Notorious Pagan Motorcycle Club leader in Raleigh sentenced to 75 years in federal prison

Swastika motorcycle helmets, decorated ax handles for beatings, and a wall hanging that read “Violence: The miracle cure for ignorance.”

These provided the backdrop Friday when U.S. Attorney Michael Easley announced that Christopher Lamar Baker will serve 75 years in federal prison for crimes he committed as a national leader of the Pagan Motorcycle Club.

Baker, 49, of Raleigh, was convicted of drug trafficking, firearm, and money laundering charges in September after he was arrested in November 2021.

He was one of 20 people arrested in Operation Diamond Ice, a multi-organization effort to disarm and dismantle outlaw motorcycle gangs, according to Special Agent Bennie Mims of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

According to Easely, Baker was one of the “13,” a group of 13 national leaders who oversaw the purchasing, trafficking and distribution of methamphetamine and illegal firearms.

The Pagans also came to local attention earlier this year when Jonas Barrett Padilla, 37, was shot and killed in Raleigh on New Year’s Day while riding his motorcycle. At the site where he died on Valley Estates Drive a roadside memorial had the name “Lefty”written on it and the letters “GFPD,” a common moniker of the Pagans.

Five members of the rival Red Devil gang have been charged with his murder.

Up the gang ranks

“The Pagans are one of the most notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs around the world,” Easley said during a news conference at the U.S. District Courthouse in Raleigh.

Baker slowly worked his way up the Pagan ranks first as the chapter president in Raleigh before eventually becoming a state, then national leader.

In addition to his role in the drug trade, Baker was an infamous, violent enforcer of the gang’s rules. To punish a Pagan pledge caught stealing from another member. Easley said, Baker ordered the pledge’s fingers cut off with a table saw.

He also ordered the murder of an individual who had sold him fake drugs. ATF officials said the targeted individual was put into protective custody and was not harmed.

“Christopher Baker was incredibly violent,” Easley said.

Christopher Lamar Baker, of Raleigh, faces 75 years in prison after being convicted of crimes while a leader of the Pagan Motorcycle Club.
Christopher Lamar Baker, of Raleigh, faces 75 years in prison after being convicted of crimes while a leader of the Pagan Motorcycle Club.

Over a 15-month investigation, law enforcement agents discovered that Baker supplied more than 260 kilograms of methamphetamine to the Raleigh area and across the East Coast.

Throughout Operation Diamond Ice, officials seized 46 firearms from Pagan members and their affiliates, including many illegal machine guns.

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said her department was proud to be part of this operation.

“By disrupting illegitimate criminal enterprises that seek to traffic guns drugs into our community, we send a message that we will not tolerate the harm these dangerous organizations cause,” Patterson said.

Although 12 Pagans and two of their drug suppliers were arrested in this operation, Easley, Mims and Patterson could not say the organization is defunct. Lower-ranking members could potentially continue the local chapter by filling higher roles.