Top leaders of Bandidos biker gang indicted

2016-01-07 17:17
Jeffrey Pike, the national president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, is escorted from the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse on January 6, 2016, in Houston. (Melissa Phillip, AP)

Jeffrey Pike, the national president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, is escorted from the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse on January 6, 2016, in Houston. (Melissa Phillip, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Antonio - National leaders of the Bandidos biker gang were arrested on Wednesday on charges of racketeering and waging a deadly "war" on the rival Cossacks gang, federal authorities said.

An indictment announced by the US Attorney's Office in San Antonio accuses three Bandidos leaders of sanctioning a three-year fight that included violent clashes with rival gangs and distribution of methamphetamine. The accusations focus on a rivalry that came under renewed attention in May, when a clash at a meeting of biker groups in Waco, Texas, left nine people dead.

Authorities believe that the fatal confrontation began when members of the Cossacks crashed a meeting of a confederation of biker clubs that included the Bandidos at a Twin Peaks restaurant. The dispute ended in gunfire between the bikers and police standing nearby.

The federal indictment accuses John Portillo, the Bandidos' national vice president, of raising dues to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting. Portillo, national president Jeffrey Pike and national sergeant-at-arms Justin Forster are charged with racketeering, drug distribution and other crimes that occurred before and after the Waco incident.

If convicted on the most serious federal charges, the men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

All three of the accused are based in Texas, where there are 42 Bandidos chapters, according to the indictment. An attorney who regularly works with the Bandidos declined comment on Wednesday, saying he wasn't authorised to speak on the group's behalf. Several members of the Bandidos gang also declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

Attacks and rivalry

"The defendants will have their day in court, but today's arrests have struck a significant blow to the Bandidos' criminal enterprise," US Attorney Richard Durbin said in a statement announcing the arrests.

The indictment alleges that Bandidos bikers have harassed and attacked bikers across Texas as part of a "war" that Portillo declared in 2013. Prosecutors allege the group also gained money and territory by extorting and intimidating other biker groups, and trafficking methamphetamines.

The indictment outlines several clashes between the Bandidos and rival clubs, including a December 2014 shooting at a bar in Fort Worth, Texas, where a biker from a different club was killed. Two suspected Bandidos were charged in that killing, according to prosecutors.

Portillo took charge of the national organisation for several months in 2015, when Pike was sidelined due to surgery, but both men at various times had ultimate decision-making authority over Bandidos criminal activities nationwide, according to the indictment. Forster is described as having control over Bandidos activities in Texas.

The indictment alleges that in March 2015, Portillo ordered several Bandidos members to "get a little aggressive" with Cossacks in West Texas, where Bandidos responded by striking a member of the rival group repeatedly in the head with a claw hammer. In April, Bandidos members from other parts of Texas and New Mexico arrived in Odessa, Texas, at Portillo's direction. They were stopped and found to be carrying firearms and ammunition, allegedly to use to confront Cossacks.

Days after the May shootout in Waco, the Bandidos monthly dues were doubled to support legal fees for Bandidos in what Portillo later described as an "all-out war" against the Cossacks. Confrontations and assaults occurred in several parts of Texas through the summer of 2015.

The indictment characterises the Bandidos as an international group with about 175 chapters and as many as 2 000 members who "do not fear authority and have a complete disdain for the rules of society."

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.