Gangland (2007) s03e06 Episode Script

Bandido Army

male narrator: You've Probably seen them we're outlaws.
We're supposed to be outlaws.
narrator: Terrorizing The highway narrator: All across The great state of texas.
in san antonio, the bandidos Are like tortillas and tacos.
They're part of the landscape.
narrator: Like everything Else here, they're bigger And badder.
we unloaded two pistols, 9-millimeter and.
22, Emptied it.
narrator: If they're close By, violence isn't far away.
when you stab somebody 20 Times, it's 'cause you hate Them and you want them dead.
narrator: The bandidos are One of the largest motorcycle Gangs, or omgs, in the world.
Only the hells angels are Bigger.
These outlaws ride harleys, Traffic drugs, carry weapons, And run prostitution rings.
2,500 strong, the bandidos Rule the roads in the u.
And stretch across the globe From europe to asia And australia.
San antonio, texas, Hub of the gang's activity.
The cultural gateway of the Southwest, its landmarks Include the alamo, hemis fair Tower, and the river walk.
narrator: "bill," who asked To have his identity concealed, Isn't hiding from the cops.
He fears his former gang.
A u.
Army veteran, he was Drawn by the outlaw image and Brotherhood of the bandidos.
narrator: Ed winterhalder is Also an army vet.
At age 14, he saw dozens of Harleys ride up to a carnival.
From that moment on, ed wanted To be a biker.
I knew then and there That's what I wanted to be.
And that's what I was.
It's something that's born Into you to be a biker.
narrator: While 99% of Bikers are law-abiding Citizens, ed and bill wore Badges of honor, showing their Allegiance to the other 1%.
1%ers thrive off their Lawless reputation.
I think that's all the Bandido lifestyle is about Is criminal activity.
There's no other reason to join Up with an organization Like that.
they want to feel like they Can do whatever they want to do Whenever they want to do it and That society can't tell them What to do, the cops can't Tell them what to do.
narrator: While some Bandidos are law-abiding Citizens, to the public, the One-percent patch means trouble.
For richard merla, a former High-ranking bandido, riding With the gang was a lifelong Dream.
The patch was the most Important thing in his life.
I've been in the inner Circle.
I've been in the circle, man.
People are scared just because Of the patch.
narrator: August 16, 2004: Richard merla and two others Were hanging out behind this San antonio house.
Robert quiroga, a former World-championship boxer and One of merla's friends, Was also there.
robert quiroga was a local Hero.
He was san antonio's first World-champion boxer.
I give you robert "pikin" Quiroga.
he was very highly respected.
He worked in the community.
everybody in san antonio Knew him.
He was well-liked.
People knew him for having Fought his way out of, you Know, essentially a tough part Of san antonio.
narrator: It was around 3:00 a.
, and after shutting Down a local strip club, the Friends were working their way Through a case of beer.
Their judgments were impaired When quiroga decided to dredge Up an old incident.
as the story goes, merla Apparently stole a scarface Movie poster from the house Of a friend of boxer Robert quiroga's.
narrator: Merla says he stole The poster because the gang had Long ago dubbed him scarface, a Reference to the mark on his Face.
that was my nickname They gave me.
A brother gave me that name.
And so we're at this guy's House drinking, and he had a Scarface poster up there, and Just, just for the hell of it, I said, "you can't have that Picture in your house.
That's me.
That's mine.
" narrator: This wasn't the First time quiroga mentioned The scarface incident.
But on this particular night, He wouldn't let it go.
they were high and drunk And got into an argument About the scarface poster.
So quiroga basically confronted Merla about it, and merla Wasn't going to have it.
narrator: Quiroga challenged Him in front of a bandido.
To merla, it was an inexcusable Insult.
disrespect a brother In front of another brother, You automatically react.
This was a childhood friend And a friend of the bandidos.
But that night, he let the Alcohol take control, and I Gave him two chances to leave.
narrator: Quiroga wouldn't Go, so merla did.
When quiroga left the backyard A few minutes later, Tragically, merla was waiting.
that's when the other two Guys heard him yell, "no, no, no.
