TWENTY-SIX INDICTED FOLLOWING 2 YEAR INVESTIGATION OF "BANDIDOS" MOTORCYCLE GANG
A Federal Grand Jury in Seattle has indicted twenty-six members and associates of the Bandidos Motorcycle Organization for serious violent offenses.
The two indictments charge various defendants with: Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering: Kidnaping (VICAR); Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering - Assault; Conspiracy to Tamper with a Witness; Tampering with a Witness; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and Methamphetamine; Distribution of Marijuana; Distribution of Methamphetamine; Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime; Conspiracy to Traffic in Certain Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Parts; Trafficking in Certain Motor Vehicle; Sale of a Firearm to Prohibited Person; and Felon in Possession of Firearm. During the course of the investigation 14 firearms were sold to or by individuals with several felony convictions.
Nineteen search warrants were executed in four judicial districts including the States of Washington, Montana, and South Dakota. Several weapons, including firearms and knives; methamphetamine and marijuana; stolen motorcycles and motor vehicle parts; and over $25,000 in cash have been seized. 19 individuals have been arrested, 16 of whom are indicted defendants, and three of whom were arrested on probable cause for drug charges. Ten fugitives are outstanding.
The defendants were arrested in raids yesterday in Whatcom County, Kitsap County, and Okanogan County, Washington, and in Montana. The arrests follow a two year investigation into a variety of criminal activity by the Bandidos Motorcycle gang. Among those facing federal charges are the national president, Bellingham chapter president, and other chapter presidents of the Bandidos.
These individuals were indicted by the grand jury:
GEORGE WEGERS, 52, National President, Bandidos, Bellingham
GLENN W. MERRITT, 64, Bellingham Chapter President, Bandidos
CHRISTOPHER HORLOCK, 44, National Regional Secretary, Bandidos
JIMMIE GARMAN, National Sergeant-at-Arms, Bandidos
HUGH GALE HENSCHEL, National Sergeant-at-Arms, Bandidos
WILLIAM EDWIN JAMES, 53, Secretary/Treasurer, Bellingham Chapter, Bandidos
BERNARD RUSSELL ORTMAN, 46, Missoula Chapter President, Bandidos
DALE ROBERT GRANMO, 49, Member Missoula Chapter, Bandidos
AARON KENNETH WISE, 34, Member Missoula Chapter, Bandidos
ROBIN WADE HUNDAHL, 40, Member Missoula Chapter, Bandidos
WILLIAM BLAINE BEACH, 54, Member Missoula Chapter, Bandidos
STEPHEN DALE KOESTER, 47, Member Missoula Chapter Hermanos
ROBERT RANDALL ALEXANDER, 44, Member Missoula Chapter, Hermanos
RICKY THOMAS LOOKEBILL, 47, Member Missoula Chapter, Hermanos
MICHAEL TRENT McELRAVEY, 56, Member Missoula Chapter, Bandidos
FRANK OFFLEY, 49, Member Whatcom County Chapter, Bandidos
VINCENT STACY REEVES, 50, Associate Bellingham Chapter, Bandidos
JAMES AUSTIN PENNELL, 44, Associate Bellingham Chapter, Bandidos
BRITT AUGUSTUS ANDERSON, 34, Whatcom County Chapter, Bandidos WALTER BAIL, 48, of Blaine, Washington
JULIE ANDERSON, 35, of Custer, Washington
RICHARD MacMILLAN, 49, of Bellingham, Washington
DARRELL MORRIS, 42, of Everson, Washington
MICHAEL BARTOLO, 39, of Canada
STEVEN GLENN, 34, of Everson, Washington
JASON R. GORDEN, 34, of Seattle, Washington
"The Bandidos are an organized criminal enterprise that virtually held communities hostage," stated United States Attorney John McKay. "This investigation by federal and local law enforcement has loosened the stranglehold of fear and intimidation that the Bandidos had on communities throughout the northwest."
"This operation illustrates ATF's commitment to lead the fight against gangs and violent crime. The culture of violence and those who deal in illegal guns, drugs and death will be exiled from our community. This investigation does not end here," stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelvin Crenshaw. To that end, during enforcement activities, agents and officer's recovered narcotics, firearms, U.S. currency, evidence of trafficking in stolen motorcycles and 70 marijuana plants.
"Yesterday, the Bandidos Motorcycle Gang's drug trafficking, violent tactics, and firearms violations were answered with decisive enforcement operations by numerous Federal and State law enforcement agencies around the region. This criminal organization, which operated under its own terms and outside the law, will now face justice," stated Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson.
"The international leadership of the Bandido organization has been operating in Whatcom County with perceived impunity for many years. Hopefully this case will serve to dismantle the Bandido Motorcycle Organization in our area and will have a significant impact upon methamphetamine distribution, thefts, burglaries, crimes of violence and other nefarious activities that plague our community," added Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.
Bellingham Police Chief Randall Carroll spoke of the gang's long history of violence and intimidation saying, "For over 20 years the Bandidos have been tied to armed narcotics trafficking and related violence and the crime narcotics bring to our community. This operation is about Bellingham's Homeland Security."
If convicted of the charges, defendants face sentences ranging from five years up to life imprisonment.
An indictment contains allegations that have not yet been proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office, and the Bellingham Police Department. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshal's Service and numerous state and local law enforcement officers assisted with Thursday's arrests. The defendants will make their first appearances at approximately 2:30 today in the Magistrate's courtroom, 12th floor of the U.S. Courthouse at 700 Stewart Street. Because of the number of defendants, the Court may change the scheduled time.
For additional information please contact Doug Whalley, Assistant United States Attorney, at (206) 553-4882.