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High-ranking Bandidos Motorcycle Club member escaped Denver court at sentencing hearing

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 18:57:18-05

DENVER – One of the highest-ranking members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club cut off his ankle monitor and escaped from Denver District Court in late October just before he was sentenced on racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

Philip Duran, also known as “Bandido Fee,” 42, who is the National Sergeant at Arms with the Bandidos, escaped from court Oct. 28.

He was about to be sentenced, along with another Sergeant at Arms, Michael Mensen, and the Denver Westside Chapter President, Lorenzo Sojo.

The three were targeted as being the heads of a large drug distribution network that transported and sold drugs and guns across the western U.S., then laundered their money.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office and Metro Gang Task Force had been investigating the Bandidos gang and its criminal activity since Sept. 2014 in the sting, dubbed “Operation Tick & Flea Collar.” They used wiretaps and other investigation methods to put their cases together.

All three men had already pleaded guilty to violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and felony drug charges.

Duran escaped custody just before his sentencing, but Sojo was sentenced to 20 years in prison and Mensen was sentenced to 24 years.

A warrant has been issued for Duran’s arrest, and Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

It’s unclear exactly how Duran managed to escape custody at the courthouse. National Sergeant at Arms is among the highest rankings one can receive in a motorcycle club. Those in that position are often tasked with keeping members in line during meetings and activities, but also keeping their members safe from outside threats and law enforcement.

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