Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bandido MC Leaders headed to Prison

Three leaders in the Bandidos motorcycle club headed to prison

DENVER, CO ( November 22, 2016) —Three leaders of the Bandidos motorcycle club face prison time after pleading guilty to selling methamphetamine and loaded firearms to other states, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.

Philip Duran, 42, aka “Bandido Fee”; Michael Mensen, 46, aka “Bandido Tick”; and Lorenzo Sojo, 41, pleaded guilty to violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act — Pattern of Racketeering and felony drug charges, the attorney general’s office said in a news release.

Sojo, president of the Bandidos Denver Westside Chapter, was sentenced to 20 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Mensen, a Bandidos national sergeant at arms, was sentenced to 24 years in prison, according to the news release.

From left, Philip Duran, Michael Mensen and Lorenzo Sojo
Provided by Colorado Attorney General

Duran, who also served as a national sergeant at arms, cut his ankle bracelet and fled just before his sentencing hearing. He is considered armed and dangerous, the attorney general said.

A warrant has been issued for Duran’s arrest, and Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

It’s unclear exactly how Duran managed to escape custody at the courthouse. National Sergeant at Arms is among the highest rankings one can receive in a motorcycle club. Those in that position are often tasked with keeping members in line during meetings and activities, but also keeping their members safe from outside threats and law enforcement.

An investigation into the Bandidos criminal activity began in September 2014 when the Attorney General’s Office and the Metro Gang Task Force began surveillance of high-ranking members suspected of large-scale drug distribution. Investigators used a wire tap as part of the surveillance.

Colorado Bandidos Motorcycle Club Members

The three Bandidos conspired to distribute narcotics and collect the proceeds from mid-level drug dealers, the news release said. They also imported several pounds of methamphetamine from California and attempted to send loaded firearms to Las Vegas through various shipping services, the attorney general said.

They used banks and other money transfer services to launder their drug proceeds.