Richard L. Durbin, Jr., the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, unsealed a nine count racketeering indictment against three national officers of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club today. The indictment describes the club as the “Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization.”
The men named in the indictment are Jeffrey Fay Pike, the national president; John Xavier Portillo, the national vice-president; and Justin Cole Forster who is the club’s national sergeant at arms.
The indictment charges the men with participating in four methamphetamine transactions, The first transaction occurred in January 2013 and the last allegedly took place last June. The men are also charged with three counts of violence in aid of racketeering, one count of extortion and one count of racketeering – which is generally defined as the crime of being a criminal.
The indictment describes the Bandidos in what has become the boiler plate of racketeering indictments against motorcycle clubs. Recent case law stipulates that prosecutors must describe an enterprise separate from the club as a whole. There will be a superseding indictment in this case but for the time being the enterprise is defined only as Pike, Portillo and Forster. For the benefit of naïve journalists, prosecutors have christened the enterprise as the “Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization.” There may be 1.200 Bandidos in the United States. Three of them are charged. The words were chosen to portray the Bandidos Motorcycle Club as a whole as a criminal organization.
The pejorative rhetoric reads:
The objectives and purposes of the Bandidos OMO enterprise included the following:
a. Preserving, protecting and enhancing the power, territory, reputation and profits of the enterprise through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults, murder, attempted murder and robbery against rival motorcycle organizations.
b. Promoting and enhancing the enterprise and its members’ and associates’ activities, including, but not limited to, robberies, including robbery of property of rival motorcycle organizations, and other criminal activities.
c. Making money for the enterprise through, among other things, extorting money from other motorcycle organizations through fear and threats of violence, drug trafficking, and illegal gambling activities.
d. Maximizing profits for enterprise leaders and members from a variety of illegal activity.
e. Keeping victims, potential victims, potential informants and witnesses, and the public-at-large in fear of the enterprise, and in fear of its members and associates, through extortion, intimidation, violence and threats of violence.
The indictment overflows with references to the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. At least part of the government’s case is founded upon statements made by members of the Cossacks to police. It specifically mentions a confrontation between Bandidos and Cossacks in Abilene on November 2, 2013; the homicide at Gators Jam Inn on December 12, 2014; statements attributed to Portillo that the Bandidos were “at war with the Cossacks;” a patch pulling at a gas station in Palo Pinto County, Texas on March 22, 2015; and an assault on August 22,2015, in Port Aransas, Texas. The indictment never breathes the word Waco nor does it make any reference to the Twin Peaks Massacre.
Cynics might think the indictment is at least partly intended to obscure the emerging truth about what happened at the Twin Peaks last May 17.
The indictment does throw in the detail that “On or about November 3-7, 2015, John Portillo traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to conduct a sit-down meeting with the National President of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization.” It does not specify how the meeting might be illegal.
The indictment also serves notice that federal prosecutors will seek the forfeiture of “real property, including things growing on, affixed to, and found in land; and tangible and intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, claims, and securities.”