FBI reveals why it labeled Insane Clown Posse gang leaders

Bureau attempted to pinpoint “racketeering activity” among Juggalo Family
Written by Inkoo Kang
Edited by JPat Brown

It all began five years ago in Marion, Ill. A routine 2008 FBI memo noted that the hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse would soon host the eighth annual Gathering of the Juggalos in the nearby town of Cave-In-Rock, asserting “the Juggalos [are] a legitimate gang with a large following … [who] follow the ICP in almost a religious manner.”

Three years later, the FBI officially designated Insane Clown Posse fans a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, alongside Mexican drug cartels and human traffickers.

Records released to MuckRock user Rich Jones show that the FBI’s Salt Lake City office conducted a 14-month investigation into the horrorcore duo’s fanbase. The file identifies Juggalos and Juggalettes as a “violent street gang” numbering in the thousands, whose members “sometimes paint their faces to look like wicked clowns” and “continue the dress by carrying small axes.”

The goals of the investigation were to “examine the structure, scope, and relationships pertaining to the … violent street gang; to identify members and the organization structure of the gang,” and, perhaps most surprisingly, “to identify all illegal activities which may constitute a pattern of racketeering activity.”

Ultimately, the FBI hoped to “develop larger conspiracy investigations and successful conspiracy prosecutions” of even single robberies using the Hobbs Act, a statute frequently used in corruption cases involving public officials and labor unions.

Two “Accomplishment Reports” in the file chronicle the arrests of and drug seizures from a pair of individuals in March 2011 by a FBI task force. The reports do not indicate which drugs were confiscated, nor in what amounts.

The Salt Lake City office recommended the closure of the case in May 2012 in a memo that grouped the Juggalos on a list with “Central American Criminal Groups” and “White Supremacist Gangs.”

The FBI had also compiled a number of press clippings about crimes committed by Juggalos across the country.

Insane Clown Posse sued the FBI last year when the agency failed to fulfill a Freedom of Information request for documents justifying the classification of band’s fans as a gang. The Gang Threat Assessment report cited two assaults that occurred a year apart in two different states as examples of organized violent activity.

Read the full file embedded below, or on the request page:

Crowdfund the Subjects Matter: FBI Files Project

Share Embed Help

For every $50 raised, we’ll write up a file we already have, as well as request one we don’t have yet. If there’s a write-up or request you really want us to see, let us know at info@muckrock.com.

Backed by Chris Meller, Linda Tolbert, Courtney Selby, Patrick Mannion, and 7 others.

$1,675.00 raised out of $5,000.00.

2 months remaining

Embed Opening and closing brackets with a diagonal slash through the middle. Embed


Success Thank you!

Subscribe to MuckRock’s newsletter:

Help this crowdfund find more supporters:

Error Error

An error occurred during payment (don’t worry, your card has not been charged).

Refresh the page to try again. If the error persists, contact us.

Image by Doug Kline via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 2.0