A man named John Pena Medellin was found guilty in Forth Worth, Texas last week of a single count of conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent of distributing it. Medellin was the founder and President of Los Homeboys Motorcycle Club. The case has been going on for 11 months. The trial lasted two days and the jury deliberated for 35 minutes.
There were three interesting features to this apparently mundane case. The first was the amount of effort multiple federal and state law enforcement bureaucracies expended to catch Medellin red handed with three ounces of smack. The second was the degree to which those same bureaucracies tried to connect the Los Homeboys MC to the much better known Bandidos Motorcycle Club – or as the morons at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram insist “the Banditos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.” Finally, the case exemplifies the extent to which most newspapers will print anything the police tell them to print.
When the case was announced on September 27, 2011 the Department of Justice headlined their press release “Nearly 40 Members and Associates of Bandido Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Charged in Three Districts for Alleged Drug and Firearm Offenses.” Actually there were multiple complaints filed in between three and eight cases that were linked by innuendo and public relations. How many cases there were depended on how you counted them.
In Denver, eight men were arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The case was investigated by the Denver Metro Gang Task Force which includes cops from numerous local police forces, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the increasingly omniscient United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, officers from anonymous federal police forces hidden within the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, the Thornton Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division.
The Denver case was totally unrelated to the other two except that some of the men charged were members of the Bandidos and the idea of all these cases was to demonize the Bandidos. The arrest of the Colorado defendants was delayed so their arrests could be presented to a gullible press as part of a single important case against the Red and Gold club.
In San Antonio, three actual Bandidos were entrapped in an FBI “sting” that involved 500 grams of cocaine. The men were accused of negotiating the sale of ten times that amount of the drug. And, that case was the work of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Arlington, Texas, Police Department, the Austin Police Department, and the Fort Worth Police Department. This case was also unrelated to the other cases announced at the same time.
Finally the Forth Worth “case” was a combination of six, separate criminal complaints. The case was created over the course of two years by the FBI and the DEA and when it was announced it included at least seven confidential informants and at least three cooperating defendants.
In the last year, prosecutors have failed to establish meaningful connections between the Los Homeboys MC and the Bandidos. The assumption seems to be that the Los Homeboys are in Texas and the Bandidos are in Texas so the two clubs must be connected. In its press release last Friday the Dallas field office of the FBI stated flatly: “According to evidence presented at trial, Medellin is the founder and current president of Los Homeboys, a Bandito motorcycle support club.”
The Dallas Observer, an alternative weekly, reported “And that pretty much wraps up the feds’ case against Bandidos Motorcycle Club. Medellin was the last of the group to be convicted.”
The Dallas Morning News headlined its account “Fort Worth jury quickly convicts Bandidos leader ‘Papa’ John Medellin guilty of heroin trafficking.”
And, Bill Hanna reworked the FBI press release for the Star-Telegram before heading to his favorite bar. Hanna wrote, “Testimony showed Medellin was founder and current president of Los Homeboys, a Bandito motorcycle support club.”
History, and future cases, will be made from that press release and those slim news accounts. None of the writers involved even questioned whether any of the Bandidos involved in this legal potluck ever bought or sold heroin. Nobody ever bothered to ask how many police were involved in these investigations and how much they cost. The men who told the world these stories simply assumed the propaganda must be true and that the cost wasn’t important.