Armageddon In Houston

February 6, 2018

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Armageddon In Houston

The mother of all biker trials, in which the Department of Justice will try to convince a jury that former Bandidos Motorcycle Club president Jeffrey Fay Pike and former club vice-president John Xavier Portillo are dangerous gangsters from whom the world must be saved, begins in three weeks.

The thirteen-count indictment, which was last superseded December 6, accuses the men of murder, assault and drug dealing but it is mostly based on a tortured interpretation of conspiracy. The prosecution seems designed to provide a way to outlaw the activities of and membership in all so-called “one percenter” motorcycle clubs.

In a pretrial brief, the government cites a 1966, pre-RICO decision titled United States v. Armone: “Since agreement is an element of conspiracy, evidence of association is relevant.”

To this end, “The United States will introduce a variety of evidence to establish each defendant’s affiliation with the Bandidos OMO. This evidence will include recorded communications, photographs, tattoos and physical evidence.”

Getting The Lawyers

The prosecution in this case, like the Waco prosecution in the criminal conspiracy trial of Dallas Bandido Christopher Jacob Carrizal last fall, will attempt to criminalize acts that are common to all motorcycle clubs: Holding weekly meetings, for example; keeping secrets about hypothetically criminal activity of club brothers and others in the motorcycle club counterculture; and wearing marks and other symbols indicative of their membership in a motorcycle club.

It appears that Pike and Portillo will only be able to prove their innocence by proving that the Bandidos have never sought to be the preeminent motorcycle club in Texas.

The government will also attempt to prove that the Bandidos are a criminal conspiracy because they hire lawyers, “Evidence that attorneys aided an enterprise,” prosecutors have said, “such as by providing learned opinions whether individuals were cooperating with the government, by being on retainer, or by providing information back to other members of the enterprise, is relevant and admissible to prove the existence of the enterprise. Testimony and recorded conversations that the Bandidos OMO (Outlaw Motorcycle Organization) utilized standard attorneys helps establish the existence of the criminal enterprise under RICO….”

Cooperators

The government intends to make its case with witnesses who “have entered into plea/cooperation agreements with the government which set forth, among other things, their obligations to cooperate with the government and what will happen should they break the agreements.”

The government intends “intends to introduce headshot photos of a number of Bandidos OMO members and associates who are not charged nor presently on trial. Given the number of names that will come up in the course of the trial, this visual presentation is intended to assist the jury in keeping the parties straight. In some instances, cooperating or other witnesses may only know other members or associates of the charged enterprise by photo or nickname.”

The government will also try to connect Pike and Portillo to the murder of Geoffrey Brady in December 2014 and multiple incidents involving members of the Bandidos and the Cossacks Motorcycle Club in 2014 and 2015. Curiously, the government has not yet given any indication that it will have anything at all to say about the ambush of fewer than a dozen Bandidos at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant in May 2015.

Experts

The government will buttress its case with the testimony of multiple experts. They will include:

Bandidos Enterprise Expert Scott Schuster who has been “a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2005. During his time as an Agent, Agent Schuster has been a member of the Houston Multi-Agency Gang Task Force, where he has investigated the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization. Agent Schuster has had personal contact with numerous self-admitted and otherwise known Bandidos OMO members, and has interviewed numerous individuals associated with the Bandidos OMO, including members, ex-members, hang-arounds and support-club members. He has reviewed thousands of telephone calls involving Bandidos OMO members and associates and read hundreds of pages of correspondence related to the enterprise. Agent Schuster has attended numerous “runs,” gatherings and funerals of Bandidos OMO members and associates in several states and conducted surveillance in both covert and overt capacities. He has consulted with other agents and law enforcement officers that have also had extensive contact with Bandidos OMO members over the years.”

Marian Kupercznski, “a Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 1998.” Who will testify that “the three firearms located in John Portillo’s residence at 3003 Jupe Drive, San Antonio, Texas, were operable and affected interstate commerce; that is, that before Portillo possessed the firearms, they each had traveled at some time from one state to another.”

Both the prosecution and the defense may introduce what is known in federal rules of evidence as “Lay Opinion Testimony.”

It is very unlikely that either Portillo or Pike will negotiate a plea deal. A pretrial conference is set for Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom Five of the John H. Wood, Jr., United States Courthouse, 655 E. Cesar Chavez Boulevard, San Antonio, Texas. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday, February 22. The trial will begin February 27.

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20 Responses to “Armageddon In Houston”

  1. Otto Fischer III Says:

    Stand up against those who would take your freedom from you, because they don’t have the same values as you do.

