BANDIDOS PRESIDENT: There was no rumble over a Texas rocker
Bandidos U.S.A. President Bill Sartelle updates public in an exclusive interview with The Legendary Jim Parks and Texas Biker Radio
Galveston – When Bill Sartelle and the board of officers of the National Chapter of Bandidos, U.S.A. take to the board room, the image is what you would expect of any national corporate entity.
There is a methodical agenda, quiet and respectful discussion, and a pause to assure the chairman that there is consensus among his officers, the sergeants at arms, secretaries, and national vice presidents – not necessarily a script, but definitely an organized approach to taking care of business.
Asked what is on his mind, and how he can best be heard in this first voluntary, requested interview with a social media outlet, Bill Sartell, President of Bandidos, U.S.A. said without equivocation, “We like to stay away from the term outlaw.”
He and one of the tallest men you’ve ever seen, a man with the road name of Dozer, who actually bumped his head on the lintel of the meeting room door as he strode into the room, agreed that outlaw is the term the government uses to describe a criminal organization, a street gang. Consequently, the media gravitates to that description in their coverage.
Where does it come from?
The media hasn’t helped much; movies are exploitive, playing up the violent image of men and women who never were, doing things that sprouted from the head of a B-grade script writer, only to be later described in criminal narratives by law men writing dubious probable cause affidavits.
“If I was to change anything in the media today,” said Sartelle, I would say update your information.” Most law enforcement manuals are written for the last quarter of the previous century.
“It’s not 1975 anymore.”
And then he dropped the bomb shell.
“I don’t think the police are against us.” He let that sink in. “It’s the federal officers.”
State indictments refer to Bandidos chapters as “criminal street gangs;” federal charges refer to them as outlaw motorcycle organizations, outfits that engage in an ongoing racketeering enterprise.
That’s not really true, according to the board of this 501 3C non-profit corporation.
Both descriptions are far astray of the ancient legal meaning, that of a person declared out-law – that is, beyond the protection of the law, to be killed on sight by law-abiding folks, for the protection of their own lives.
Going around the table, most of the men report they are retired from outfits such as Amoco, BP, and other petroleum refining outfits.
Though they aren’t “BOI” – born on island – most are members of the local Galveston Bandidos Chapter.
The meeting room at the Doubletree Hilton grows quiet; men gaze into the mid-distance above their heads.
There are six questions agreed upon going into the interview.
- What are the Bandidos?
- Talk to me about the issue of “club territories.”
- There is an elephant in the room, the “new” club in town.
- Waco. What about the lawyer bailing out on a member scheduled to go on trial as the first defendant to face justice for the vague charge of engaging in Organized Criminal Activity?
- What about a rumored recent exodus of members from your club?
- How about membership now? Are there new trends to discuss?
The answers to those questions may be heard in Bill Sartelle’s own words by listening to the audio interview.
There are two issues to correct in previous coverage.
First, Wesley Dale Mason, 39, of Abilene, who is charged with the shotgun murder of Kinfolk MC member Dusty Childress, is neither an ex-Bandido, nor a current member of the Bandidos, he is merely inactive, according to a National Secretary. Said Bill Sartelle, “He has not participated in any club business for quite some time.
Mason pled out to assisting in the disposal of the body of a man murdered in a dispute, Carey Rod Tate, for which he received 8 years deferred adjudication and a thousand dollar fine. In return, he enjoyed dismissed charges for stabbing a member of the Cossacks Motorycycle Club outside a Logan’s Steakhouse in Abilene, part of the rumored war.
Second, an earlier announcement that all four men indicted with the 2006 murder of an Austin man in a rumored dispute over recruitment by Hells Angels is not correct.
One is still a Bandido. He is behind bars.
“We still support our brothers, whether they are behind bars, or not,” said Sartelle.
And then he fixed The Legendary with a very serious expression and an intent stare from behind the lenses of his horn-rimmed glasses.
“We will not support a brother who has been arrested for dealing in narcotics…That is an offense from which there is no appeal to any court.”
One makes a mental remark of his earlier words: “We are a bunch of guys who like to ride motorcycles.”
It’s a straightforward answer to a forthright question, answered in the clearest of terms.