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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jury Convicts Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization Leadership on All Federal Charges

Racketeering Charges Related to Multiple Murders, Attempted Murders, Assaults, Extortion and Drugs

In San Antonio today after a nearly three-month trial, a federal jury convicted the two highest ranking officers of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (Bandidos)--National President Jeffrey Fay Pike and National Vice President Xavier Portillo--on federal racketeering and drug trafficking charges. 

That announcement was made today by United States Attorney John F. Bash, Western District of Texas; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw; Acting Austin Police Chief Brian Manley; San Antonio Police Chief William McManus; and, Atascosa County Sheriff David A. Soward.

“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.  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.”

“The verdict rendered today is the result of the outstanding partnership between the FBI and all our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “This effort demonstrates our ongoing commitment to prevent gang violence and criminal activity from poisoning our communities. It also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent criminal enterprises.”

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.

“Today’s verdict is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our local, state and federal officers. The arrest and successful prosecution of these violent offenders involves cooperation and collaboration among the different agencies. We will continue to work together to ensure that our community is a safe community,” stated San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

The FBI, DEA and Texas DPS investigated this case together with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Austin Police Department, New Braunfels Police Department, Seguin Police Department, San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff’s Department, Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department, Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Department, Ector County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Fuchs and John Gibson are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated May 17, 2018