ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months after a deadly shooting in Red River, New Mexico, a court document reveals the feds are looking into alleged members and supporters of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. New Mexico State Police have previously connected the club to the shooting that killed two individuals and injured six. But the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) says there’s more to it than a single shooting – some motorcycle club members have called it a “war” between clubs. “It’s a gang mentality that violence or that cause of violence that they a is a rivalry they had with the Mongols, really law enforcement is just getting the way of what it is of what they are trying to do that exist and will continue to exist as long as the Mongols think New Mexico is a place they want to be,” said FBI Albuquerque Field Office Special Agent in charge, Raul Bujanda.
In an affidavit filed in federal court, an FBI agent asked a judge for a warrant to search the homes of 25 Bandidos, three of whom were arrested.
The effort to round up suspects comes after intel from more than a dozen state and federal agencies helped the FBI focus on addresses in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Belen, Tome, Grants, Gallup, Farmington, San Rafael, Hobbs, Capitan, Arabela, Ruidoso, and Alamogordo.
The FBI investigation dates back to 2020 when the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office warned the FBI about a “potential ‘war’ between two rival motorcycle clubs in Albuquerque,” the FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. The police intel claimed that the Mongols Motorcycle Club was stockpiling guns and surveilling members of the Bandidos, which had been the dominating club in New Mexico, according to the FBI agent. The FBI says this rivalry goes back years and that some Mongols were former Bandidos who were thrown out of the club.
Law enforcement acted on that intel back in 2020, arresting a Mongols member and collecting several firearms. But over the years, several Mongols-Bandidos encounters ensued, leaving people injured and shot in both New Mexico and Texas, the FBI agent says in the affidavit. The buildup culminated in the May 2023 Red River shooting, where several Bandidos confronted a group called the Water Dogs Motorcycle Club over whether they had allegiance to the Bandidos or the Mongols, the FBI says.
“When Red River happened that was the wake up up call of everyone the request of New Mexico State Police police our old friend Tim Johnson and support of our new chief Troy Weesler we decided to go and form the task force,” said Raul Bujanda, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque field office.
Over the past three and a half years, the FBI counts 11 people dead in connection to the motorcycle clubs’ interactions. Now, the FBI is targeting the “most aggressive proponents” of the violence. “New Mexicans will not standby while motorcycle gangs, cartel; or criminals terrorize our neighborhoods and our communities, there will be consequences and today showed that,” said New Mexico Sate Police Chief, Troy Weisler.
Executing search warrants on properties around New Mexico, the FBI is hoping to mitigate violence by Bandidos, seize weapons, investigate unsolved crimes that may be tied to Bandidos, and put offenders behind bars, according to the FBI affidavit.
The FBI says there are about 75-100 Bandidos across New Mexico and say they expect to continue cracking down on their activity as they work to gather more intel. Three people were taken into custody for being felons in possession of a firearm. More arrests and charges could come from the information they gathered Thursday.