Biker gang's second-in-command sentenced to 2 life terms

File- This May 17, 2018, file photo shows John Xavier Portillo, former national vice president of the Bandidos, leaving John Wood Federal Courthouse in San Antonio, Texas. On Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, a federal judge has sentenced Portillo to two consecutive life terms and another 20 years in prison for directing a violent racketeering and drug trafficking enterprise. (Kin Man Hui/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge sentenced a former leader of the notorious Bandidos biker gang to two consecutive life terms and another 20 years in prison for directing a violent racketeering and drug trafficking enterprise.

John Portillo of San Antonio was sentenced Monday. The 59-year-old was the national vice president of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization.

Jurors in May found Portillo and the group's president, Jeffrey Pike, guilty of directing gang members to commit murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, intimidation, extortion and drug trafficking. Trial evidence revealed the pair's role in violent acts against rivals around the biker club's home turf of Texas.

The three-month federal trial also determined that Portillo was involved in trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine under an arrangement with the Texas Mexican Mafia.

A federal investigation of the leaders arose from the 2006 killing of Anthony Benesh, who was attempting to start a Texas Chapter of the Hells Angels and had ignored the Bandidos' warnings to cease recruitment. Evidence during trial revealed that Portillo and Pike ordered members to murder Benesh.

Jurors also found that Portillo was involved in the 2002 killing of Robert Lara to avenge for the death of a Bandidos member.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra gave Portillo two consecutive life sentences for racketeering murder. Ezra also handed down 10-year sentences on each of Portillo's two charges of using or discharging a gun in furtherance of racketeering.

Portillo was ordered to forfeit his motorcycle, three firearms and more than $17,800 seized from his home during a 2016 search.

Pike, who led the organization for more than a decade, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. He also faces up to life in prison.

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