" And they looked out, And they saw merla.
It looked like he was punching Him, but he had a knife in his Hand, and so it looked he was Punching him, but he was really Stabbing him.
it was a fistfight till The knife came out.
I got cut here, And I got cut here, and then, Even though I was cut, I just Overpowered him and took-- Took the knife and used it, His own weapon on him.
narrator: Merla fled the Scene, not knowing whether The boxer was alive or dead.
But he knew one thing: He had Taught quiroga a lesson.
ain't nobody supposed to Disrespect a brother.
narrator: Being one of the "brothers" was merla's goal Since an early age, when he First saw the bandidos in his Hometown.
I always used to see them Riding around san antonio.
I always wanted to be one, You know.
narrator: Merla came from A large catholic family.
He was athletic growing up, Playing baseball, basketball, And soccer.
He credits his father with Raising good, solid children.
it just so happened to be That out of all the kids, I was The black sheep of the family.
I just took the wrong direction, And ever since then, I just been In and out of jail and prison.
narrator: In 1983, merla, Then 17, shot and killed the Stepfather of his pregnant Girlfriend.
He said he was defending her From abuse.
Merla was convicted of Voluntary manslaughter and Given five years' probation.
A string of arrests followed For everything from assault to Druk possession and drunk Driving.
He ended up serving 41/2 years In prison.
In 1997, merla had just been Released when a member of the Bandidos asked if he'd like to Join.
I said, "no, I just got out Of the penitentiary.
I have been taking orders For the last five years.
I'm not ready to take orders as A prospect into the bandidos.
" narrator: The lure of a Renegade lifestyle proved Too tempting.
Merla bought a harley And became a bandido.
He was quickly drawn into the Brotherhood and its ftw Attitude.
super featherweight champion Of the world robert narrator: It's an attitude That extended even to friends Like robert quiroga.
one thing you don't do is, You don't disrespect a bandido Or you don't talk back to them, Because they'll let you have it.
you mess with scarface, You gonna--you gonna pay.
You gonna pay.
narrator: The bandidos, An outlaw motorcycle gang, Travel in packs.
Though some are law-abiding Citizens, they live like They're above the law.
Their legend precedes them.
when you're dealing with Them, be aware of what they do, That they carry weapons, that They sell drugs, that they steal Motorcycles, that they assault And even kill people.
narrator: From the beginning, It was clear: Cross the bandidos At your own expense.
It was 1966, and donald Chambers, a marine veteran, Had returned from vietnam.
He came up with the idea of Putting together a group of men Who shared a common interest: Their bikes And living on the edge.
just a get-together of people That all like one thing, like a Bowling club or anything else.
In our case, it's motorcycles.
narrator: The group quickly Developed an outlook on life and The way a biker should live it.
we like to tell people that The club was not in the sááá Business.
You weren't supposed to give Anybody any sááá, and you Weren't supposed to take any Sáááfrom anybody.
narrator: The bandidos were Following in the footsteps of Other big biker gangs through The years.
In the 1930s, the outlaws Dominated illinois.
In the 1940s, the hells angels Roared into existence in California.
In the late 1950s, the pagans Arrived on the scene in Maryland.
The 1960s became the bandidos' Era, and they claimed texas as Their home turf.
Chambers began to create An image for the gang.
According to popular legend, he Adopted the red and gold colors From the marine corps.
The gang's name and mascot, Frito bandido, were supposedly Stolen from the corn chips that Are still popular today.
Ed winterhalder, who was A member of the bandidos For seven years, says That's fiction.
The colors, he insists, were Chosen to replicate the Venomous coral snake.
The mascot reflected chambers' Appreciation of mexican bandits.
well, the character came from The actual bandidos of mexican Folklore.
Although they would go out And rape, plunder, and pillage Other areas in their own Backyard, they were their Protectors.
narrator: The early 1970s Saw the gang grow quickly into A force.
The new recruits seemed to Share a common background.
our common component is that Most of these guys have had A missing piece of their Childhood.
So in a sense, they are looking For a family.
