After a nearly three month long trial the two highest ranking officers in the Bandidos motorcycle gang have been found guilty of federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges, and found that they had conspired to murder and assault members of the Cossacks organization.
National President Jeffrey Fay Pike and National Vice President Xavier Portillo had been on trial in San Antonio.
“I am immensely proud of our prosecution team and our law-enforcement partners for this successful
prosecution,” stated United States Attorney John F. Bash. “What this verdict shows more than anything is that the Department of Justice is fully capable of stripping away a veneer of legitimate activity to expose and punish underlying criminal conduct. Others should take note.”
Jurors convicted Pike, age 62 of Conroe, TX, and Portillo, age 58 of San Antonio, of (count 1) conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute; (count 3) violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR)–murder; (count 4) conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; (count 5) one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon; (counts 6 and 7) aiding and abetting assault with a dangerous weapon; (count 9) discharging a firearm during a violent crime; and, (count 12) interference with commerce by extortion. Jurors also convicted Portillo of (count 2) violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR)–murder; (count 8) discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; (count 10) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and cocaine; (count 11) possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and, (count 13) felon in possession of a firearm.
Jurors found Pike and Portillo guilty of conspiring to conduct the affairs of a criminal organization through racketeering acts including directing, sanctioning, approving and permitting members of the Bandidos to commit murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, intimidation, extortion and drug trafficking.
Evidence during trial revealed that in 2006, Pike and Portillo ordered other Bandidos members to murder Anthony Benesh. At the time, Benesh was attempting to start a Texas Chapter of the Hell’s Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Organization in Austin. Members of the Bandidos warned Benesh to cease his activities and recruitment, which Benesh ignored. A U-S Attorney statement after the trial said several Bandidos members then murdered Benesh on March 18, 2006, outside an Austin restaurant to protect the power, reputation and territory of the Bandidos enterprise.
Jurors also found that Portillo and others killed Robert Lara in January 2002 in Atascosa County as payback for killing Bandidos member Javier Negrete. Negrete, a member of the same Bandidos chapter as Portillo, was killed outside a San Antonio bar in October 2001.
Jurors also found that Pike, Portillo and others conspired to murder and assault members and associates of the Cossacks Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (Cossacks). Testimony revealed that Portillo, with Pike’s approval, declared that the Bandidos were “at war” with the Cossacks. A number of violent acts were committed by the Bandidos around Texas in furtherance of this “war,” including in Fort Worth, Gordon, Odessa, Port Aransas, Crystal City and elsewhere.
Testimony also revealed that Portillo and other members of the Bandidos were engaged in trafficking
methamphetamine and cocaine and maintained an agreement with the Texas Mexican Mafia wherein Bandidos members were not required to pay the 10-percent “dime” to the Texas Mexican Mafia in exchange for permission to traffic narcotics.
“The convictions of the Bandidos National President Jeffery Pike and National Vice President John Portillo make it clear that the DEA and the Justice Department will bring organized criminal enterprises, like the Bandidos, to justice,” said Will R. Glaspy, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Houston Division. “DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, remain committed to removing violent criminals and drugs traffickers from our communities.”
Pike, who previously had been on bond, was remanded into the custody of the United States Marshals Service following today’s verdict. Portillo remains in federal custody. The defendants face up to life in federal prison.
Sentencing for Portillo is scheduled for 9:00am on September 24, 2018. Sentencing for Pike is scheduled for 9:00am on October 1, 2018. Both sentencings will be before Senior United States District Judge David A. Ezra in San Antonio.
Criminal forfeiture in this case has yet to be determined. The Government is seeking the
criminal forfeiture of Portillo’s residence, which according to the evidence presented during trial, was used extensively to carry out the criminal affairs of the organization including drug distribution.