High-ranking Bandidos member tied to 2006 Austin killing sentenced to life in prison

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The former national vice president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club received two consecutive life sentences and an additional 20 years in federal prison on Monday following his conviction in May on drug trafficking and racketeering charges.

John Xavier Portillo, 59, was also ordered to surrender his motorcycle, three firearms and nearly $18,000 in cash that were seized in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Portillo, along with Bandidos’ national president Jeffrey Fay Pike, 63, was convicted on more than a dozen counts, including some in connection with the killing of Anthony Benesh, who was trying to start a Texas Chapter of the Hell’s Angels, a rival club, in Austin. 

“Members of the Bandidos warned Benesh to cease his activities and recruitment, which Benesh ignored. Several Bandidos members then murdered Benesh on March 18, 2006 ,outside an Austin restaurant to protect the power, reputation and territory of the Bandidos enterprise,” the Justice Department said.

Officials said jurors also found that Portillo and others were involved in the 2002 killing of Robert Lara, which authorities described as retribution for the death of Javier Negrete, a fellow Bandido, in 2001. 

According to the Justice Department, Portillo, Pike and others were also involved in the planning to kill or assault members of rival motorcycle clubs, and were engaged in drug trafficking.

“This effort demonstrates our ongoing commitment to prevent gang violence and criminal activity from poisoning our communities,”  said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “ It also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent criminal enterprises.”

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