Fri
02
Mar
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Bandidos’ secrets spilled by ex-national ranking member

A former ranking member of the Bandidos’ national chapter testified at a racketeering trial Thurday that two ex-biker leaders led a racketeering conspiracy that included handing down orders to commit assault.
 

Justin Cole Forster, 33, was a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club for 10 years, from 2006 until he was arrested in January 2016 with then-national Bandidos president Jeffrey Fay Pike and vice president, John Xavier Portillo.

 

Six months after his arrest, Forster pleaded guilty to racketeering-related crimes and violated one of the most important rules of the group — he turned on the organization he longed to be a part of since he was 10.

Forster spent hours on the stand on the trial’s third day, explaining the inner workings of the Bandidos, its screening process, its revered vests and patches, and how the Bandidos enforces its rules and protects its territory through intimidation and violence.

Wed
28
Feb
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Amid criticism, Texas DA dismisses more cases in 2015 biker gang shootout

WACO, Texas - A Texas prosecutor on Wednesday dismissed 13 more cases against bikers stemming from a 2015 shootout at a Waco restaurant, CBS affiliate KWTX reports.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna made the announcement Wednesday, a day before scheduled hearings for 10 of the bikers. The May 2015 shootout at Waco's Twin Peaks restaurant left nine bikers dead, and 20 injured. The bikers faced charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.

Of the original 154 bikers indicted, prosecutors are still pursuing 128 cases. Reyna said his office would not pursue cases against 24 bikers who were arrested but not indicted.

Mon
26
Feb
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Trial for Bandidos leaders may last three months

As state authorities struggle to successfully prosecute more than 150 people indicted in the aftermath of the 2015 deadly biker clash in Waco, the feds are pushing forward here with a racketeering trial of two former leaders of the Bandidos for 16 years of alleged criminal conduct.

An anonymous jury of eight men and four women, and four alternates has been picked for the trial in San Antonio of former Bandidos president Jeffrey Fay Pike, 61, of Conroe and then-vice president John Xavier Portillo, 57, of San Antonio. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday morning in front of Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra for the trial that may last up to three months.

Mon
26
Feb
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Bikers rally in front of McLennan County Courthouse

(video)--WACO, Texas (KWTX) "We are all coming for you in the courts, the media, and the polls," says Jim Harris, a Phd student and mental health clinic worker.

Photo By: Chelsea Edwards

Harris is also a biker who was arrested following the Twin Peaks shooting in May of 2015 which resulted in the deaths of nine men.

One by one, bikers from clubs across Texas took to the microphone posted across the street from the McLennan County Courthouse Sunday afternoon.

One of their goals was to change perceptions of bikers.

"I retired after 24 years as a Christian greeting card salesman,” states one woman.

Tue
20
Feb
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Twin Peaks shootout biker takes Carrizal's retrial date

Cody Ledbetter has been trying to get his day in court for almost three years as the specter of witnessing his stepfather’s death in the 2015 Twin Peaks shootout and his pending indictment hang over his life.

Ledbetter and his attorney, Paul Looney, of Houston, got their wish Monday when 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson gave them the April 2 trial date initially reserved for the retrial of Jacob Carrizal, president of the Dallas Bandidos chapter, whose November trial ended in a mistrial.

Thu
15
Feb
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Twin Peaks defendant welcomes Reyna’s testimony, attorney says

WACO, Texas (KWTX) An Arlington lawyer said Thursday his client welcomes an opportunity to have McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna testify at an open hearing set for March 1.

Gary D. Smart, who represents Raymond Hawes, III, has filed a motion to recuse Reyna, and he says 11 other lawyers who represent bikers have also filed motions seeking Reyna's dismissal from prosecuting still more Twin Peaks trials.

Smart said his, and several other similar motions, are set for hearing before 19th District Judge Ralph Strother on March 1 and any testimony offered that day could involve both current and former prosecutors and police officers.

Smart said his motion is a carbon copy of one filed two weeks ago that eventually resulted in dismissal of several Twin Peaks cases and, he said, he is hopeful for the same outcome for his client.

Thu
08
Feb
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Texas Prosecutor Dismisses 13 Cases Tied to Biker Shooting

A Texas prosecutor on Thursday dismissed 13 cases stemming from a 2015 shootout in Waco involving bikers and police and recused himself from two others, placing into doubt the criminal prosecution of the more than 130 bikers still awaiting trial.

The actions came hours before a scheduled hearing for Jorge Salinas, whose case was among those dismissed.

Current and former staff had been due to speak at the hearing about corruption allegations against District Attorney Abel Reyna, who faces a Republican primary election in March.

The hearing was canceled.

According to a motion filed Thursday, the prosecutor dismissed Salinas' case "in order to focus its efforts and resources on co-defendants with a higher level of culpability."

Thu
11
Jan
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Jury panel reports Friday for next Twin Peaks trial; here are dates to watch

The jury panel will report Friday to the McLennan County Courthouse to fill out questionnaires ahead of the Jan. 23 jury selection in the next Twin Peaks trial.

Nine bikers were killed and 18 people were injured in the shootout between motorcycle clubs and law enforcement at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015. After the bullets stopped flying, law enforcement rounded up and arrested 177 people -- the majority of whom were later indicted in court.

The next case on the docket is George Bergman's trial. Bergman is a Dallas trucker and member of the Desgraciados.

Other cases to watch include the trial for Chance Aiken -- a Cossack from East Texas. He has a hearing scheduled Jan. 19. No trial date has been set.

Tue
09
Jan
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Twin Peaks Lawyer Quits

Yesterday, Casie Lynn Gotro, the eccentric Houston lawyer who defended Dallas Bandido Christopher Jacob Carrizal at his five-week-long trial last October and November. withdrew from the case.

Carrizal was charged with so many crimes it took an assistant district attorney more than 20 minutes to read them all. Simply stated, Carrizal was accused of instigating multiple assaults and murders on behalf of his motorcycle club at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant on May 17, 2015. The trial jury hung and Judge Matt Johnson declared a mistrial. Carrizal will probably be retried in April, If the long-delayed case actually does go forward, Carrizal will be represented by somebody new.

More

Sat
06
Jan
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Twin Peaks shootout defendant headed to trial after rejecting misdemeanor plea offer

A second Twin Peaks defendant appears headed to trial later this month after he rejected an offer from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the first-degree felony charge against him in exchange for his guilty plea to misdemeanor assault and one year on deferred probation.

“I didn’t do anything,” George Bergman said Friday. “That would be the first lie I told, saying I did something when I didn’t do anything. I am not willing to take anything because I didn’t do anything. I came to Waco for a meeting.”

Bergman, 50, a truck driver from Wills Point, is a former member of the Desgraciados motorcycle group and is among 154 bikers indicted in the May 17, 2015, shootout in Waco that left nine dead and 20 injured.

He said he knows that by turning down a year on deferred misdemeanor probation, he is risking a potential life prison term if convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity.

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