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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bandidos gang in turmoil after arrests

MCs in the News

A motorcycle gang linked to criminal activity suspected someone was tipping law enforcement about three months before the arrests of five gang members, the robbery of another gang member and the shooting of an ex-member who was recently kicked out of the gang, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials said they do not know whether the Feb. 5 arrest of former Bandidos chapter president Johnny Dean Daigle on drug counts triggered the gang’s troubles in the 2‰ weeks afterward.

Authorities also said they are not actively investigating whether the incidents are linked to Daigle’s arrest but are sharing information with other agencies.

“I really couldn’t tell you why they (the Bandidos) have surfaced as far as being in the news all of sudden,” said Milton Bonaventure, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives’ Baton Rouge field office.

Unnamed Bandidos, the LA Riders — a Bandido “support gang” — and others met Nov. 11 at the Greenwell Springs home of “R.T.” to discuss who might be providing information to authorities, according to a federal indictment.

Bonaventure confirmed that “R.T.” referred to then-Bandido Raymond Tullier.

The Jan. 28 indictment does not say whom gang members suspected or whether anyone was providing information but it charges William B. Creel, who is not believed to be a Bandido, with lying about whether he was at the meeting.

Creel has pleaded innocent to making a false statement to an ATF agent and has been released pending trial.

U.S. Attorney David Dugas, of the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, said Louisiana State Police and the ATF have been investigating the Bandidos since January 2009.

The Bandidos are one of the two largest outlaw motorcycle gangs in Louisiana, with more than 50 members in chapters across the state and more than 2,400 members nationally, State Police troopers and federal prosecutors have said.

The group has been described by federal law enforcement authorities nationally as a criminal enterprise involved with extortion, witness tampering and drug distribution for four Mexican drug cartels.

Three months after the Nov. 11 gang meeting, U.S. Marshal’s Service deputies arrested Daigle on two counts of methamphetamine distribution under a separate Jan. 28 indictment brought as part of that ongoing investigation.

Daigle was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm stemming from an incident unrelated to the investigation, Dugas said.

Daigle has a federal illegal firearms transportation conviction from 2000. He has been denied bond and pleaded innocent to his new charges, court records show.

With Daigle in federal custody, Joe Louis “Bandido Joe” Flores, 31, of Denham Springs, replaced him in February as Baton Rouge Bandidos president, Bonaventure said.

On Feb. 11, Flores, Bandido Derrick Johnson, 35, of Walker, and another Bandido went to Tullier’s house and told him he was out of the gang, a State Police warrant says. Tullier was also robbed at gunpoint of his motorcycle and gang paraphernalia, the warrant says.

Tullier’s home has the same Hooper Road address where the U.S. Marshal’s Service had arrested Daigle six days before the robbery, an arrest warrant says.

On Feb. 24, Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Flores and three other gang members in the beating and shooting of ex-Bandido Steven Hoff, 31, of Denham Springs, at Fred’s on the River.

Flores has been booked on counts of attempted second-degree murder, possession of a firearm in an alcoholic beverage outlet and second-degree battery. He remained in jail on a $250,000 bond Tuesday and a State Police hold, deputies said.

Johnson and the other Bandidos with Flores at Tullier’s house also were with Flores during the shooting at Fred’s on Feb. 24, deputies said.

On March 10, State Police took Johnson from Ascension Parish Prison and booked him in Baton Rouge in the armed robbery of Tullier, said Trooper Russell Graham, a spokesman for State Police Troop A.

Johnson also faces counts of second-degree battery and disturbing the peace in Ascension. He remained in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Tuesday on a $150,000 bond, deputies said.

Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said deputies have solid cases in the attack on Hoff, but no motive.

“What the triggering event was, the people who are involved aren’t saying,” he said.

original article