Cali Sheriff Busted Riding With a Gang

Felipe Sanchez /
Felipe Sanchez /

Signing up to wear a badge and be a member of law enforcement comes with some significant strings attached to it. Much like serving your country in the military, you agree to give up certain rights you have by being a private citizen. One of those rights is associating with anyone you want to or joining a gang. One San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy learned this lesson the hard way.

Back in January, the department began to get suspicious of Deputy Christopher Bingham. A former gun shop owner, firearms expert, and motorcycle enthusiast had raised a few red flags over the years, and his fellow officers had been watching him. On March 23rd, the 45-year-old from Twentynine Palms, CA, was spotted riding with known members of the Mongols, a well-known outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG). When stopped, Bingham was found to be carrying an unregistered Glock 9mm and told them he was “law enforcement.”

As The San Bernardino Sun explains, he made it easy to know the man was a full Mongol member once arrested.

“At the jail, the source said, Bingham was again searched. He wore a T-shirt that read, “(Expletive) the 81!” The number “81” is a nickname for the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club, a longtime rival of the Mongols. Also on the T-shirt were the initials “SYLM,” which stands for “Support Your Local Mongols.” Bingham also was wearing a ring — with the black letter “M” on it — that hung from a chain around his neck, according to the source.”

Later that same day, authorities searched his residence. Uncovering 160 firearms, including at least one illegally modified semi-automatic rifle that was now capable of full auto. More surprisingly, it had a grenade launcher attached to it, a stolen law enforcement Remington 870 shotgun, and a heavily modified AR-15. A massive trove of Mongol apparel was also uncovered in the search.

News like this not only makes the San Bernadino Sheriff’s office look bad, but it flies right in the face of traditional OMG code. Cops and outlaws rarely came together, with the cat-and-mouse game they have frequently going on people like Bingham put both at risk. Whoever his higher-ups are, both in and out of the uniform, will have a lot to answer for on this one.