Two former leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were found guilty of 13 charges for the murder of the 2006 murder of a rival gang leader, a federal jury in San Antonio, Texas ruled Thursday.
Bandidos National President Jeffrey Fay Pike, 62, of Conroe, Texas, and National Vice President Xavier Portillio, 58, San Antonio, were found guilty of murder and other charges after a three-month trial.
Prosecutors presented evidence that in 2006, Pike and Portillo ordered other Bandidos members to murder Anthony Benesh. At the time, Mr. Benesh was attempting to start a Texas Chapter of the Hell’s Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Organization in Austin. Members of the Bandidos warned Mr. Benesh to stop his activities and recruitment, which he ignored, according to court documents.
Mr. Benesh was murdered by several Bandidos on March 18, 2006, outside an Austin pizza restaurant.
Jurors also found that Portillo and others killed Robert Lara in January 2002 as payback for killing a member of the Bandidos in October 2001. Portfolio and Pike were also found guilty of conspiring to murder and assault members of the rival Cossacks Outlaw Motorcycle Organization. Testimony during trial revealed that Portillo declared the Bandidos were “at war” with the Cossacks. A number of violence acts were committed by the Bandidos around Texas as part of the “war,’ the Justice Department said.
Trial evidence also revealed that Portillo and other members of the Bandidos were trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine.
Both defendants face up to a life in prison. Sentencing for Portillo is on September 24 and Pike is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 1.
“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.”
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