Crime Feds: Bandidos are “the mafia on two wheels”

17:45  15 may  2018
17:45  15 may  2018 Source:

Ex-New England mafia boss to go on trial for 1993 killing

  Ex-New England mafia boss to go on trial for 1993 killing BOSTON — The high-profile trial of a New England mafia boss charged with killing a nightclub owner in 1993 is set to get underway in Boston. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday in the trial of ex-mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme and co-defendant Paul Weadick, who are accused of killing federal witness Steven DiSarro to prevent him from cooperating with authorities.DiSarro's remains were found in March 2016 behind a mill in Providence, Rhode Island. The men have denied participating in DiSarro's killing.

During the raids, federal agents also arrested Michael Vickery on drug trafficking charges, though they say that Vickery was not a club member. The Bandidos Motorcycle Club is not under investigation, according to search warrants.

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

A federal jury will begin deliberating Tuesday whether the top two former national leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club headed a racketeering conspiracy and authorized or sanctioned members to commit extortion, robbery, assault, drug dealing and murder.

Trial to begin for ex-mafia boss charged in 1993 killing

  Trial to begin for ex-mafia boss charged in 1993 killing A former New England mafia boss accused of killing a nightclub owner to prevent him from cooperating with authorities 25 years ago is heading to trial. Opening statements are expected Wednesday in the trial of ex-mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme and co-defendant Paul Weadick.

They also commonly wear a "support patch" consisting of a round patch in Bandidos colors on the front upper left of the colors (vest), as worn by the member. Feds Arrest Numerous Bandido MC Members in Southern U.S.A.

Jeffrey Fay Pike, the former national president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, seen on Feb. Ballistics evidence showed that police bullets struck four bikers, killing at least two of them. Local. Feds challenge ex-leader’s claim that Bandidos is a “mom and.

In closing arguments Monday of the nearly three-month trial in San Antonio, prosecutors painted Jeffrey Fay Pike, who was national president of the Bandidos from 2005 until January 2016, and then-vice president John Xavier Portillo, as crime bosses of a secretive gang of outlaw bikers who claimed Texas as their territory.

But lawyers for Pike, 63, of Conroe, and Portillo, 58, of San Antonio, countered that the defendants headed a fraternal, social club of motorcycle enthusiasts, and that the group had some “bad apples” who committed crimes for which neither Pike nor Portillo are responsible.

“In their world, these defendants were kings,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Fuchs told the jury. “They led the Bandido nation ... where power, respect and territory mattered more than anything. ... It was under the direction of these two defendants, under the culture these two had built and sustained, that the Bandidos maintained that feeling of superiority.”

Texas prosecutors drop dozens more cases from Waco shooting

  Texas prosecutors drop dozens more cases from Waco shooting Prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed more than 60 cases stemming from a 2015 shooting in Waco involving rival biker clubs that left nine dead, the latest sign of serious trouble for an ambitious pursuit of convictions following the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history. McLennan County prosecutors tossed out 66 more cases and have dismissed or refused 154 of the original 192 cases since February, saying they wanted to focus on those who were "more culpable." Officials said in late April that only about 25 cases will be prosecuted of the more than 150 people ultimately indicted on felony charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.

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5. Police have used the RICO Act – a statute designed to bring down the Mafia in the 1970s – to make mass Bandido arrests. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was used to indict Bandidos in 2005. Texas Monthly reported that the feds considered the gang an "organized criminal

Fuchs argued that Pike and Portillo set wheels in motion that resulted in crimes like the killing by Bandidos of a man in Austin in 2006 who reportedly was trying to set up a chapter of the Hells Angels and intimidating, extorting or beating rival bikers over territory or wayward Bandidos who got crossways with the leadership.

“These kinds of acts are expected because that’s the Bandido way. That’s the culture,” Fuchs said. “This is the mafia on two wheels.”

Fuchs said the prosecution’s evidence showed Portillo served as a buffer, helping distance Pike from criminality. Fuchs said Pike sometimes met in secret with confidants like Portillo, and added that communication was compartmentalized — information was shared only with those who needed to know.

During the trial, three former national sergeants at arms — Justin Forster and Johnny “Downtown” Romo of San Antonio and William Gerald “Big G” Ojemann of Houston — testified about the inner workings of the Bandidos and how they carried out orders from Pike and Portillo for assaults, discipline and intimidation.

1st murder charges filed in 2015 biker shooting in Texas

  1st murder charges filed in 2015 biker shooting in Texas Three bikers have been indicted on murder charges stemming from a 2015 shooting involving police outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas. They include a prominent member of the Bandidos motorcycle club. The Wednesday indictments mark the first murder charges in the case. Police arrested nearly 200 bikers following the shooting that left nine people dead and 20 injured. Most of those cases were dropped earlier this year.The indictments mark the first murder charges in the case, and more than 20 other bikers were re-indicted on new charges ranging from rioting to tampering with evidence. The lesser charges come just eight days before the statute of limitations on such crimes runs out.

A former member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club broke down Wednesday as he testified how he ended the life of a member of the Hells Angels on orders of two leaders who are facing a federal racketeering trial in San Antonio.

