A member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club testified Thursday at a racketeering trial in San Antonio federal court that several Bandidos beat him and gashed his head with a claw hammer in North Texas when he refused to take off his biker vest.
Arthur David Young, 39, survived the March 22, attack at the Bar-B truck stop in Gordon in Palo Pinto County, between Abilene and Fort Worth. Young, who worked in the oil fields, said he had to have 12 staples to close the gashes, and the beating left him with headaches and affects his equilibrium.
“It felt like hours, but it only took seconds,” Young said of the assault. “They ended up with my cut (vest).”
The government alleges the Bandidos’ then-vice president John Xavier Portillo, who is on trial with then-president Jeffrey Fay Pike, had declared war on the Cossacks shortly before the attack on Young.
Young said his Harley-Davidson Fat Boy ran out of gas during a ride with his girlfriend to a lake, and he pushed the motorcycle about a mile to the truck stop. He had on his Cossacks vest, which had a patch on the bottom part of the back saying “Texas,” which is widely considered the Bandidos Motorcycle Club’s home and territory.
While his girlfriend paid for gas inside, Young pumped fuel and watched two pickups pull in near him, and a car race up within inches behind his motorcycle. Angry, Young said he was going to confront the car driver.
“I looked up, and seen what I seen and I stepped back,” Young said. “I seen the Bandits. The Bandidos.”
Young said he was surrounded by 10 to 15 men wearing Bandidos vests or T-shirts. One told Young to take off his vest.
“I just shook my head,” Young testified, adding he refused. “It’s mine. I’m not taking it off for nobody.”
He stood between a gas pump and his motorcycle, but worried when he saw some of them head toward the truck stop where his girlfriend was.
“I went around my bike, and that’s when I took blow No. 1 to the head from the claw part of the hammer and I fell to ground,” he said. He was hit with the hammer again, and punched and kicked while on the ground and was met with a third hammer blow as he tried to get up.
His assailants kicked and punched him, as they tried to yank the vest off him, he testified.
“I ended up underneath one of the pickups trying to get away from them,” Young said. “I was trying to (hide). I grabbed an oil or grease spot, and my hand slipped and they pulled me out. That’s when it all came off. They yanked the cut off me.”
They also took his hat, bandanna, and the knife he had in a hip holster, Young said.
Young was bloodied and lost consciousness on the way to the hospital.
In cross-examination, Portillo’s lead lawyer, Mark Stevens, and Pike’s lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, both argued that Young’s assailants were not Bandidos but members of the Villistas Motorcycle Club.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Chad Lloyd testified that the Villistas are a support club of the Bandidos. He added that one of two cell phones recovered at the scene and a wiretap of Portillo’s phone helped investigators identify three possible suspects — two members of the Bandidos chapter in the Texas panhandle and a Villistas member from San Angelo.
No one has been charged specifically in the assault, however.
Lloyd testified that wiretap recordings in October 2015, which were played for jurors, appear to show Portillo referencing the attack on Young. The agent also alleged the recordings implicate Portillo in sanctioning attacks to expand the Bandidos’ power.
As part of his cross-examination of the agent, Stevens disputed Lloyd’s interpretation.
Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra ended the proceedings early because the next witness wasn’t available Thursday.