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Archive for July 24th, 2007

1 Percent’r

Publisher Constable & Robinson - Photo courtesy Edward WinterhalderThe Bandidos Motorcycle Club is a 40-year-old club, which has 170 chapters in the U.S. and 15 other countries. Though its leader lived in Bellingham, the Bandidos have always been considered a Texas enterprise, where it was formed in 1966 by defiant Vietnam veteran Don Chambers.

The late and first founder Don Chambers, went up for a double murder in ’72. The second, [and late] Ronnie Hodge, went to federal prison for conspiracy to commit murder with a bomb. James Lang, the third president went to jail for drugs, he’s still in. Craig Johnston, the forth, went to jail for drugs. He’s getting out next year, but he’s got health problems. Which leaves the current George Wegers. Appointed in 1998 by club leaders to president of the 2,400-member Bandidos MC.

The Bandidos have been prominent in the Northwest. Of 90 U.S. chapters, 14 are in Washington. There are more than 50 patched members in Bellingham, Bremerton, Wenatchee, Everett, Mount Vernon, Tacoma, the Tri-Cities, and Yakima. (Most outlaw clubs allow patched members to have puppet members, a group of budding club bikers who swell the ranks well beyond the official count.) There are three chapters in the Seattle area alone.

Ultimately nabbed in a 19-count indictment, el presidente, George Wegers and 27 other Bandidos and associates were paraded into federal in the summer of 2006, later striking plea deals. Most were bearded and balding, some were in their 60s. They look like a bunch of ol’ grandpas. Wegers has heart problems and high blood pressure and regularly saw three different doctors. Divorced, with a grown son, two grandkids, and other family in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

A former cohort, ex-Bandidos national officer Edward Winterhalder, has written the above book about the club, says Wegers thought the Bandidos needed more members who simply were “men of respect, not pieces of shit.”

So, the next time you see the colorful patches the outlaw motorcycle clubs wear…think again about what goes on inside the motorcycle gangs.

Book Info: Contributing Author: Edward Winterhalder; Published By Constable & Robinson (England); Distributed By Carroll & Graf (New York); Edited By Australian Motorcycle Club Authority Dr. Arthur Veno.

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