Bandidos trial put on hold due to hotel shortage, road closings caused by Final Four

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A shortage of lodging because of the Final Four shortened Thursday’s proceedings in a federal racketeering trial of two top former leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra dismissed jurors midafternoon after prosecutors informed him they had no more than the three witnesses who testified Thursday in their case against former Bandidos national president Jeffrey Fay Pike and ex-vice president John Xavier Portillo.


Ezra explained that the next government witnesses are all from out of town and could not find hotels because of the thousands of people in town for the collegiate basketball extravaganza. Additionally, the federal courthouse will be closed Friday because streets around it will be closed or gridlocked due to the Final Four festivities and games, the judge said.

Thursday’s witnesses included a former member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club who testified about a confrontation he and a fellow club member had with members of the Bandidos in July 2011 outside Hooter’s in Selma. The Bandidos wanted the Iron Order members to remove their vests, which had Texas “rockers,” or patches.

Also testifying was an investigator from the district attorney’s office in Denver, who spoke about an investigation of Bandidos members there that has some overlap with the case in San Antonio. The third witness was an FBI agent who explained some wiretaps played for jurors of Portillo’s phone calls with fellow Bandidos and with the president of the Vagos Motorcycle Club in 2015.

The trial, which could stretch into late April or even into May, will resumes Tuesday.

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Guillermo Contreras
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