Bandidos Motorcycle Club is now in the Philippines and Worldwide
Motto “We are the people our parents warned us about”
Location San Leon, Texas
Founder Donald Eugene Chambers
Type Outlaw motorcycle club
The Bandidos Motorcycle Club, also known as the Bandido Nation, is a “one-percenter” motorcycle gang and organized crime syndicate with a worldwide membership. The club was formed in 1966 by Don Chambers in Texas. Its motto is We are the people our parents warned us about. It is estimated to have 2,400 members in 210 chapters, located in 16 countries. The club considers itself to be an Outlaw Motorcycle Club. The Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada have named the Bandidos an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
The club was formed on March 4, 1966 in San Leon, Texas by Donald Eugene Chambers. Many people think Chambers named his club the Bandidos after seeing a TV commercial with the Frito Bandito enthusiastically promoting Fritos corn chips. This is not true, as the cartoon came out in 1968 (although he did adopt an obese machete- and pistol-wielding Mexican Bandido as the center patch for the club’s colors). Don Chambers, having served in Vietnam as a Marine,modeled the club’s colors after the scarlet and gold motif of the United States Marine Corps. After Chambers’ presidency ended due to his conviction for murder in El Paso, Texas, Ronnie “Seneca” Hodge was elevated to president.
The Bandidos has over 90 chapters in the United States, 90 chapters in Europe, and another 17 in Australia and Southeast Asia. In the United States, the club is concentrated in Texas, but extends into Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and several other states. The Rock Machine Motorcycle club in Canada merged with the Bandidos in 2000; there was a chapter in Toronto, Ontario until a dramatic internal conflict led to their deaths. The Bandidos are also found in Australia; aside from the non-locale-specific Nomads chapter, the chapters are located in Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane (Bayside, Centro, City), Byron Bay, Cairns, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hunter Valley, Ipswich, Melbourne, Mid North Coast, Mid State, Mission Beach, Noosa, North Victoria, Northside, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, and Toowoomba, and were acquired with much bloodletting. In recent years the club has also expanded heavily into Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, France and the Channel Islands. Additionally, it is looking into setting up shop in Russia and Eastern Europe and also in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The Bandidos are organized by local chapters, with state and regional officers, as well as a national chapter made up of four regional vice presidents and a national president.
Like the Hells Angels, The Bandidos also have a number of puppet, or so-called “support,” clubs, who are used as proxies for both legal and illegal activities. These groups usually wear reverse colors (gold border with red background rather than the Bandidos’ red-border–and–gold background). They also commonly wear a unique patch (known as the “Heart Patch”) consisting of a round patch in Bandidos colors on the front upper left of the colors (vest), as worn by the member. Most of these clubs are regional.