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Pike and Portillo are named in a 13-count indictment. Both are charged with racketeering conspiracy, including authorizing attacks that included the December 2014 death of Geoffrey Brady, a supporter of the rival Cossacks Motorcycle Club who was beaten and shot at a Fort Worth bar by members of the Bandidos’ Fort Worth chapter.

Pike and Portillo are also charged with murder and use of a firearm in the aid of racketeering murder of the 2006 shooting of purported Hells Angels member Anthony Benesh. The two ex-leaders also are charged with passing down orders for a “war” against the Cossacks, who had been wearing patches on their vests saying “Texas.”

Among those assaults was a Cossack who was stripped of his biker vest after being beaten with a claw hammer west of Fort Worth in March 2015, the beatings of Cossacks members at a bar in Port Aransas in August 2015 and an unsuccessful attempt to find Cossacks in Crystal City, also in fall 2015.

The ex-Bandidos leaders are also accused of ordering Bandidos to go to Odessa as a show of force against the Cossacks in April 2015. Law officers said more than 200 Bandidos showed up, though police warned Cossacks before to leave the area and no confrontation ensued.

Verdict reached in Texas racketeering trial of top ex-biker gang leaders

  Verdict reached in Texas racketeering trial of top ex-biker gang leaders On the three-year anniversary of Texas’ deadliest biker shootout, jurors in San Antonio found the two top former Bandidos leaders guilty of all charges they faced in a racketeering indictment .After two days of deliberations, the eight men, four women jury returned a unanimous verdict against former Bandidos national president Jeffrey Fay Pike, 62, of Conroe, and ex-vice president John Xavier Portillo, 58, of San Antonio, on all counts each faced in a 13-count indictment.The crimes include racketeering conspiracy, murder, extortion and drug dealing (or aiding and abetting the crimes).

Bandidos members wear distinctive patches, or "colors," on the back of leather or denim vests called cuts (collars and sleeves are cut off). The center patch is a caricature of a Mexican bandit.

So your friendly neighborhood feds had a big day yesterday. In an "early-morning takedown" announced late Tuesday, they rounded up 28 people they say are affiliated with a variety of motorcycle gangs, namely the Texas-born Bandido Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (aka the BOMG or the Bandidos

That incident took place five weeks before the infamous May 17, 2015, shootout involving Bandidos, Cossacks and police at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco in which nine bikers were killed and 20 others were injured.

“These defendants are not charged in that,” Fuchs said. “But it is important that a Bandido was killed there because it provides context to everything that happened afterwards. The intent was retribution.”

Portillo is also charged with murder in the January 2002 shooting death of Robert Lara, who had reportedly killed a Bandidos member months earlier. Portillo is also charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

If convicted, the pair could face up to life in federal prison without parole.

Pike’s lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, and Portillo’s lead attorney, Mark Stevens, cautioned the jury to not convict their clients based on “guilt by association” or “guilt by lifestyle.”

“In any group, there’s going to be some bad apples, but that doesn’t make the entire group a criminal enterprise,” DeGuerin said. “The Bandidos are not on trial”

DeGuerin called Pike a good family man who is not guilty.

“It is not enough that he is simply president of the Bandidos (to convict Pike),” DeGuerin argued. “He has to have some knowledge and intent. There was no evidence of that.”

Mobster says memory of burying murder victim came back to him during walk in woods

  Mobster says memory of burying murder victim came back to him during walk in woods A Rhode Island mobster testified Thursday that he initially couldn’t recall some details of the day he helped then-New England Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme dispose of a body.Seventy-eight-year-old Joseph DeLuca was grilled during cross-examination about why details he offered jurors a day earlier at Salemme’s trial for the 1993 slaying of South Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro were different than what he told a federal grand jury two years ago.

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DeGuerin said Pike was “an agent of change” who tried to reform the Bandidos by bringing in more mainstream members of society and doing away with how the club referred to women as “property.” DeGuerin also said Pike split the club’s U.S. chapters from those in Canada, Europe and Australia because he disliked that they had done some “bad things.”

DeGuerin and Stevens each attacked the credibility of the government’s key witnesses, claiming they lied and implicated Pike and Portillo so the witnesses could avoid charges or long prison time for crimes that included murder.

“Without those witnesses, there’s not much meat on the bone,” Stevens said.

Stevens argued that there was no physical evidence to prove Portillo was involved in most of the crimes listed in the indictment. But Stevens said Portillo, who was convicted of possession of less than a gram of cocaine in 2006, admits to one of the charges — being a felon with a firearm — because agents found guns in Portillo’s Southeast San Antonio home when they arrested him in January 2016.

Stevens also said Portillo won’t challenge evidence that white powder agents found in the raid was 1 ounce of cocaine, but Stevens left it to jurors to decide if Portillo is guilty of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, or a lesser included offense of simple possession.

“John Portillo did not murder anybody,” Stevens said. “He’s not a big time drug dealer and he was not at war, in the offensive sense, with anybody.”

Guillermo Contreras is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | | @gmaninfedland

Movie makeup to conceal government witnesses in mob boss trial .
Two government witnesses in the trial of former New England Mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme will be disguised by a "movie-industry" quality makeup artist to protect their identities. Both witnesses are members of the U.S. Marshals Service and inspectors for the federal Witness Security Program. Prosecutors said they are trying to protect the witnesses because they have information the government doesn’t want to be made public.

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