Bandidos Case Resolved, Bar Explodes

November 14, 2008

All Posts, News

Charges against four members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club in Pueblo, Colorado have been resolved without any of the accused doing time.

Daniel Martinez, 51, of Walsenburg; Gilbert Lee “Wizard” Archuleta, 54, of Pueblo; Steven “Tooter” Sandoval, 47, of Pueblo; and Jesse Lee Boling, 28, of Colorado Springs were arrested September 5th on charges stemming from a brawl with a 34-year-old man named Vincent Latona outside the Branch Inn in the historic section of downtown Pueblo.

Crime And Punishment In Colorado

Latona got drunk and became abusive in the bar and was asked to leave. The four Bandidos followed Latona outside where Latona pepper-sprayed and stabbed Martinez and a struggle ensued. Predictably, Latona lost the fight and was stabbed twice.

Latona then walked to a second bar named Zippers where he reported the incident to an off-duty peace officer. The four Bandidos rode their motorcycles away from the Branch Inn and were apprehended minutes later.

This week Martinez, Boling, Sandoval and Archuleta copped guilty pleas to the run of charges they faced after the incident and in return for saving the state of Colorado the cost of a trial all received deferred sentences.

But Wait There’s More

In September, Branch Inn owner Frank Vigil told Pueblo television station KOAA, “We’ve never had a problem with any biker here. The Bandidos have always been supportive of us and they’ve always respected our place.”

Yesterday, November 13th, the Branch Inn and an adjoining business named A Classic Boutique were completely destroyed in a spectacular explosion. At least one woman was killed and five more were hospitalized.

The dead woman has been identified as Ashley Johnson. She was 22-years-old and she was trapped in the collapsed boutique next door to the bar for 90 minutes. She died at a Pueblo hospital.

Frank Vigil who owned the Branch Inn is among the injured. Also injured were Eugene Roney, 74, Kevin Trujillo, 40, Jennifer Flower, 23 and Nick Stabile who is just 18.

ATF Joins Investigation

The explosion threw masonry, glass and other debris more than a hundred feet. The fire took more than two hours to extinguish. The tragedy is being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Much of downtown Pueblo is closed today.

Last night, fire inspectors found a gas line leaking in the street next to the bar. But, in the deliberate and cagey way of cops, authorities could not confirm or deny that the leaking gas pipe was the cause of the explosion.

Police Sergeant Eric Bravo told the Pueblo Chieftain that the four Bandidos had not yet been blamed for the explosion but, “the history of the bar raises some suspicion…. At this point we’re not focused on them (the Bandidos) but our investigation may spread out.”

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