I joined because, like I said, I wanted to be a part of What I thought was one of the Biggest or baddest organizations Where I could go anywhere and There were bandidos there And I could party And have fun with them.
narrator: That brotherhood Was particularly attractive to Some vietnam vets, who joined The gang in droves.
in the late '60s, early '70s, there was an influx of People coming back from the Military that wanted that Adrenaline rush that they had, And they wanted to replicate it Here, and they also wanted to Replicate the camaraderie, the Brotherhood that they had with Their fellow soldiers in Vietnam.
narrator: The drug culture That was so much a part of the War came back from southeast Asia with the new pledges.
Taking a page from the hells Angels, the bandidos made meth As much a part of the gang as Their motorcycles.
Not only did the drug keep them Awake during runs, But it also was a moneymaker.
methamphetamine's always Been the biker's drug.
The hells angels are kind of The trendsetters in the outlaw Motorcycle gang world.
That's just the reality of it.
And as much as these other Gangs hate them, They do follow them.
They do mimic their behavior.
narrator: The bandido nation Expanded in the 1970s as new Chapters spread throughout Texas and several surrounding States.
The san antonio chapter kept A tight rein on membership.
They called the shots.
narrator: It was clear early On, the bandidos meant business.
In 1972, they punished two Brothers for trying to pass off Baking soda as cocaine.
Chambers, the founder and President of the bandidos, Forced them to dig their graves.
Then he shot them at close range And set fire to their corpses.
Chambers was charged with the Double murder and sentenced To life in prison.
Despite losing their leader, The bandidos continued to expand Their membership And their criminal activities.
there was an evolution of The guys having a good time to Where some of the guys, it Became a full-time thing for Them to commit minor crimes and Live their life off of the Proceeds.
narrator: By the 1980s, Authorities said the bandidos Had grown into a widespread Illegal narcotics enterprise.
Members set up distribution Networks and turned a profit Selling drugs.
a lot of these guys are Unemployed.
Their gang is their occupation.
It is their job.
You might have two members that Are stealing motorcycles, Two members that are selling Cocaine, a couple of members That are into marijuana.
narrator: The bandidos Branched into other criminal Activities: Dealing in stolen Motorcycles, gun running, And prostitution.
it's an expensive lifestyle.
These guys are required to Travel on a regular basis.
These guys have to get their Money somewhere.
They can't just support this Off of thin air, and that's Where their criminal activity Comes in.
narrator: The '80s also Witnessed the gang's International expansion as Bandidos converted existing Motorcycle clubs into new sets.
It was a new way to grow their Criminal business, and before Long, chapters in australia and Europe were patching over.
you have to get International, because it gives You access to foreign chapters That have access to narcotics.
They can help you with Importation and with your drug Distribution network.
narrator: The bandidos were Now a global criminal network, And law enforcement took notice.
In 1985, federal agents Arrested 82 members of the Bandidos in eight states, Charging them with Manufacturing and selling meth.
In addition to drugs, Authorities seized more than 150 illegal weapons.
In the 1990s, the gulf war Brought a new influx of Veterans to the bandidos.
The new recruits were needed to Run the gang's lucrative Drug trade and fend off Competition from their prime Rival, the hells angels.
the hells angels believe that They should be the only outlaw Motorcycle gang in existence.
They think they're better than Everybody else, they're smarter Than everybody else, and they Look down at these other ggs.
If the hells angels had Their way, they'd occupy all 50 States, but it's difficult to Do that when you're fighting Wars on several different Fronts.
narrator: The fights between The hells angels and the Up-and-coming bandidos started Occurring frequently.
Crossing into rival territory Was a hazard, especially if it Was with the intention of Starting a new chapter.
it's all about that bottom Rocker.
If you have texas on your Bottom rocker, then you're Claiming texas as your Territory, just the same as A hells angels would claim California with his.
When you move another group Into that equation, you're Going to have problems.
narrator: In Bandidos' war with the hells Angels literally exploded.
Police suspected a member of The bandidos launched an Antitank grenade into their Rival's headquarters in Copenhagen, denmark.
Two people were killed.
At least 15 more were injured.
