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Top Leaders Of Bandidos Biker Gang Indicted

Waco Police Department
The Bandidos accusations focus on a rivalry with the Cossacks gang that came under renewed attention in May, when a meeting of biker groups in Waco ended in gunfire that left nine people dead.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: indictments in an ongoing Texas biker rivalry; the Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland is charged with perjury; PETA honors the McKinney Fire Department; and more.

National leaders of the Bandidos biker gang have been indicted on charges accusing them of racketeering and waging a deadly "war" on the rival Cossacks gang. The indictment was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Antonio. The accusations focus on a rivalry that came under renewed attention in May, when a meeting of biker groups in Waco ended in gunfire that left nine people dead. The indictment accuses John Portillo, the Bandidos' national vice president, of using dues and donations to pay legal expenses of its members days after the Waco shooting. Portillo, national president Jeffrey Pike and national sergeant-at-arms Justin Cole Forster are charged with racketeering, drug distribution and other crimes. The indictment also says they sanctioned killings. A Bandidos representative couldn't immediately be reached. [Associated Press]

  • A Texas trooper has been charged with perjury related to the Sandra Bland traffic stop. The Texas Tribune reports: “A Waller County grand jury has indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a perjury charge, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed Wednesday. The panel met Wednesday to continue considering charges in connection with the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, after deciding in December not to indict anyone for her death. Bland, a black woman from Illinois, was found hanged in a Waller County Jail cell on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death, ruled a suicide, galvanized loved ones, social justice organizations and critics across the country, raising questions about race and policing, jail safety standards and mental health awareness.” [Texas Tribune]

  • GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio appeared in Dallas Wednesday afternoon. KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports: “His aim was not at the crowded field of Republicans he has to beat to win his party’s nomination in the coming months. Instead, he aimed his fire at the Democratic front-runner. He does not care for Hillary Clinton. … Rubio attacked President Obama with equal vigor, and vowed that on day one he’d roll back every executive action Obama’s taken. … Rubio did not call out other Republicans by name, even though he’s been sparring in recent days with fellow Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz has blasted Rubio for being inconsistent on immigration. Rubio helped draft a reform bill in 2013 that would have created a pathway to citizenship for people in the country illegally. But times, he said, have changed.”

  • New video of the tornado that hit Garland and Rowlett has been released. The Dallas Morning News reports: “The video was collected from five cameras the NTTA has posted near the intersection, all of which were being monitored as the storm approached. NTTA spokesman Michael Rey says the video was withheld from the public’s view until the Texas Department of Public Safety concluded its investigation. But that didn’t take long: Trooper Lonny Haschel says when it was determined the fatalities weren’t the result of crashes, the investigation was turned over to Garland police. Barineau says that investigation is ongoing.” [The Dallas Morning News]

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.