Friction continues in Texas between motorcycle clubs that belong to the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents and clubs that loudly proclaim the COC&I to be a Bandidos controlled racket.
That friction seemed to reach a climax 15 months ago when members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club crashed a confederation meeting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas and took all the seats and parking spaces. The settling of differences that resulted killed nine men, wounded at least 18 more and put 177 people in jail. It also justified months of anti-Bandidos and anti-biker propaganda.
In interviews with police and various important journalists after the Twin Peaks brawl scores of Cossacks portrayed the Texas confederation as an extortion racket. Members of the confederation present themselves as advocates for “bikers rights.”
Official outlaw biker authorities agree with the Cossacks and the Iron Order, a motorcycle club that loudly refuses to belong to any state confederation and, coincidentally, also has many members who are police officers, probation officers, military policemen, federal agents or prison guards. A month after the Twin Peaks bloodbath, Steve Cook, a self described “Motorcycle Gang Expert, Law Enforcement Trainer,” and “Documentary Television Personality” conducted a workshop in Waco that was intended to inform police about motorcycle clubs and motorcycle club members. While he was in town Cook told television station KXXV that he had, “seen an influx of (street) gang members that are also a part of motorcycle clubs and club confederations. “We do a considerable amount of talking about these confederations and coalitions,” Cook said, “and try to make them understand a little bit the motives behind these is other than what they advertise.”
Less than three weeks after the Waco brawl, local, state and federal police busted up a regular, monthly confederation meeting at a VFW Post in El Paso. Police timed their raid to coincide with the ceremonial presentation of a $4,000 check to the Alzheimer’s Association. The point of the raid was to arrest a Bandido who had allegedly assaulted a member of an El Paso motorcycle club named Los Traviesos El Chuco. The Bandido was charged with “engaging in organized criminal activity,” a vague charge peculiar to Texas and the same charge levied against all of the witnesses at the COC&I meeting at the Twin Peaks.
After the raid on the confederation meeting a local “biker authority” named Rusty Fleming, who works for the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office, told El Paso television station KFOX that the arrest was related to a territorial dispute between the Bandidos and another, unnamed motorcycle club. “They’re going to proclaim that Texas is theirs and that’s their turf and then they’re going to have to do something to protect it and that means violence,” Fleming claimed. “Obviously after Waco you can see they’re not afraid of pulling a gun,”
A counter-confederation of clubs led by the Iron Order and Los Traviesos have been skirmishing with the Bandidos in West Texas for about 30 months. The trouble started about the same time the Cossacks began skirmishing with the Bandidos further east. The timing of these troubles may be purely coincidental, or they may betray something sinister about the government’s war on motorcycle clubs, and they continue in El Paso.
Last week Bandidos’ El Paso chapter president Juan Martinez, chapter sergeant at arms James Heredia and chapter secretary Thomas Decarlo were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity after a confrontation with two Los Traviesos patch holders named Gerardo “DJ” Quesada and Edward Delgado at a restaurant named Hot Chicks Wing House on August 3.
According to a police report, the Bandidos tried and failed to take Quesada and Delgado’s vest and did take Delgado’s cell phone.
Martinez and Decarlo were released after posting $75,000 bonds. Heredia was released after posting a $60,000 bond.