The bandidos were in the Biggest battle in their History, and richard merla, aka Scarface, was about to become A top soldier.
In 1999, a man named john Portillo stepped in as President of the powerful San antonio chapter.
Merla says that portillo tapped Him to be his sergeant at arms, The chief of his security force.
he could depend on me.
I wasn't going to run.
I wasn't going to fade away, You know what I'm saying? narrator: Merla possessed The quality most prized by Bandidos: Loyalty to the Brotherhood.
He was quickly awarded The gang's coveted "expect no mercy" patch.
The patch is given to members Who have done something beyond The normal call of duty For the gang.
and I ain't talking about Going stealing a motorcycle For them.
I ain't talking about Selling dope for them, Sááálike that.
More or less, it's taking Another person's life.
It's worn right here in the Front where you--it's a circle Patch; you put it right there.
narrator: By now, violence And drugs permeated the Bandidos from top to bottom.
In houston, authorities were Convinced the organization was Corrupt at every level.
narrator: In 1999, "officer Jones," who asked to have his Identity concealed, went Undercover with his partner to Infiltrate the bandidos as part Of a houston drug sting.
narrator: Officer jones took His time gaining the confidence Of his targets.
narrator: Jones and his Partner started dropping hints About wanting drugs.
After a few months, they were Allowed to buy from the Bandidos.
During the deals, they listened To members brag about stealing Motorcycles.
Within a year, they had Infiltrated the bandidos Operation.
Every day brought new risks.
narrator: Their investigation Uncovered large amounts of meth, Cash, guns, and knives.
It resulted in the arrest of Two bandidos.
More than $250,000 worth of Drugs and white supremacist Material were also seized.
It didn't take the bandidos Long to figure out who had Betrayed them.
narrator: Houston, texas, 1999: Officer jones And his partner Had infiltrated the bandidos, The second-largest outlaw Motorcycle gang, or omg, In the world.
Their sting operation resulted In four arrests and the Confiscation of more than $250,000 worth of drugs.
The bandidos quickly figured Out who had snitched and set A bounty for each officer.
narrator: The bandidos, who Insist they never target cops, Eventually removed the price From their heads but only after Receiving proof that officer Jones and his partner were Policemen, not informants.
Officer jones still steers Clear of the bandidos.
just the fact of wearing That patch carries a great deal Of respect.
That's somebody to be feared, Somebody to be wary of.
And they know that, And they feed off of that.
They feed off of the fear of The public, and they like to Intimidate.
narrator: San antonio, Texas, October 20, 2001: A bandido named javier negrete Was shot in the stomach and Killed outside a billiard hall.
Some witnesses told police Negrete had been trying to Break up a fight.
Hundreds of bandidos laid Negrete to rest in an elaborate Ceremony.
Then they began to hunt down His killer.
Richard merla, aka scarface, Was front and center.
we had different meetings How we're going to do it, when We're going to do it, blah, Blah, blah, and who, Who can we trust.
narrator: Police had pegged A local named roberto lara for The shooting and were trying to Build a case against him.
The bandidos got to him first.
my mentality was, I didn't Want him to come and spend the Rest of his life in the Penitentiary.
I didn't want him living.
narrator: Months after Negrete's murder, merla and A group of four accomplices Pulled into a rest stop South of the city.
It was an elaborate set-up.
Lara had arrived moments Earlier with a woman, who was Actually part of the plan.
we already know what she's Driving.
So me and another bandido got Out of the truck and went Straight to his car.
narrator: Merla and the Bandidos pulled lara out of the Car and shot him 11 times.
once he fell to the ground, That was it.
We unloaded two pistols, 9-millimeter and.
22, Emptied it.
narrator: The police didn't Have enough evidence to make an Arrest, and the bandidos got What they wanted.
what the cops do in 30 days, We'll do it in one night.
narrator: The bandidos' Effectiveness is partly due to Its structure, which is Organized like a corporation.
One of its biggest chapters is In san antonio, texas.
The gang also operates National chapter With its own president, Vice president, secretary, And treasurer.
The national chapter rotates From city to city, depending on Where the national president Lives.
