Authorities Arrest Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization Leadership
National President, Vice President and Sergeant at Arms indicted on federal RICO and VICAR charges
This morning, federal and state authorities in Texas arrested the highest ranking leaders of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (OMO)--National President Jeffrey Fay Pike, National Vice President John Xavier Portillo and National Sergeant at Arms Justin Cole Forster--based on federal racketeering and drug distribution charges. Pike, age 60 of Conroe, TX; Portillo, age 56 of San Antonio; and, Forster, age 31 of San Antonio, are accused of directing, sanctioning, approving and permitting other members of the organization to carry out racketeering acts including murder, attempted murder, assault, intimidation, extortion and drug trafficking to protect and enhance the organization’s power, territory, reputation and profits.
That announcement was made today by United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Western District of Texas; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw.
A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed today, charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute and one count of conspiracy to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR). Pike is also charged with one count of interference with Commerce by extortion. Portillo is also charged with two substantive VICAR counts, plus one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and interference with Commerce by extortion. Forster is also charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of interference with Commerce by extortion. The indictment is attached.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2013, the Bandidos OMO declared it was “at war” with the Cossacks OMO. The indictment specifically alleges a number of violent acts committed by Bandidos OMO members in furtherance of this “war.” The indictment also alleges that in 2014, Portillo received methamphetamine from Colorado-area Bandidos members and that Forster was selling ounce quantities of methamphetamine.
“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,” stated United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
“Operation Texas Rocker has inflicted a debilitating blow to the leadership hierarchy and violent perpetrators of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang,” said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Houston Field Division. “This 23-month operation highlights a deliberate and strategic effort to cut off and shut down the supply of methamphetamine trafficked by the Bandidos as well as other related criminal activity.”
“These indictments and arrests are the result of the ongoing partnership and collaboration between the FBI, DEA and DPS to neutralize one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in Texas,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “This effort not only exemplifies our commitment to prevent gang violence and criminal activity from poisoning our communities, but it also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent criminal enterprises.”
Pike, Portillo and Forster remain in federal custody. Upon conviction, the defendants face up to life in federal prison.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI, DEA and Texas DPS together with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New Braunfels Police Department, Seguin Police Department, San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff’s Department and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Eric J. Fuchs is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.