Two Belle Chasse men affiliated with the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang were arrested last week on kidnapping, second-degree battery, false imprisonment, methamphetamine manufacturing and weapons charges, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Lonnie Greco announced Thursday.
Gregory Blanchard, 37, and Michael Hahn, 30, both of the 100 block of East Walker Road, ran the LA Riders – Plaquemines Parish Chapter, an affiliated support motorcycle club of the Bandidos, officials said. Bandidos members use their clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises, such as drug and weapon trafficking, according to national and local authorities.
Blanchard’s wife, Amanda Blanchard, 33, also was booked on a charge of operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab. Gregory Blanchard is the president of the LA Riders – Plaquemines Parish Chapter and Hahn is the chapter’s sergeant-at-arms, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Bandidos in part “are involved in production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine,” along with transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal authorities say the group in part works by “members of supporting clubs, known as ‘puppet’ or ‘duck’ club members” who “have sworn allegiance to another club but who support and do the ‘dirty work’ of the mother club.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Eric Becnel said on Thursday that the department has been coordinating with federal and state agencies this week to share information on the Bandidos gang and that the sheriff waited to release information on their arrests until Thursday to prevent jeopardizing that ongoing investigation.
Blanchard and Hahn in part are accused of kidnapping and beating Blanchard’s 18-year-old nephew on Sept. 17.
Earlier that day, Blanchard’s nephew, whose name was being withheld by authorities fearing reprisals by other affiliated Bandidos gang members, was helping a man, David Bruce, 38, a few blocks down Walker Road – a remote area of Belle Chasse – with some automotive work.
Bruce confronted the teenager about being high on the synthetic marijuana Mojo and when Bruce called Blanchard about it, Blanchard said he’d come over and resolve the matter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The nephew then called the Sheriff’s Office in fear for his safety. As the 18-year-old waited for deputies, Blanchard and Michael Hahn arrived, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Blanchard punched his nephew three times in the face, causing him to fall to the ground, and Hahn kicked him in the stomach, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
They then forced him into a barn, where he was tied to a chair and eventually strangled by Bruce until he lost consciousness, according to what the nephew later told authorities. Bruce, who is wearing a firefighter polo shirt in his booking photo, is a volunteer firefighter with the David Crockett Fire Department in Gretna, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
When a deputy arrived, Bruce told the officer that he was at the wrong place and sent him to another site, according to the Sheriff’s Office. However, the deputy persisted and eventually found the victim in the barn.
The three men said Blanchard’s nephew had a drug-induced seizure from smoking the synthetic marijuana. The nephew first went along with that story, later telling sheriff’s officials that he feared retaliation if he told the truth, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
But the next day, Thursday, Sept. 18, the victim discussed the beating with authorities, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
When detectives went to interview Blanchard on Friday, Sept. 19, they found possible evidence of a methamphetamine laboratory. After investigators with the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division obtained a search warrant for Blanchard’s residence, they collected items commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators also seized two pistols and two assault rifles, one of which was sawed-off.
Both Blanchard and Hahn were booked on charges of simple kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree battery, operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab and possession of firearms with a controlled dangerous substance. Hahn also was booked on a charge of possession of a sawed-off rifle.
Bruce was booked on a second-degree battery charge.
Investigators also learned that Blanchard’s residence was commonly occupied by Lyndsey Fannin, 33, Brandon Franklin, 19, and Amanda Blanchard, 33. Each of them was booked on a charge of operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab.