Utah - (KUTV) The busy Labor Day Weekend in Southern Utah just got busier for police and sheriffs' departments with the arrival of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
The international biker group is holding its annual rally on private property it rented near Duck Creek Village in Kane County. Anywhere from 500 to 1,000 members are expected to attend the weekend rally, according to the Kane County Sheriff's Department.
Kane County Chief Deputy Tracy Glover says his department has been in touch with the FBI and surrounding law enforcement departments to arrange for increased manpower and extra patrols. Deputies from Iron, Garfield and Washington counties will help keep tabs on the Bandidos.
Glover said he has also been in contact with the organizers of the Bandidos rally and said group confirmed they are coming and that they would keep to themselves and police themselves.
In nearby Cedar City, where bikers will exit Interstate 15 and travel towards the rally site via State Route 14 up Cedar Mountain, members of the Bandidos were already arriving on Thursday afternoon.
"There has been a history with the Bandidos of some criminal activity," said Sgt. Jimmy Roden with the Cedar City Police Department. "Most of the members of the club are law-abiding citizens, so we don't want all to be judged based upon their history. However, we do want the public to be aware."
Roden says because of Cedar City's proximity to the rally, residents should expect to see members of the biker group riding through town, eating at restaurants and staying at hotels.
"Our agencies, as well as all the agencies in Southern Utah, have taken notice of them coming," Sgt. Roden said. "We've prepared with extra manpower, extra resources."
While the motorcycle group calls itself a club, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Attorney's Office frequently refer to the Banditos as an outlaw motorcycle gang with ties to organized crime.
Earlier this month the FBI issued a warning to law enforcement in New Mexico about escalating violence between the Bandidos and rival Vagos motorcycle gang after a series of shootouts in Albuquerque allegedly tied to the groups.
The "situation" report from the FBI said the Vagos and Bandidos "have been reported to open carry firearms in tactical holsters, wear bullet proof vests, and have demonstrated an advanced level of firearms tactics and proficiency in a live fire situation," according to CBS-affiliate KRQE, which obtained the bulletin.
The International Bandidos Motorcycle Club was formed in 1966 in Texas and is estimated to have close to 2,500 members across 16 countries.
The club's motto, "We are the people our parents warned us about," refers to its ties as a "one-percenter" group, a label used by the Bandidos and other motorcycle gangs to signify themselves as outlaws.
The term developed after a group of bikers caused problems during a motorcycle rally in Hollister, California in 1947. Afterwards, the American Motorcyclist Association said 99 percent of the group was law-abiding, with the other one percent causing the problems.
"We don't really anticipate there is going to be any problems with them," Roden said of the Bandidos, adding that he would like to reassure the public that law enforcement is aware of and prepared for the rally.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World.
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