That model is then replicated In the hundreds of sets found At the local level.
Members are required to pay Monthly dues and attend Meetings they refer to As "church.
" you walk in and you talk About old business from the Last week or last two weeks, Things that still haven't been Settled or decided upon, and Then you go to new business, And everybody gets to say What they want.
during church meetings, They're not going to have any Out-loud criminal conversations.
So they're always under that Belief that they're being Watched and listened to.
narrator: The bandidos will Not initiate just anyone.
African-americans are not Welcome.
you look at their clothing.
A lot of the patches that they Wear, it's real common to see The ss lightning bolts, To see the swastikas.
These guys do embrace that Ideology of white supremacy.
narrator: Women are Considered nothing more than Property.
Girlfriends, known as "old ladies," are forced to wear A patch that advertises them as Bandido property.
Bandidos put their women to Work as prostitutes, exotic Dancers, and drug distributors.
If a so-called "old lady" Resists or talks back, the Bandidos counter with force.
women get their teeth Knocked out.
They get their eyes blackened.
It's common practice.
And they look at it as, You know what? If things don't work out, Something happens, There's a line of other women That are waiting to take Her place.
narrator: There's also A waiting list to join The bandidos.
Each chapter recruits Trial members.
it's kind of like a farm Team that you would have in Sports.
You bring a person into that Gang, you can kind of monitor Them from afar, see how they're Doing, see what kind of person They are, how they handle Themselves.
narrator: If a man is Well-liked, he'll be invited to Become a "prospect.
" they want the guy Who's a street fighter.
They want the guy That's the bar fighter.
They want the guy who's got the Reputation, the street creds.
Maybe he's been in prison four Times, that they know Hasn't cooperated with law Enforcement, wouldn't cooperate With law enforcement, And will do their bidding.
narrator: Prospects are on Call 24/7 and must do things Like pick up brothers who've Broken down on the interstate.
it's very similar to getting Involved with a fraternity.
You spend a year of your life Doing menial tasks for all Sorts of members, proving that You're worthy of wearing The patch.
narrator: For merla, street Name "scarface," no sacrifice Was too large if it meant Joining the gang.
I was a very dedicated Member, very dedicated.
Really it took a lot of time Away from my family, but they Understood this is what I Wanted to be for the rest Of my life was a bandido.
narrator: Once a prospect Becomes a full member, he's Allowed to show his gang Affiliation by wearing The patch.
The gang has several Standard-issue patches They wear on their vests.
In addition to the 1%er, They might be seen Sporting a number 13.
narrator: Other patches Are marked with club mottos: The gang adheres to a strict Set of rules.
They must keep a running Motorcycle, log thousands of Miles riding, and go on Mandatory annual road trips, Or runs.
it costs a lot of money to Put fuel in your motorcycle, And it costs a lot of money to Stay places, and it's just a Very expensive lifestyle.
narrator: It's a lifelong Bond.
The men are there for all of Each other's moments in life, But they reserve a special Level of respect for the deaths Of members.
Outlaw motorcycle clubs take Funerals seriously.
The bandidos are no exception.
In the bandido world, if you Are within 500 miles of the Location of a bandido that dies, It's mandatory attendance For every bandido within that 500-mile radius.
they do those funerals for Every bandido, no matter if They die of old age, in a car Accident, motorcycle accident, Or if they're gunned down.
narrator: The funerals are Complete with their own set of Rituals.
Bandido members are laid to Rest with their patches.
They are literally buried by Their brothers, who take turns Throwing dirt on the grave.
The bandido family love Does have its limits.
Lying, cheating, disobeying, or Showing disrespect is all it Takes to be ex-communicated From the gang.
It's a lesson that richard "scarface" merla would learn the Hard way when he murdered San antonio's favorite son.
when merla murdered him, It was almost like he had Murdered a bandido.
That's how the bandidos reacted to it.
narrator: San antonio, Texas, August 16, 2004: A fight between richard "scarface" merla and his Friend, championship boxer Robert quiroga, got out of Control when merla stabbed Quiroga nearly 15 times.
once I saw blood, That was it.
