Brawl at bar in Texas led to assault charge
On Friday the Santa Fe Police SWAT team arrested the Santa Fe chapter president of the Bandidos motorcycle club on allegations he participated in a fight at a wedding party in Texas.
Lucas Miller, 29, is in the Santa Fe jail, held on one count of aggravated assault and two counts of engaging in criminal activity (assault). Miller will be extradited to Texas to face the charges, said Santa Fe Police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt.
The fight occurred on Aug. 18 at the Stagecoach Saloon in El Paso, according to Westervelt. She said there was a wedding party at the bar when the 36-year-old groom, his 61-year-old father and his mother, who is in her late 50s, were assaulted by several members of the Bandidos. Westervelt said she did not know what the fight was about, but the motorcyclists appeared to be the aggressors. The victims in the case were not members of another motorcycle club.
During the fight the groom’s father was knocked to the ground and one of the bikers stepped on his face. This broke the man’s cheekbone and caused a head injury. He was transported to the hospital along with the groom’s mother; both are expected to recover.
Santa Fe police got involved because of a local investigator who is knowledgeable about the outlaw biker gang.
“Bandidos are his specialty,” Westervelt said.
The investigator identified Miller from a video of the assault. Westervelt shared a picture of Miller’s vest, which has a patch that says “president.” Westervelt said Miller is a top-ranking official in the club.
“It’s a big deal for us that he’s off the streets,” she said.
Miller has just three prior cases in New Mexico, all for speeding, according to an online court records database. Each case was dismissed for failure to prosecute.
The SWAT team arrested Miller at his home without incident.
The Bandidos are considered by federal authorities to be a worldwide organized crime syndicate. The FBI designated them as one of the “Big Four” outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in the United States, alongside Hell’s Angels, the Pagans and the Outlaws.
The Bandidos are not sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association.
Members are often referred to as “one percenters” and sometimes wear “1%” patches on their jackets. The implication is that they are not among the 99 percent of motorcyclists who are law-abiding citizens, according to a statement that has been attributed to the American Motorcyclist Association, though the AMA claims to have no record of making the statement.
The SWAT team included officers from El Paso, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, the U.S. Marshals, the FBI and the state Department of Public Safety. In addition to Miller, officers arrested David Zamora, Nicholas Derry and Ruben Zavala, all from El Paso, and Christopher Brito of Albuquerque. Westervelt said they also are members of the Bandidos.
Westervelt said police do not believe the assault is related to other recent activity involving the Bandidos, most notably a concern in Albuquerque that the Bandidos were about to have a turf war with the Vagos motorcycle club.