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CLAY COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -
It sounds like something out of a movie - outlaw motorcycle gangs fighting over turf. But sheriff's deputies say it may be happening in Clay County.
The sheriff's office let KCTV5 ride along Saturday night as they patrolled a big motorcycle event in Kearney. They say they stepped up patrols as a warning.
But they stress they are not targeting average motorcycle fans.
Investigators say the gangs are involved in drugs, gun-running and sex trafficking.
But the deputies found few issues, and those holding a motorcycle run to benefit area charities say they were unfairly targeted and their event harmed.
Sheriff's deputies say they were just trying to be proactive after learning that rival motorcycle gangs could be stepping up terrorities in Clay County. They feared issues would arise at the Mule Run, and planned a heavy saturation.
A 19-year tradition, the Mule Run is held at a private home in Kearney. Organizers say in the past that the only problems were loud noise complaints and illegal parking.
Sheriff's investigators believed outlaw motorcycle gangs involved in illegal activities could create issues.
"We have intelligence coming in that these one percenters are going to be moving into the area because this is unclaimed territory," said Lt. Will Akin of the Clay County Sheriff's Office."We're just being proactive."
Officers saturated the area, stopping 49 cars, trucks and motorcycles for traffic violations. Two people were arrested on traffic-related charges. In addition, eight citations and 33 warnings were issued for issues such as not having a state-sanctioned helmet. No felony arrests were made.
Mule Run co-organizer Jason Schlichting said Brother's Word, his motorcycle club, said the event raised $9,000 for charity, but that the saturation dampened the turnout.
"I do believe we were unfairly targeted, yes, excessive profiling," he said. "We're not a bad group of guys. We're just a group of guys that like to ride our motorcycles and we want everybody else to know that we're a brotherhood."
Akin insisted that deputies weren't profiling.
"We were just making sure that the area was safe," he said.
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Few issues found as Clay County deputies target motorcycle gangsMore>>