Federal Grand Jury Adds Defendant and Murder Charge to Indictment Against Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization Leadership
In San Antonio, a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment against the highest ranking leaders of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (OMO) adding a murder charge and a new defendant to the federal racketeering indictment returned in January.
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; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
The superseding indictment, unsealed this morning in San Antonio, incorporates the charges contained in the original federal grand jury indictment against Bandidos National President Jeffrey Fay Pike, National Vice President John Xavier Portillo and National Sergeant at Arms Justin Cole Forster. 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.
According to the superseding indictment, the Bandidos OMO declared it was “at war” with the Cossacks OMO. The superseding indictment specifically alleges a number of violent acts committed by Bandidos OMO members in furtherance of this “war.” The superseding indictment also alleges that Portillo, Forster and other members of the Bandidos OMOM were engaged in trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine and maintained an agreement with the Texas Mexican Mafia wherein Bandidos OMO members were not required to pay the 10-percent “dime” to the Texas Mexican mafia in exchange for permission to traffic narcotics.
The superseding indictment also alleges that Portillo and Southwest San Antonio Chapter member Frederick Cortez (aka “Fast Fred”) were involved in the retaliation murder of Robert Lara in January 2002 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. Federal authorities arrested Cortez yesterday.
Pike, Portillo and Forster are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute; one count of conspiracy to commit violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR); and, one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by extortion.
Portillo is also charged with three substantive VICAR counts, plus one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine; one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and, one count of felon in possession of a firearm. Forster is also charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine; and, two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Cortez is charged with one substantive VICAR count.
Portillo, Forster and Cortez remain in federal custody. Pike is currently out on bond pending trial. Jury selection is currently scheduled for October 11, 2016. 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, Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Eric J. Fuchs and Joey Contreras are 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.