SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Two former leaders of the notorious Bandidos biker gang have been found guilty by a federal jury in Texas of racketeering charges alleging multiple murders, attempted murders and other crimes.
The jury in San Antonio reached its verdict Thursday against 62-year-old Jeffrey Fay Pike of Conroe and 58-year-old John Xavier Portillo of San Antonio.
Pike was the national president of the gang from 2005 to January 2016, when he was arrested on racketeering charges that also included conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon. Portillo was the national vice president.
The federal investigation of Pike and Portillo arose from the 2006 killing of Anthony Benesh of Austin. At the time, Benesh was trying to organize a Texas chapter of another rival, the Hell’s Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Organization, according to documents.
Trial testimony revealed that Portillo, with Pike’s approval," declared that the Bandidos were "at war" with the Cossacks, a rival gang, leading to numerous acts of violence around Texas.
The verdict comes on the three-year anniversary of the shooting at a Waco restaurant involving the Bandidos and the Cossacks that left nine dead and 20 injured. However, the federal investigation began before the shootout.
Jurors also found that Portillo participated in the killing of Robert Lara south of San Antonio in 2002 to avenge the killing of a Bandidos member. They also found that Portillo and other Bandidos trafficked in methamphetamine and cocaine under an arrangement with the Texas Mexican Mafia.
Portillo is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 24, while Pike is to be sentenced Oct. 1. Both could be sentenced to life in federal prison. Both are in custody pending sentencing.
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