Pike And Portillo And Stories And Truth

March 24, 2018

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Pike And Portillo And Stories And Truth

For the last three weeks the racketeering trial of former Bandidos Motorcycle Club national officers Jeffrey Pike and John Portillo has been dominated by the dramatic testimony of three alleged eyewitnesses to four old murders.

The witnesses were two ex-Bandidos, Johnny Romo and his brother Robert Romo and a former meth addict and prostitute named Magenta Winans.

The Romo brothers claim to have murdered a drug dealer named Anthony W. Benesh III as he emerged from an Austin restaurant with his family on March 18, 2006. Both the Romos describe the murder as a military style assassination that included walkie-talkies. Robert Romo wept as he confessed to killing Benesh with a hunting rifle. Federal prosecutors claim Portillo and Pike ordered the murder because he was trying to start a Hells Angels charter in Texas.

The story seems to be a tissue of assumptions and outright lies. It doesn’t seem likely that Benesh was actually a Hells Angel. He spent most of his life from childhood in Texas. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that he had any direct contact with any Hells Angels.

If he had been trying to start an Angels charter in Texas it is absolutely certain that he first would have prospected for a year or so with a charter in California and the prosecutors have offered no proof that Benesh ever visited California. There is no reason to think that the Bandidos club officers would have been sufficiently worried about Benesh to actually kill him as opposed to pouring sugar in his gas tank.

It was an atypical biker murder. These things, like a couple of recent murders in Florida or a widely publicized murder in Australia, usually happen face to face. The hit, as described by the Romos, seems overtly melodramatic. And the accusation omits substantiating details about the murder plot’s plausibility. Like whether Robert Romo had practiced with the rifle, When and where did he zero in the sights? And where and when did he buy the bullets? And, where is the rifle now?

Daily, the Romos sound more and more like Sammy “The Bull” Gravano.


Winans told jurors a story that Ross MacDonald might have imagined about old murders. Portillo has been accused of being an accomplice in two of them but right now he is only accused of being an accomplice in one.

Winans, got to know the Bandidos in San Antonio in 2001 through a boxer, former International Boxing Federation super flyweight champion Robert Quiroga, who was a friend of the club. Quiroga introduced her to Portillo, who was president of the Southwest San Antonio chapter, and former Bandidos Richard Merla and Andrew Gomez, She had an affair with Gomez. Late that year, another chapter member named Javier Negrete was shot and killed outside a pool hall by a street gangster named Robert Lara.

According to Winans, Portillo wanted revenge and, improbably – because of her relative newness and strangeness to the club – he asked her to help. He asked her to become Lara’s friend and she said, “Sure.”

In January 2002 she somehow enticed Lara to a dark and deserted rest stop off Interstate 37 south of San Antonio. Somehow she enticed him to turn off the engine. He may have been distracted when two Bandidos, Merla and a new character named Frederick Cortez pulled Lara from the car and shot him 11 times. Portillo was so appreciative of Winans’ help that he authorized her to get a “property of” the Bandidos tattoo on her hip.

Then Merla Kills Quiroga

She remained a friend of the Bandidos until the night in August 2004 when Merla and Robert Quiroga were playing cards. The two men got into an argument over a Scarface poster and Merla stabbed the former boxer to death. Merla was kicked out the motorcycle club. It was Portillo’s idea. He issued a statement that read, “This was not an action of our club. We do not condone this. This was the act of a coward that is no longer a member of this motorcycle club.” Merla resented the cold shoulder.

Winans was arrested on a drug charge in 2006 and Portillo, who by then was a club national officer, got her a lawyer and helped her. When she was arrested again in 2007, she began cooperating with federal agents. She seems to have led them to Merla, who had killed her good friend Quiroga. Merla, who was already serving a 40 year sentence for Quiroga’s murder confessed to killing Lara in April 2007. Winans then went into hibernation for 11 years.

