Feds Arrest Bandidos Honchos for Biker War

John Portillo, Jeffrey Pike and Justin Forster, all national leaders of the Bandidos motorcycle gang have been arrested on federal racketeering and drug charges related to a Portillo-ordered war the group waged against the rival Cossacks, according to federal authorities.

Beginning in 2013, the Bandidos, under the leadership of Portillo, Pike and Forster, allegedly extorted cash from their own members, conspired to sell methamphetamine and engaged in a chaotic, often violent conflict with the Cossacks. The "war" with the Cossacks, the one that would help lead to the shootout between bikers and police at a Waco Twin Peaks on May 17, 2015, began in earnest, the feds say, on November 2, 2013.

That day, 10 Bandidos confronted a number of Cossacks members in Abilene. After taking the whips off the Cossacks' motorcycles, the Bandidos allegedly assaulted the Cossacks. Several Cossacks were stabbed during the fight. Afterward, the president of the Abilene chapter of the Bandidos told the Cossacks, "[T]his is our town. If you come back, I will kill you."

During the summer of 2014, the Bandidos are accused of performing surveillance on Cossacks members in Fort Worth. According to the feds, photos of Cossacks members were taken so the members could later be identified. In December  2014, a member of the Ghost Riders gang was shot and killed in Fort Worth after the Bandidos showed up at a meeting that included the Cossacks and began fighting with everyone in the room.

After the Twin Peaks shootout, the Bandidos raised membership fees and required donations from supporting motorcycle clubs in order to help pay the legal bills of jailed members of the club. Throughout the summer, Bandidos members continued to seek out and assault members of the Cossacks, the feds say.

"This joint investigation by the DEA, the FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Attorney's Office has led to the charging and arrest of the highest ranking leadership of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization. Of course, the defendants will have their day in court, but today's arrests have struck a significant blow to the Bandidos' criminal enterprise,” United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. said.

Each of the three defendants remain in federal custody. They are charged under the federal RICO and VICAR organized crime statutes, which means, if they're convicted, they could spend the rest of their lives in prison.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young