned away from the infamous Hells Angels Motorcycle Club on account of their race. Those same men then decided to create their own club. The Mongols were born.

39. They were once banned from wearing their patches

Patches feature prominently on Mongol attire, just as they do with all biker gangs. But for a brief period in the club’s history, members were barred from wearing their beloved emblems. A legal ruling decreed that clothing emblazoned with Mongol patches could be confiscated. Thankfully for the Mongols, this move was eventually reversed.

38. An undercover cop once became a chapter vice president

It’s not just in movies that notorious organizations are infiltrated by undercover cops. In the late 1990s an intrepid officer from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives penetrated deep into the heart of the gang. He proved so believable, in fact, that he was soon made deputy leader of a Mongols chapter. Eventually more than 50 gang members were sentenced thanks to that agent’s testimony.

37. Total gang membership stands at around 2,000


It’s hard to put an exact handle on how many members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club there actually are, but estimates place the number at around 2,000. That’s 2,000 card-carrying members of the gang, not hangers on. It may not be a huge number, but as the Mongols website itself states, “quality not quantity” is what matters.

36. Some other gangs are allies

There are many biker gangs, of course, and some of those groups are allies to the Mongols. In this world, who your “friends” are mostly hinges on sharing common enemies. And in this case, any alliances with the likes of the Sons of Silence, the Bandidos or the Outlaws are based mainly on shared hatred of the well-known Hells Angels group.

35. They went to war with the Mexican mafia


No one can doubt the backbone of the Mongols. It took guts to stand up to the Mexican mafia after Mongols clashed with mafia-affiliated drug dealers. But stand up the Mongols did, though the results weren’t pretty. A bloody street war was the result, with each party suffering casualties. It was reported that a truce was eventually agreed behind the scenes to end the feud.

34. The club deals in intelligence

It’s not exactly the C.I.A., but the Mongols do go in for intelligence gathering. Ruben “Doc” Cavazos, a former president, talked to Gangland about how he’d acquire info on rival gangs. “I’ll dress differently. And when the Mongols are headed to a bike function, I would enter it ahead of time, and I will mingle and find out who’s there,” he said. “So it’s very much like the military.”

33. California is the club’s spiritual home


The Mongols may now have a presence in many parts of the world as well as large swathes of the United States, but there’s only one place the organization truly calls home. That’s California – Southern California, to be precise. Born in the Los Angeles area, the original Mongols patch stated “So Cal,” lest there were any doubts over where they hailed from.

32. It’s now an international organization

The Mongols began life in California, but the club’s fame spread and soon people further afield wanted to get involved. Chapters quickly sprang up in other parts of the United States. And then, much like the Hells Angels, the Mongols went global. There are currently chapters in Australia, Germany and Denmark.

31. Members help each other out


Like a lot of gangs, members of the Mongols assist each other when the chips are down. Mongols rider Zac Barefoot told The Orange County Register how his fellow club members rallied round him in his hour of need. “These boys helped me with a lot of stuff. When I was down on my luck, they helped with rent,” Barefoot said. “They’re real solid people. They’re there for you 100 per cent.”

30. The club once almost died

These days the Mongols Club has healthy membership numbers, but it wasn’t always so. Thanks to interference from the police and federal agencies, affiliations dropped to just 100 members in the United States. But from that position of weakness the gang has grown again to become as established as it’s ever been, both in the U.S. and beyond.

29. The club is more than 50 years old


The Mongols aren’t just a recent craze. The club has been around for over half a century now, having been established in the LA district of Montebello back in the late 1960s. Just 15 bikers started that mother chapter, but within half a decade the club had grown to include other groups all over Southern California.

28. The club was once at war with the Hells Angels

The Mongols probably wouldn’t have begun if it wasn’t for the Hells Angels turning potential members away because of their ethnicity. You could say that dislike of the gang is therefore in Mongol DNA. And the relationship with the Hell’s Angels down the years has certainly been marked with violence. The two gangs once even bombed each other.

27. The Australian Finks re-patched


It isn’t unheard of for established motorcycle clubs to ditch one “brand” and move over to another. That’s exactly what happened when the Mongols branched out into Australia. Many members of the pre-existing Finks MC decided to “patch over.” This decision gave the Mongols an immediate foothold in the country, with chapters across several states.