But Merla decided to get some of his years back and settle some old scores. The next year he appeared on a television program called Gangland. Gangland was cablecast on the History Channel. The episode in which Merla appeared was called “Bandido Army” and according to documents filed in a civil suit by former agent Jay Dobyns against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that episode was practically sponsored by the ATF. The first airing of the episode was on October 17, 2008 – more than seven years ago.

The Criminal Conspiracy

“We had different meetings how we’re going to do it, when we’re going to do it, blah, blah, blah, and who, who can we trust,” Merla said on camera.

The show’s narrator explains, “Months after Negrete’s murder, Merla and a group of four accomplices pulled into a rest stop south of the city. It was an elaborate set-up. Lara had arrived moments earlier with a woman, who was actually part of the plan.”

“We already know what she’s driving,” Merla said on television. “So me and another Bandido got out of the truck and went straight to his car.”

Forty-five minutes into the hour-long show, Gangland began to unload on Portillo.

“Merla claims the Bandidos broke their own code and ratted him out for an earlier murder, the 2002 rest stop killing of Roberto Lara, the man Merla shot 11 times in retaliation for a Bandido’s death.”

“I took the rap, took all the rap,” Merla says.

The narrator says, “Merla claimed he was simply following the orders issued by (chapter) president John Portillo when he shot Lara.”

“He had his sources,” Merla told America, “and when he came to me, he said, ‘that’s the guy.’ I knew what he wanted done. He didn’t want no black eyes and broken noses, teeth missing. And I took care of it.”

The narrator tells the audience, “Merla says only Portillo had the authority to order the hit…. Portillo has refused numerous interview requests. He adamantly denies ordering the murder and hasn’t been charged with any crime.”

“If I wanted to,” Merla explains, “I could have been like them, snitches, but it’s against my own personal beliefs is pointing the finger at other people. And, they know it. They know it.”

Now, almost ten years after the Gangland episode, after everybody has had time to rehearse and polish the parts they are playing and the words they have been told to say, long after the world has almost stopped missing the men who died, Magenta Winans just dared John Portillo to try to prove his innocence.

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17 Responses to “Pike And Portillo And Stories And Truth”

  1. Penguin Says:

    Florida Cops Laundered Millions For Drug Cartels, Failed To Make A Single Arrest


    As to juries…what difference do they make if nearly 100% of the power rests with the cops?

  2. david Says:

    Pursuant to past court rulings, a prosecutor can or may:

    1) KNOWINGLY offer perjured testimony, Jones 800 F.2d,1310

    2) SUPPRESS exculpatory evidence, Henzel 608 F.2d,654

    3) KNOWINGLY file charges against innocent persons for a crime which
    NEVER occurred. Norton 620 F.2d,1375

    4) KNOWINGLY use FALSE testimony and suppress evidence. U.S.Sp. Ct.,Imbler,424

    Therefore, as a “robe wearing” religious priest-judge would ask, “Any questions?”

  3. BigV Says:

    In my experience juries have a 24 attention span, and then they rely on what they’ve heard in the past, seen on tv, and memory. And then everything goes tits up for the defense. People spend their lives behind bars.

  4. Gypsy Girl Says:

    @ Filburt, exactly!

  5. RedWitch Says:

    Aging Rebel…..Jay Negrete is far from being forgotten. I think about my brother every day…miss him everyday. My oldest son is named after him. He will never be forgotten.

    The FEDS have been letting murders go free for decades in return for BS testimonies. The first Bandido to turn snitch killed a man in a bar full of people. He testified against the Dallas 21 with a BS story and went free. If I were a friend or family of the deceased I’d be pissed. Are the families even asked if giving their loved ones murders walking papers in return for telling the BS they want told is ok with them? It’s also strange how the FEDS have known about alleged murders for years and yet they were allowed to remain free to potentially kill again just so the FEDS could, what? Save up all this alleged BS in hopes of getting a conviction? If it looks like BS, smells like BS it’s just that BS!!!

  6. Filburt Says:

    I don’t understand how one can stick their head up someone’s ass-hole and read their mind!

