The president of the Bandidos motorcycle club was sentenced to 20 months in prison Friday in a deal that will allow him to retain his position in the organization.

George Wegers, 54, was one of 32 people in Washington, Montana and South Dakota indicted last year as federal officials raided the Bellingham-based gang.

Members were accused of conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering, violent crime in aid of racketeering, and drug and weapons offenses. Wegers pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering. Eighteen Bandidos defendants have pleaded guilty in all.

In the agreement, Wegers acknowledged encouraging his co-defendants to tamper with a witness and to traffic in stolen motorcycles.

Wegers has already served 15 months since his arrest in June 2005. When he is released, he will face a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release, during which he will be allowed to attend Bandidos events but cannot have contact with any co-defendants.

Wegers'lawyers said the sentence showed that the original charges were overblown.

"He was looking at life in prison. Today, he's looking at a sentence of 20 months,"said attorney Jeffrey Lustick.

At the time of the bust, the Bandidos had about 170 chapters in 14 countries, including 90 in the U.S. and 14 in Washington state. Membership was estimated at 2,400 bikers, all of whom must ride Harley-Davidson bikes.

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