The FBI is monitoring a growing gang with members across the country who dress in customary colors, assemble for rowdy annual meetings and control the trade of an obscure Midwestern soft drink. They are Juggalos.
Known as Juggalos, the followers of the Detroit rap act are famous for their clownish make-up, annual "Gathering of the Juggalos" celebration and their love for the soda Faygo.
But Juggalo "subsets exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence," the FBI alleges in a document first reported by Wired.
Per the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment:
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales.
Described as "a loosely-organized hybrid gang" that is "rapidly expanding into many US communities," criminal subsets of Juggalos are active in more than 20 states, according to the document, which also details more notorious gangs like the Crips, Bloods and MS-13.
Juggalos are making significant inroads in New Mexico "primarily because they are attracted to the tribal and cultural traditions of the Native Americans residing nearby," the report indicates.
Investigators believe "Juggalo criminal activity has increased over the past several years," but many Juggalos insist they are linked by music and community -- not criminality.
"Juggalo family is for people that don't belong," Tulsa Juggalo Jesse Brown told Fox 23 last year. "It just fits. It's part of life it's how you live."
Some Juggalos are even trying to change the public's perception of their group.
"[W]e are planning ways to get cops not to see us [J]uggalo as a gang," wrote the moderator of the Facebook page "Juggalos are NOT a gang" in July. "[W]e are family whoop whoop."