26. Part of the club’s website is dedicated to imprisoned members

They may be a tough biker gang, but this is the 21st century, so the Mongols have their own website. A section of it’s dedicated to Mongols members whom the club believe are illegitimately incarcerated. The pages are titled “Brothers Behind Bars” and state that those same “brothers” are “wrongly accused”.

25. Many members are ex-servicemen


The Mongols club has Hispanic origins but its roots also lie in military service. Today many Mongols members are ex-serviceman who’ve fought for their country. Patriotism and brotherhood are emotions that pervade affiliation. Recognition of military service is one of the core principles at the heart of the Mongol Nation.

24. Mongols see themselves as outlaws

Mongols don’t regard themselves as regular members of the public, that’s for sure. You could say there’s an edge to the gang that affiliates are proud of. “We’re part of the one per cent who live outside normal society. We have our own rules and we live with freedom,” Zac Barefoot told The Orange County Register. Mongol Johnnysinz added “We don’t bow down, we don’t back down and we stand up for each other and our belief system. Do we believe in the freedoms we deserve? Absolutely. I guess that’s what makes us outlaws.”

23. The club’s logo depicts Genghis Khan


The name “Mongols” is of course linked to the country of Mongolia. Perhaps the most famous figure in that nation’s history is warlord Genghis Khan, who’s believed to have been the bloodiest ruler of all time. The club’s current logo even portrays a Khan-eque character, astride a motorcycle and wearing a pair of shades.

22. The Black Rain operation led to the arrest of the club’s national president

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has long taken an interest in the Mongols. In an undercover sting operation titled “Black Rain,” several ATF operatives burrowed deep into the gang. It was their evidence that resulted in almost 40 chapter members being charged – the national president among them.

21. There’s been a lot of trouble with the law


There’s a lot of talk about what the Mongols may or may not have done in the past. And rumors still abound regarding what the gang get up to nowadays. What can’t be doubted is that there have been brushes with the law down the years. At one stage the club had 270 active warrants out against its members, and the U.S. government has tried to shut the organization down – to no avail.

20. An undercover agent wrote a book about the Mongols

If you fancy reading up on the Mongol Nation, then there’s plenty of material. Among the most interesting is a book written by one William Queen who was once treasurer of the organization. But the massive caveat was that he was also an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It’s quite the expose.

19. The German Mongols couldn’t even ride bikes


Mongols clubs have popped up in other nations around the world. One such country is Germany, but members of this European chapter initially weren’t quite as proficient on their trusty mechanical steeds. In fact, upon starting the organization back in 2010, most involved didn’t even own or know how to ride a motorcycle. Rather ironically, they used cars instead.

18. The club’s current success owes much to past stings

There was once a time when Mongols membership was as low as 100 hardened individuals. But these days those affiliations are much greater in number, and that’s partly due to past law-enforcement infiltrations. The significant news coverage the stings received actually helped draw in new members en masse.

17. The German chapter president died in a motorcycle crash


There are Mongols chapters now all over the world, with Germany being one of the biggest affiliations. But things have not always gone smoothly. Mustafa B. was the first president of the German branch but was by no means an experienced rider. In fact, the unfortunate biker died in a motorcycle accident not long after the German chapter was established.

16. The Mongols wrestled control of Southern California from the Hells Angels

A common feature of motorcycle gang life is turf war. As a club with its roots in Los Angeles, the Mongols have a strong connection to Southern California. And so it was a seminal moment in the gang’s history when Mongols went to war with the Hells Angels over this “turf.” Ultimately, the Mongols gained supremacy in the territory over their bitterest rivals.

15. The ATF gave the gang a notorious label


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has given serious attention to the Mongols over the years. And this agency has no doubt what it’s dealing with, once labeling the group the “most violent and dangerous OMG (organized motorcycle gang) in America.” With the competition out there, that’s quite a label.

14. The gang was once given a fine of half a million dollars

Organized motorcycle gangs generate plenty of income, but we’re not talking about Amazon here. So when the Mongos were slapped with an eye-watering fine of a cool half-million dollars, it was a heavy penalty. That fine was for racketeering, which is an activity that the club’s often been rumored to be connected with down the years.

