Bandidos National Sergeant at Arms Pleads Guilty to Federal Racketeering, Drug Trafficking and Extortion Charges
In San Antonio, 32-year-old Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (OMO) National Sergeant at Arms Justin Cole Forster faces up to life in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal racketeering, drug trafficking and extortion charges announced 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; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy today, Forster pleaded guilty to four charges contained in a superseding indictment, namely, count one -- conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute; count three -- conspiracy to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR); count six -- conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and cocaine; and, count ten -- conspiracy to interfere with commerce by extortion. The superseding indictment is attached.
By pleading guilty, Forster, a member of the Bandidos OMO since 2006 and its National Sergeant at Arms since 2011, admitted that he conspired with others to participate in the affairs of the organization through a pattern of racketeering activity consisting of murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, interstate travel in aid of racketeering and drug trafficking.
Forster remains in custody pending sentencing scheduled for January 9, 2017, before Senior United States District Judge David A. Ezra in San Antonio.
Bandidos OMO National President Jeffrey Pike, age 61 of Conroe, TX; National Vice President John Portillo, age 57 of San Antonio; and, member Frederick Cortez (aka “Fast Fred”), age 48 of (San Antonio), who are also charged in the same superseding indictment, are currently scheduled for trial on August 7, 2017. While awaiting jury selection, Portillo and Cortez remain in federal custody; Pike is out on bond.
The superseding indictment accuses Pike and Portillo 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. It alleges Portillo and Cortez were involved in the retaliation murder of Robert Lara in Atascosa County for killing one of their own. Javier Negrete, a member of the same Bandidos OMO chapter as Portillo and Cortez, was killed outside a San Antonio bar in October 2001.
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, Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
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.