A 59-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment plus 20 years for helping to run a violent motorcycle gang involved in drug trafficking. The sentences were handed down by a federal judge on Sept. 22. During a three-month-long trial that concluded in May, prosecutors convinced a jury that the man committed his crimes while acting as the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization's national vice president.
Prosecutors told the jury that the man ordered Bandidos members to commit crimes including intimidation, assault, extortion, robbery and murder to increase the organization's influence and extend its reach. The police investigations into the gang's activities intensified in 2006 when a man who had been recruiting members for the Hells Angels motorcycle gang was found murdered. Investigators say that the man ordered the killing during a motorcycle gang turf war. He was also linked to a 2002 revenge killing.
The man was also convicted on drug charges. Prosecutors say that he and other senior Bandidos members trafficked large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine in Texas. The gang is said to have entered into an arrangement with the Texas Mexican Mafia to acquire the drugs. The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the man's motorcycle, three guns and $17,800 in cash. These items were seized when police searched the man's home in 2016 according to court records.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to avoid the uncertainties of a jury trail and settle cases at the negotiating table when the evidence against their clients is compelling and the penalties likely to be imposed are severe. Prosecutors are judged based on their results and could be open to such overtures even when their cases are strong.
Source: ABC News, "Biker gang's second-in-command sentenced to 2 life terms", Associated Press, Sept. 25, 2018