13. The gang has mottos


Any gang worth its salt needs a motto. The Mongols are no exception, and there are a number of stock phrases that gang members will use as part of their affiliation. Along with “Bigger, better, stronger!” Mongols are also fond of the line “Respect few, fear none.” And then there’s the common club refrain: “Mongols forever, forever Mongols”.

12. The club has a secret code

Gangs have identifiable principles that members are expected to follow. They also establish uniforms and are brought together by their shared interests. Now all they need is a secret code to cement their insularity. And that’s exactly what the Mongols have: a secret military-style code featuring language that only members can decipher.

11. The club deals out in-house punishments


There are strict codes that exist within gangs to assure certain types of behavior. One such code within the Mongols is the commitment to never backing down. Failure to adhere to such codes can result in severe punishment, as was the case for a couple of Mongol affiliates who didn’t fight back in a clash with the Bassett Grande street gang.

10. The Mongols have five commandments they live by

You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments, well the Mongols have their own five. The first and second involve never lying or stealing from another member. Third is to never touch another member’s “ol’ lady.” Fourth, a Mongol should never do anything that could get another member arrested. And finally, the sacred Mongol “patch” should never be used for “personal gain.”

9. It’s a ‘one per cent’ club


Among motorcycle gangs and motorcycle enthusiasts, there’s the term “one per cent.” This refers to the fact that 99 per cent of those who are into bikes are driven by a love of the machine and the ride. The “one per centers” are something a little more committed, in that they live by a certain mantra. So the Mongols are well and truly a “one per cent” club.

8. There’s a disciplined order within the gang

Many members of the Mongols are ex-servicemen. The club was born out of the plethora of Vietnam veterans that returned disaffected after the war. Due to that military background, members tend to be disciplined and adhere to a military-style organization. So it’s far from a disorganized free-for-all.

7. Members’ jackets are called ‘cuts’


Most organizations have an identifiable uniform that forms a central tenet of membership. The Mongols are no different. Like most motorcycle clubs, members wear jackets emblazoned with the easily identifiable club emblem and name. These are known as “cuts” and are a prized possession for club members.

6. The name’s a tribute to the warring Asian nation

The name “Mongols” is obviously a nod to the ancient Asian nation of Mongolia. In particular the club connects to ancient Mongol warlord Genghis Khan, who conquered large swathes of Asia and Europe during the Middle Ages with a relatively small band of fearsome soldiers.

5. Mongol outings may involve arm wrestling


It isn’t all serious biker business as a member of the Mongols. The infamous group runs many activities that wouldn’t be out of place in any mainstream motorcycle organization. There are ride-alongs and national meet-ups, for instance. Las Vegas is a popular destination to catch up in. Tug-of-war events and arm wrestling are also popular – these are some strong guys, after all.

4. Women aren’t permitted to join

If you’re ever surrounded by Mongols, don’t expect to see any female faces. That’s because women aren’t permitted to join the gang, although they frequent group events. But women are encouraged to be seen as the “property” of gang affiliates when doing so. Messing with another member’s “property” is obviously a big no-no, too.

3. One member was a pro-wrestler


Motorcycle gangs attract big men. But even by biker standards, Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s muscles commanded respect. This chapter sergeant-at-arms was also referred to by the nickname “Superman” by fellow members. And why not – he’s been a wrestler in the WWF, no less, and later served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.

2. Code 55

The Mongols have a secret code language. That’s hardly surprising, considering many gang members are ex-servicemen and/or members of street gangs that also deal in such lingo. Among the catalogue of jargon that the club uses is “code 55.” This, essentially, is a call to full lockdown following an important event. All outward displays of gang membership must be covered up.

1. Members have an intense belief in loyalty


If there’s one word above all others that’s a byword for the Mongols’ belief system, that word is “loyalty”. “I’ve been shot for this club, I’ve been stabbed while I’ve been in this club, I’ve been to prison for this club,” Mike Muniz, the San Diego chapter president, told Gangland. “You know, a lot of people, they don’t understand, but you know what I have? I have people that love me and care about me, that aren’t going anywhere. The club is always there for me.”