Federal authorities have arrested a man they believe is the vice president of a local motorcycle gang after learning he allegedly planned to blow up a Pierce County bar where members of a rival gang are thought to hang out.
During raids last week members of a federal task force found a dozen guns, blasting caps and explosives in the Spanaway home of Karl Wayne Twilleager and a storage unit he rents, also in Spanaway, court records show.
Federal agents contend Twilleager planned to use the explosives — a dough-like substance known as Emulsion — to destroy Uncle Sam’s Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue, the records state.
Twilleager was charged in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on June 13 with a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but more charges are likely.
The 66-year-old Twilleager, also known as King Karl, has a number of felony convictions, including a 1994 second-degree murder conviction out of Grant County, court records show.
On Tuesday, he was ordered held in federal custody until the resolution of his case. He’s yet to enter a plea.
The task force began investigating the case in late May after receiving information that Twilleager and other members of his gang, the Ghost Riders motorcycle club, had been talking about blowing up Uncle Sam’s, court records show.
Initial talk was about blowing up the bar when it was closed so no one got hurt, the records show.
Ghost Riders allegedly hold a grudge against the bar because members of a rival club, the Bandidos, hang out there occasionally, the records state.
Last June, a number of Ghost Riders who attended a charity event at the bar were attacked by a larger group of Bandidos, court records show. Shots were fired, and one man was injured.
Ghost Rider Derek Harms was arrested and charged with first-degree assault in that case. He’s pleaded not guilty and is being held in the Pierce County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Harms is expected to claim self-defense during his trial, which is scheduled to begin next month.
The bad blood between the two clubs has intensified recently, federal agents wrote in court documents.
“Karl Twilleager has talked about using the explosives to blow up the Uncle Sam’s Bar & Grill … as a message to the Bandidos Motorcycle Gang to back off, because the bar is a Bandido hangout,” the agents wrote.
Craig Arrowood owns Uncle Sam’s. He said he had not heard of the plot to bomb his establishment.
“That’s ridiculous,” he said. “We’re a peaceful coalition of clubs. We have everybody in here all the time.”