  2. Sieg Says:

    Dutchboy, remember that here in this fine, free land, a PART of a “gun” is considered a gun, whether or not it can fire a bullet. If you have a rusty, crusty old frame from, say, a shotgun you had when you were a kid, and the barrel, the trigger housing, and all the internal parts are absent, you STILL have a firearm under Federal “law”.

    Ain’t life grand, Zek?!

    FTF/FTP
    TOSIAR

  3. David M Mitchell Says:

    So once again the corrupt government with unlimited resources cooks up some soup with a bunch of rats attempting to save their own neck. Beyond Belief ~ win lose or draw the resources, stress, time and impact on families can never be recovered. My Thoughts & Prayers go out to Jeff Pike & John Portillo, their families, brothers, and friends. Respects

  4. Hero Says:

    I hate to say it but with all the money spent by the state of Texas and all the bad publicity surrounding the Bandidos the last three years they are in for uphill fight. It pisses me off that the government can do this to anyone. Best of luck to you fellas.

  5. Dutchboy Says:

    “hiring attorneys” is a crime or part of a criminal conspiracy? Well, let’s just wipe our ass on the sixth amendment to the US Constitution. The three guns found in his home we’re “operable”, well no shit Hot Rod, if it is inoperatable then it ISN’T a gun. And they effected “interstate commerce” because BEFORE HE OWNED THEM they were in other states? Wait, you missed one there Sherlock, the air in his lungs WAS IN ANOTHER STATE prior to his breathing it! Oh wow, hold the presses, that air most likely was in ANOTHER COUNTRY! Nail him for the crime of breathing SMUGGLED AIR! Sorry to be such a smartass but this sort of crap pisses me off. One possible silver lining, if they had REAL EVIDENCE OF REAL CRIMES they would not need to try criminalizing just daring to be alive as a man and not a sheep. I hope the Persecutors have as much success as a snowflake would in hell.

  6. Ben Says:

    Curiously, the government has not yet given any indication that it will have anything at all to say about the ambush of fewer than a dozen Bandidos at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant in May 2015.

    It won’t, because the FBI, ATF and all others mixed up in the alphabet soup are engaged in a coverup. The government’s handling of this and the Waco case defy logic under ordinary circumstances. But their actions make sense if one sees that there is a coverup of what happened between government actors, or actors, working on the government’s behalf, and some members of the Cossacks MC. I’ve come to believe that something happened which would either scandalize the agencies involved, or some agents of these agencies, if their actions became known. Perhaps, some kind of crime was committed by the agents. A plausible scenario would be that they encouraged and conspired with the Cossacks to attack the Bandidos, going far beyond what the law allows. Whatever it is, the government wants it covered up. The identities of undercover agents must be protected, for their safety, and ongoing operations, the government says, in courtroom proceedings. Yet, there was no undercover testimony presented at the Carrizal trial. That’s strange. It seems like the government doesn’t want it’s undercover operations known, not for security reasons, but out of embarrassment. There are people who know about such operations. Some Cossacks must know, but they won’t talk, because Reyna, acting on instructions, has hung murder charges over their heads. And not just them, everyone at Twin Peaks, who wore OMC insignia. If the government targeted only the few in the know, then they would stand out, and be subject to pressure. As it is, with the whole crowd being indicted, the identities of those in the know don’t stand out. They would have no incentive to voluntarily speak out, if it would incriminate them, and, possibly, if they were made to understand that the cases against them would go last, meaning they would die of natural causes first. This is consistent with how the the government has been so heavy handed, going after Bandidos, and not trying Cossacks. Abel Reyna is another player, who may know something about the undercover operation. But the government has leverage over him. The latent corruption and drug investigation on him, ensures that he will do the government’s bidding and stay quiet. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. He’s merely a pawn, acting on the government’s behalf. What we have here is a deep, dark secret. Sleuths, trying to uncover it, only to run into the firewall of a corrupt local official. And behind everthing, is a vast, faceless, bureaucracy of evil, which can touch you, but you can’t touch it. Someone could make a film noir movie out of this. It has all the trappings of one.

  7. MtPockets Says:

    How is it possible that LE thinks this case is any better than that shit show in Waco?
    If you use the same lawyer from time to time, you must be a criminal racket???
    How many individuals in Houston who have never thrown a leg over a bike have used the same lawyer more than once?
    And here we go again with the “He belongs to the Bandidos, so he MUST be a criminal!”
    What every single person in this Country need to understand is that just because these guys belong to an MC, they are no different than anybody else.
    They are being persecuted because they belong to an MC, but there is nothing saying they could do the same thing to some guys in the local VFW or Elks Club.
    There are bad people in all organizations, even the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church, and even more so in our own Government.
    What a crock of shit…

  8. Neuro Says:

    Heartfelt best wishes go out to Captain Pike and Big John. It will be very interesting to see what Justin has to say, also the four guys from Saccone’s Pizza.

