Bandidos Texas Biker Gang Gets Stung in FBI Sting

Leaders arrested; still not cooler than Marlon Brando in The Wild One.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

For all our romantic notions of the rebel astride his chrome steed, real outlaw biker dudes tend not to be worthy of romanticizing. They’re not photogenic, either. A reminder of these truths came on Jan. 6, when high-ranking members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were arrested in Texas in a sweeping sting. Federal marshals descended on the Conroe, Tex., compound of Bandidos president Jeffrey Fay Pike, where the leader was arrested without resistance. In a simultaneous action, agents took Bandidos national vice president John X. Portillo and sergeant-at-arms Justin Forster into custody in San Antonio. According to the indictment that cleared the way for the operation, all parties face lifetime prison terms if convicted of their various alleged crimes—among them extortion, drug dealing and racketeering.

The big question mark hanging over the sting is whether further charges might be brought in connection to the May 17 bloodbath in Waco, Tex., in which nine people were killed and 24 injured when biker-gang tensions boiled over at a bar-restaurant. The Houston Chronicle reports that a series of prior beatings, harassments and general ill behavior between the Bandidos and upstart rivals the Cossacks “set a stage” for that murderous May 17. The Chronicle notes that none of the three Bandidos members arrested on Jan. 6 were present at the bar, and nothing brought to a grand jury suggested they were orchestrators. Still, the prospect remains for further, graver charges to be brought.

Even in their absence, however, there’s enough in the indictment to keep all three club officers pining after their hogs for decades.