  7. Freebird Says:

    Magenta Winans just dared John Portillo to try to prove his innocence.

    It appears having to prove one’s innocence’s is the new normal. Innocent until proven guilty is dated……

  8. neuro Says:

    I agree with Paladin, with the caveat that things look worse for Big John than for Jeffe Pike. Now the fed pork will have to make the stretch that the Pres is responsible for all that goes on in the “organization.”

  9. Joc Says:

    Amen Gypsy Girl truth

  10. RtC Says:

    Best wishes for Bandit Pike1% & Bandit Portillo1%. Here’s hoping the fuckin’ Feds’ case falls to shit,which it actually is.

    Respects for the REAL & Especially Rebel

  11. Dutchboy Says:

    @Gypsy, well said, it isn’t justice, it’s “Let’s Make a Deal”. You can get away with murder is you got a big enough prize to sell.

  12. Dutchboy Says:

    The problem I have is it’s all hearsay, he said she said crap. I remember the gangland episode, Merla came off as a sociopath that really couldn’t understand that ambushing and stabbing a friend to death in an alley over a movie poster was wrong.

    So the state’s case rests on the good word of a admitted and convicted multiple murderer who was put out bad because even his own club couldn’t take what he did, and a meth whore? Damned weak, but good men have been put away on less.

  13. Gypsy Girl Says:

    Another thing-WTF is up with these assholes who turn rat when faced with any kind of time? I’m not commenting that anybody is guilty in this particular instance, but if 3% of the general population commits crimes, then it’s safe to assume that in a club of 100, three will commit crimes. Anyway, they knew they weren’t joining the fucking Boy Scouts. It’s like they want the respect that comes with being in a club, they preach brotherhood, but as soon as they get caught in their own shit, the brotherhood and dignity fly out the window. And how does being a tattle-tits make his crime null and void? You can literally get away with murder as long as you rat out others, that’s the lesson the government is teaching.

    I was texting about this with Brother tonight and, although he obviously doesn’t tell me any club business or details, he did say that he and other old salty dawgs have been more guarded over the last ten years or so. He said that if he doesn’t know somebody very well, he won’t even remminesse with them about dumb shit he did when he was younger. Can’t say I blame them.


  14. Freeman Says:

    Close second to religion, ATF has got the best bullshit stories ever.

  15. Gypsy Girl Says:

    So Merla says he “knew” what Portillo wanted done. Am I wrong to understand that Portillo never actually told Merlato kill Lara? For all he knew, Portillo just wanted to talk to the guy. “My friend said she liked the new Mustang. I knew what she wanted, so I stole it. Totally my friend’s fault.” FFS.

    As far as Winans, that is bullshit from the word go. Some meth addict prostitute says they talked to her about club business even though she was new and a woman?? Honey, Darling, Cuntmuffin, I don’t care if you give the best blow jobs this side of the Mississippi, nobody’s going to be letting you in on anything, even IF it’s what they had discussed among themselves. When I visit my brother, it is understood that if his brothers come by, after we exchange hugs and hellos I am to go make myself busy while they talk, and I’ve known most of them over a decade…and I’m way more trustworthy than a literal junkie whore.

    I’ll go back into my little corner now, rats and ridiculous stories just piss me off.


  16. Freebird Says:

    The Rifle is a Rabbit Hole that goes everywhere IMO.

    Yea where is that rifle? Would love to know the distance of the shot. Anything over 100 yards I call bullshit. Maybe we can get a photo of that 270 Win with a box of 308 ammo.

    Military style assassination that included walkie-talkies

    From what I have read his direct testimony stated he did not even know what his target even looked like. The head of some dude appeared in the scope sights and he pulled the trigger and they drove off and he did not know if he hit anything.

    Yea it’s real common for a sniper to NOT know what his target looks like. Are you fucking kidding me?

  17. Paladin Says:

    It may all be fiction, but the Romo’s and Winans’ testimony is a lot for a jury to disbelieve.


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