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Yet another former member steps forward to testify against former club -Ex-Bandido says national president kicked predecessor out over TV interview

Source: San Antonio Express

By Guillermo Contreras

A former national ranking member of the Bandidos testified Friday that the group’s latest president kicked his predecessor out of the biker club for appearing on a television documentary.

Pike “was like, ‘(expletive) him. We don’t do interviews. We don’t do TV,’” Ojemann testified, recalling a conversation he said he had with Pike in 2012. “It was a patch-pull offense.”

Ojemann is the latest ex-insider to testify against his former Bandidos “brothers” at the racketeering trial in San Antonio of Pike and ex-national vice president John Xavier Portillo.

Pike, of suburban Houston, took the reins of the Bandidos until he and Portillo, who became vice president in 2013, were arrested in January 2016, according to testimony.

Though Wegers returned to the Bandidos after serving a 20-month prison sentence for racketeering charges, he is no longer in the club because of the documentary, Ojemann said, without specifying which one.

Ojemann, who was 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighed 420 pounds while he was national sergeant-at-arms, said he and other Bandidos members carried out beatings or intimidation of rivals or wayward Bandidos on direct or indirect orders from Pike and Portillo.

While much of the testimony to date has come from Bandidos from San Antonio and focused largely on Portillo, Ojemann is the first ex-Bandido from the Houston area to testify. He said he became close to Pike and saw some of his decisions firsthand.

For instance, Ojemann said he attended a meeting in 2011 at the Mason Jar restaurant in Houston in which Pike and other national members talked about Pike’s proposal to split the Bandidos from chapters in Europe and Australia.

Ojemann said most Bandidos appeared to back Pike, who also called for a new patch to represent the club, but there was a faction who didn’t, including John “Galveston John” Lammins, who was president of a chapter in Costa Rica, and Ernest Morgas, an El Paso chapter president.

Ojemann said that as he rode with Pike back to his house, the Bandidos president seethed.

“I remember him turning down the radio and saying he wanted Galveston John’s (backside),” Ojemann said. “He was pissed. He wanted Galveston John (expletive) up.”

Ojemann said he and another national member were tasked with trying to find Lammins. Ojemann said that on one occasion, Lammins was tipped off and didn’t show up to where Ojemann and others would have pummeled him, or he was in places that were too public for an attack.

But other members from San Antonio did beat up and kick Morgas out of the Bandidos, Ojemann said.

Prosecutor Eric Fuchs asked Ojemann about the difference between Bandidos in Houston and those in San Antonio.

“San Antonio is known as ‘the jungle.’ ‘The lion’s den,’” Ojemann said. “San Antonio always handled business. If you needed violence done, you put in a call to San Antonio.”

Ojemann said Houston had to be more “laid back.”

“It was the big boss’ backyard,” Ojemann said. “For the most part, everybody knew, don’t cause no (expletive) in Houston.”

But defense lawyers for Pike and Portillo attacked Ojemann’s testimony as self-serving or of being fabricated to wrongly accuse their clients in order to save himself from lengthy prison time in his own drug case.

Under cross-examination, Ojemann admitted being involved in drug trafficking with another Bandidos member. Initially indicted on drug and gun counts that would have left him facing a minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison, Ojemann said he pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to reduced charges. And that, Pike and Portillo’s lawyers argued, could leave Ojemann facing a sentence closer to two years, maybe even probation.

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Pike’s lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, also said some of the incidents Ojemann testified about were part of Pike’s efforts to clean up the Bandidos.

Pike did not approve of members dealing in drugs, which was one of his concerns with the chapters in Europe and Australia, DeGuerin said. And there were some Bandidos members in those chapters who, when arrested, were found to have pictures of Osama bin Laden at their homes, DeGuerin said.

“You knew that Jeff was concerned that with the war on terrorism, the Bandidos might get a reputation that they have terrorists?” DeGuerin asked.

Ojemann agreed with that and with DeGuerin’s assertion that Pike was disappointed with Ojemann for his involvement in drugs.

Portillo’s lead lawyer, Mark Stevens, noted that what Ojemann told investigators in debriefings differed from his court testimony.

Stevens asked him if he had told agents he left the club after losing interest in it over matters he didn’t agree with. Ojemann refuted that, maintaining that Pike kicked him out, though Pike allowed him to remain in “good standing.”

Stevens pressed Ojemann on whether he had ever said before that he left the club by mutual agreement.

“Those words never came out of my mouth,” Ojemann answered.

Guillermo Contreras is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | | @gmaninfedland

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