There was no stopping me then.
it took quite a while before He finally did go down.
He tried to stagger out and get To his truck, which was out on The street.
narrator: Merla fled The scene.
It never occurred to him that This night would mark the Beginning of his downfall.
so after all that happened, I just got in my truck And took off.
I didn't know he was dead till The next morning, when it came On in the news.
it was senseless.
NoNo mercy.
I don't think anybody deserves To be stabbed 18 times In the back.
I'll be straight up.
You know, I don't got to-- I don't have to lie.
He was a good dude.
He helped me out.
He helped a lot of bandidos out In san antonio.
But that one night, he let the Alcohol take over, and it cost Him his life.
narrator: Police quickly Issued a warrant for merla's Arrest.
He figured the bandidos would Rally around him.
Merla hadn't counted on two Developments.
One was the outpouring of Public grief when news of Quiroga's gruesome death Came out.
The second was the bandidos' Allegiance to quiroga, A local hero.
when merla stabbed him to Death, that was the ultimate Affront to the club.
narrator: In a press Conference, san antonio's top Bandido, john portillo, the man Merla says chose him to be his Sergeant at arms, was quick to Distance himself and the Bandidos from merla.
this was not an action Of our club.
We do not condone this.
This was the act of a coward That is no longer a member Of this motorcycle club.
narrator: Merla surrendered To the police.
I know that nobody was happy With him, and I also think that At some point, he realized he Just didn't have any money and He had nowhere to go, and there Wasn't anything he could do Except try to get himself To where he wasn't gonna be In danger anymore.
narrator: The prosecuting Attorney, jim wheat, Immediately went to work, Building a case against the man Who killed one of the city's Favorite sons.
this would be about the same Length, about almost the exact Same size as the knife that Merla used.
We never did find the weapon.
narrator: There was no Weapon, but the prosecutor had Plenty of evidence.
Wheat had testimony, merla's Truck, his dna, and the Victim's corpse.
one cut went on his face.
You can see on his back that There are a couple of different Knife wounds on his shoulder, One on the top of the back.
it was either him or me, Because if this cut on my leg Would have went in centimeters Deeper, it would have busted a Main artery, and I wouldn't be Sitting here in this interview Today.
narrator: The physical Evidence led the prosecution to Shrug off merla's claim that he Had committed the murder in Self-defense.
if you just want to stab Somebody once or twice and try To get away to your truck, That's one thing, you know.
That could be a self-defense Case.
When you stab somebody 20 Times, it's 'cause you hate Them and you want them dead.
narrator: They also noted Blood patterns.
there was a struggle.
It's all robert's blood, you Know, where the attack happened.
Merla doesn't start bleeding Until he's actually leaving and Walking away from the scene.
narrator: Prosecutors Concluded that none of merla's Injuries had been inflicted By quiroga.
Instead, the location of the Cuts suggested they occurred as A result of the knife slipping From merla's hand while Stabbing quiroga.
this is the way merla is.
He gets mad, and he attacks People, and that's--that's The way he's been before.
That's the way he was that Night, and then afterwards, he Didn't act like anybody who had Just had to fight somebody off.
narrator: The trial was set To begin on September 12, 2005.
To the prosecution's surprise, Merla's attorney asked for a Plea bargain before the trial Even began.
he walked in with his Attorney on Monday morning when The jury is coming up, and he Said, "hey, let's--can we work This out? We want to work out a plea.
" I said, "are you kidding?" narrator: The reason for the Plea: Merla had gotten word the State had filed new charges for A stabbing he allegedly Committed two years earlier.
Merla agreed to plead no contest To the quiroga murder In exchange for dropping The new charges.
He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Merla claims the bandidos broke Their own code and ratted him Out for an earlier murder, The 2002 rest stop killing of Roberto lara, the man merla Shot 11 times in retaliation For a bandido's death.
I took the rap, Took all the rap.
narrator: Merla claimed he Was simply following the orders Issued by president john Portillo when he shot lara.
he had his sources, and when He came to me, he said, "that's the guy.
We need to take care of him.
" I knew what he wanted done.
