4 BAN­DI­DOS IN­DICTED IN AUSTIN MAN’S 2006 SLAY­ING

Mem­bers of mo­tor­cy­cle club held in shoot­ing at Austin restau­rant.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Katie Hall and Philip Jankowski khall@states­man.com pjankowski@states­man.com Con­tact Katie Hall at 512-445-3707. Con­tact Philip Jankowski at 512-445-3702.

Four of the high­est-rank­ing mem­bers of the Ban­di­dos mo­tor­cy­cle club have been in­dicted and ar­rested on charges re­lated to the 2006 killing of a man in Austin, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.

An­thony Be­nesh III, 44, was with his two chil­dren out­side a North­west Austin pizza restau­rant in March 2006 when a sin­gle shot, be­lieved to have been fired from an el­e­vated por­tion of U.S. 183, struck and killed him in a sniper-style at­tack.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the slay­ing was an at­tempt by the Ban­di­dos to pro­tect their turf in Texas. The in­ci­dent high­lighted the club’s con­tin­ued foothold on the state, where it has re­mained a dom­i­nant mo­tor­cy­cle gang for years.

Be­nesh was at­tempt­ing to cre­ate a Texas chap­ter of the Hells An­gels mo­tor­cy­cle gang. He re­ceived mul­ti­ple threat­en­ing voice and text mes­sages in­di­cat­ing that he should stop wear­ing the in­signia of the Hells An­gels while in the state.

After a San An­to­nio fed­eral grand jury re­turned the in­dict­ment, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials ar­rested four peo­ple in Waco and San An­to­nio on Thurs­day. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment:

Johnny Romo (aka “Down­town Johnny”), 47, is charged with mur­der in aid of rack­e­teer­ing and dis­charg­ing a firearm. Romo was a na­tional sergeant at arms of the Ban­di­dos.

Robert Romo, 45, faces the same charges as Johnny Romo. He was a mem­ber of the Ban­di­dos’ San An­to­nio Cen­tro chap­ter.

Jesse James Be­navidez (aka “Kronic”), 40, is charged with dis­charg­ing a firearm dur­ing a mur­der in aid of rack­e­teer­ing. Be­navidez was sergeant at arms of the Ban­di­dos San An­to­nio Cen­tro chap­ter.

Nor­berto Serna Jr. (aka “Ham­mer”), 35, faces the same charges as Be­navidez. He was a mem­ber of the Ban­di­dos San An­to­nio Cen­tro chap­ter.

The new in­dict­ment is part of a larger case the Jus­tice Depart­ment has put to­gether against the Ban­di­dos, in­clud­ing charges against other Ban­di­dos lead­ers fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors say were in­volved in killings in 2002 and 2014 in Atas­cosa County and Fort Worth.

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