U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Washington
For Immediate Release
September 5, 2013
U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Leader of ’Ghost Riders’ Motorcycle Gang Pleads Guilty to Illegal Weapons Possesion Charges
Felon had Explosives and a Dozen Firearms in Shed and Storage Locker
A leader of the Ghost Riders motorcycle gang in Pierce County pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to possession of an unregistered short–barreled shotgun and being a felon in possession of explosives, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. KARL TWILLEAGER, a/k/a "King Karl", 66, of Spanaway, Washington, has been in custody since his property was searched on June 13, 2013. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on December 6, 2013, prosecutors and the defense will jointly recommend a five year prison term. However, Judge Leighton may impose any sentence up to the ten year maximum allowed by law.
According to the plea agreement signed today, on June 11, 2013, ATF agents searched a Spanaway storage locker belonging to TWILLEAGER and found more than two sticks of Emulsion explosives and four blasting caps. They also recovered six firearms, including three rifles, two shotguns, and a handgun, as well as additional ammunition and empty ammunition magazines. Two days later they searched TWILLEAGER’s home and a shed on the property that was used as the Ghost Rider’s clubhouse. They seized multiple rounds of different calibers of ammunition, and six more firearms, including four handguns, a rifle, and a J.C. Higgins model 20 12–gauge short–barreled shotgun, with a barrel length of approximately 15.5 inches with no serial number. TWILLEAGER was convicted of second degree murder in Grant County, Washington in 1994 and is therefore prohibited from possessing firearms and explosives.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, the Washington State Patrol SWAT Team, and the South Sound Gang Task Force, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206) 553–4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.