He didn't want no black eyes And broken noses, teeth missing.
And I took care of it.
narrator: Merla says only Portillo had the authority To order the hit.
his title says it all.
Like the chief of police, What did he do? He give the orders.
narrator: Portillo has Refused numerous interview Requests.
He adamantly denies ordering The murder andasn't been Charged with any crime.
if I wanted to, I could have Been like them, snitches, but It's against my own personal Beliefs is pointing the finger At other people.
And they know it; they know it.
narrator: Former bandido "bill" feels merla shouldn't Have been given the shaft By the gang.
narrator: Merla isn't The only one the bandido Brotherhood has failed.
One day, bill answered the door Of his home and discovered A couple of bandidos.
They'd been told to collect Bill's patch as payback for A dispute with the gang.
narrator: The bandidos left Without bill's patch but caught Up with him a few months later.
The two men snuck up on bill And jumped him in a parking lot.
Infuriated, bill gave back The patch.
He says he had given everything He had to ride with the Bandidos, sacrificing his house, His trucks, and his job.
narrator: Bill, who once Lived and breathed for his Gang, has settled thousands of Miles away from san antonio.
narrator: San antonio, Texas, home of the bandidos.
For decades, the outlaw Motorcycle gang has trafficked Drugs across texas and the rest Of the country.
you know that money's coming From somewhere.
You can't be naive to that fact.
And you have to realize that, Yeah, there's something Going on.
These guys are involved in some Kind of illegal activity.
narrator: Washington state, June 2005.
Federal and local authorities Arrested 19 members of the Bandidos, charging them with Everything from kidnapping to Assault and drug distribution.
Today the bandidos are Concerned about their image.
Members are strongly encouraged To take part in community Events.
They've also upped Their web presence.
Anyone can now log on and buy Bandido merchandise.
It's all part of a strategy To soften the gang's image.
narrator: Bill, who was Kicked out of the gang, Isn't buying it.
narrator: Authorities aren't Buying it either.
In 2006, a farmer in ontario, Canada, discovered the bodies Of eight men stuffed into cars That had been abandoned On his fields.
The victims, all bandidos, had Been shot execution style.
It took only one day for police To arrest five people For the murders.
One of the suspects Was a bandido.
the reality of it is, these Guys clean their own house.
They police themselves Very well.
That can be all the way down From somebody needs their butt Kicked and they take care of it To somebody needs killed And they take care of that.
narrator: It's no surprise To authorities, who say the Gang is as dangerous as ever.
they have websites.
These guys are on myspace.
They're networking with each Other.
They're talking to other Criminal organizations.
It's not just out bikers.
It's about anything.
the bandidos say They're no angels.
They totally admit it.
But what they also want to say Is that they're not some huge Organized criminal enterprise.
narrator: In 2003, after Nearly 20 years around the Gang, ed winterhalder walked Away from the bandidos.
He says meth had become too Much a part of the lifestyle, But he doesn't harbor hard Feelings about his former gang.
I'm thankful for the times That I got to see the rest of The world, and I got to meet A lot of people from a lot of Different walks of life.
narrator: Richard merla has A different opinion.
Sitting in his prison cell in Gatesville, texas, he has Nothing but burning contempt For his former gang.
they cut me loose because I committed a murder, okay? There was no law, bylaws in the Bandidos saying if you ever Commit a murder, we're gonna Kick you out.
I'm an outlaw, man.
There ain't nothing supposed To stop me from, you know, Doing what I'm gonna do.
narrator: In 2007, merla was Convicted of the murder of Roberto lara.
He was sentenced to an Additional 40 years and has A lifetime to reflect on what Went wrong.
I had a few regrets in my Life, but the biggest regret I ever had in my life was ever Becoming a bandido, because They stabbed me in the back, You know.
They stabbed me in the back.
narrator: If the day comes That merla is released from Prison, he will be thinking About revenge.
I wouldn't want to get out, Because I got one thing on my Mind, and I'm telling you The truth.
I wouldn't want to get out for The simple fact I'm known To retaliate, and I will, So I'm better off in here.

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