A strange case is unfolding in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, a little southeast of New Orleans, that reads like the plot of a Coen brothers film and has attracted much more attention than it would have if the headlines didn’t say Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
The connection to the Bandidos is minimal. Two and possibly three of six people arrested on a variety of charges are members of a Red and Gold club called the LA Riders. And when the case was made public a Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman named Eric Becnel said details had been withheld about the case because his department was sharing “information on the Bandidos” with state and federal agencies.
The merde tempête began when the unnamed nephew of LA Riders Plaquemines Parish chapter president Gregory Blanchard was helping a man David Bruce, who may or may not ride with the club, work on a car. Bruce confronted the kid about being high on Mojo, which some older readers might not know is a synthetic cannabanoid. When Bruce told the unnamed nephew he was going to tell his uncle Gregory about it, the intoxicated teenager called the police. Bruce, Blanchard and chapter sergeant at arms Michael Hahn returned before police arrived, escorted the kid to a barn and slapped him around.
When sheriff’s deputies did arrive Bruce told them they must have the wrong address. Reportedly, the three men were dismayed that the nephew was not only stoned but had called police. According to the police statement, “After the deputies left, Mr. Bruce went back to the barn where the victim was tied up in a chair with a rope, and Mr. Bruce actually strangled the victim, allegedly until he passed out.”
But of course the deputies were aware the men belonged to a motorcycle club so they decided to investigate further. When one entered the barn, according to Becnel, “The three suspects informed the deputy that he had actually suffered a seizure from the drug intoxication.”
Clandestine Drug Lab
The deputies then searched the house shared by Blanchard, his wife Amanda, Hahn, Lyndsey Fannin and another teenager named Brandon Franklin.
Police found small amounts of the ingredients – including one cold pack and one gallon of Coleman Camp Fuel – used to produce small amounts of methamphetamine implementing the so called “shake n’ bake method.” Police and the press in New Orleans have characterized the ingredients as a “clandestine drug lab.”
The Sheriff’s Office press release said, “Agents also seized four firearms, which included two pistols and two assault rifles, one of which was sawed-off.” The weapons might be more accurately described as an automatic pistol, a small caliber revolver, an M 16 carbine and a lever action rifle with a slightly shortened barrel. The release did not elaborate on the identity of the “agents.” Agents and deputies also seized LA Riders indicia.
Blanchard and Hahn were charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree battery, operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab and possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance. Hahn was also charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Bruce was charged with second-degree battery. Fannin was charged with operating a clandestine meth lab and possession of drug paraphernalia. Franklin and Mrs. Blanchard were charged with operating a clandestine meth lab.