  9. RtC Says:

    So WHO is supposed to protect US, the public, from the criminal org, the DOJ?!
    Wish those P’sOS would admit that they are afraid of the real gangs like MS13,
    crips,bloods, as the reason the go after the biker community.
    Got my GoodThoughts going out for true justice for Bandidos Pike & Portillo.
    SYLB

    Respects to the REAL & especially Rebel
    Redwolf the Conchoman

  10. James W Crawford Says:

    Perhaps the Bandidos could defeat the Government’s case by arguing that they must be confusing them with that evil Banditos club?

  11. Paula Carroll Swann Says:

    I wonder how Reyna feels now about the lie’s he was fed and built his intire case on. They should have just worked the crime that was committed in their county on March 22, 2015. They had a positive ID on one, yet unstead of bringing him in , they went with the lie’s and discriminated against the victim.
    I still can’t believe how anyone could fall for the COC&I was set up to extort money from clubs, who would extort themselves?
    I believe that all have a alibi and can prove the state of false charges.

  12. TX_Biker Says:

    @Paladin, I have to agree. There is no way you can be an expert on any motorcycle club unless you have been a part of it. There are a lot of people in Houston that support the Bandidos.

  13. Adios Says:

    John Portillo and the entire Bandidos Motorcycle Club have always treated me 1st class and I have the utmost respect for them. I sincerely hope they are acquitted of these trumped up charges

  14. Iron Rider Says:

    Well here we go again, the feds with their RICO one size fits all lets combine as many cases as we can under that we had shit to go on under a RICO case.

    So the Feds seem to believe that if you use the same lawyer over and over it some conspiracy and everyone is in cahoots because you belong to an MC? Could it be that the use of that said lawyer might be because he knows what the fuck he is doing in MC cases or is a skilled trial lawyer or has took on the Feds before.

    Maybe the Prosecution thinks that that tax lawyer or the personal injury accident lawyer would be sufficant, but man like fuck I am stick my life in those two groups of lawyers hands especially if I was looking at something where I was looking at a serious stretch and by the way fuck that public defender bullshit too, have those guys are so overburdened they’d have you plead out to whatever deal they think is worth to save them from going to court, and attention to detail isnt exactly in a PD’s vocabulary because they are juggling too many cases.

    If I think john q lawyer who has represented my ass before or repped someone I know and done a bang up job fucking rights I’d hire him or keep using him, and if the prosecution doesnt like it, fuck them they stack the deck before you even get to see the cards.

    Wonder how man Cocksacks were informants this go round, we learned from Twin Peaks it was four of em so god only know how many this time, yes another shining moment in Cocksack history where more rats are cosying up to the piggies for that get out of jail free card.

    Lets hope that like Carrizal’s trial this one goes down in flames too, and hopefully it burns the prosecution on the way down too

  15. Gandalf Says:

    Remember: It’s all about the Headlines. Make Headlines.

  16. Gandalf Says:

    “Able Reyna & Co allowed the Twin Peaks ambush to happen in order to get that Phone Tap Warrant. Able Reyna was promised no indictment of corruption charges if He allowed Twin Peaks to Happen” Then go from there…

  17. Gandalf Says:

    The Biggest Club will win again. Nobody trusts the Feds anymore. Houston ain’t Waco. The case relies too much on what The Feds think… no real proof. Just a “Dossier” of biased opinion. They should attack that Phone Tap Warrant. Open the Twin Peaks door… Fight the Twin Peaks case in the suppression hearing. Try to show the “set up” even if they lose the Hearing they will make News. I’m thinking they might be able to call Reyna. Ask Him is He is aware of an Fed Investigation against Him. Imply the deal to allow Twin Peaks to get that Warrant. Stuff like that.

  18. david Says:

    “The government will also attempt to prove that the Bandidos are a criminal conspiracy because they hire lawyers”.

    The government IS a criminal conspiracy because most criminals in public office ARE……. lawyers.

  19. Curbside Says:

    @Rebel or anyone else who might know…is there an online source for the indictment that those of us playing the home game might be able to read?

  20. Paladin Says:

    In order to be a so called “expert” one would have to have had first hand knowledge of what one was claiming to have an expertise in. Was Scott Schuster a club hangaround? No. Was Scott Schuster a club prospect? No. Was Scott Schuster a patched member of the Bandidos? No. Based on Rebel’s article, a major portion of Scott Schuster’s Bandidos “expertise” is based on hearsay and the rest on second knowledge, which anyone who’s ridden a motorcycle in Texas for any length of time (and isn’t a total dumbass) would be privy to.

    Paladin

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