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Code citations shut biker club headquarters

January 29, 2010

Code citations shut biker club headquarters

CAMDEN — Over the years, a motorcycle club’s headquarters here has been the site of violent crime and drug-dealing, authorities allege.

But when city officials closed the Wheels of Soul clubhouse this week, they cited a different set of offenses — health, safety and fire-code violations.

“This gang has plagued the Parkside community of Camden for too long,” Police Chief Scott Thomson said Thursday. “Hopefully, we have shut their operations for good.”

The shutdown followed a raid Tuesday by city police, code workers and Camden County health officials. They found numerous code violations at the club in the 800 block of Princess Avenue, said Robert Corrales, spokesman for Camden Mayor Dana Redd.

Inspectors also issued citations for abandoned vehicles on the property and for the lack of an occupancy certificate.

Corrales said code officials will continue going through evidence before issuing municipal court summons for the violations.

Corrales said the Wheels of Soul have a history of illegal activities and that multiple shootings have occurred near the clubhouse.

For instance, in April 2007, a 35-year-old man, Paul Mealey III, was shot dead after a fight at the clubhouse spilled outside.

And earlier this month, two city men were sentenced to jail terms for their role in an alleged cocaine-distribution scheme based in the clubhouse.

Willie Taylor, 30, a member of the motorcycle club, and Jose Olavarria, 36, were arrested in August 2007 after an investigation into alleged drug sales from the clubhouse, authorities said.

Corrales said Tuesday’s sweep was the first time city and county officials joined forces to shut down the clubhouse.

In a statement, Thomson called the raid “just the beginning of a series of sweeps we will continue to conduct to improve the overall safety and quality of life for Camden’s residents.”

Reach George Mast at (856) 486-2465 at


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