By Day, He Was a Deputy. After Hours, a 'Double Life'

California sheriff's deputy accused of participating in local biker gang, possessing illegal firearms
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2024 12:30 PM CDT
Deputy Accused of Riding With 'Outlaw Motorcycle Gang'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Jose Gulias Trigas)

Christopher Bingham's day job was punching in as a deputy for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. For years, he also moonlighted as a gun shop owner in the city of Twentynine Palms. But authorities now say his daily activities stretched beyond both of those, and that he lived "a double life that was complicated and illicit," reports the Los Angeles Times. What he was doing in his off-hours, according to his own employer: fraternizing with a local "Outlaw Motorcycle Gang," per a release from the sheriff's office.

The release lays out how law enforcement started a probe in January and discovered that he "rode and socialized" with the bike gang. Then, he was spotted on March 23 cruising down the street on his bike with two OMG members. Investigators, assisted by the California Highway Patrol, pulled Bingham over, where it was discovered he had a loaded, unregistered weapon on him, the release notes. Bingham was arrested and booked, and he was released on $10,000 bail the next day, reports the Desert Sun. But his troubles weren't over yet: A search warrant executed at his residence turned up about 160 firearms, including "a fully automatic assault rifle, with an attached grenade launcher," per the release.

Investigators also say they unearthed silencers, a stolen handgun from the sheriff's department, gang swag, and various "destructive devices." Bingham, 45, was arrested Thursday at a home in Twentynine Palms and is being held on $500,000 bail. He was charged with 10 felonies, including grand theft of a firearm, possession of a machine gun, and participation in a criminal street gang. Those charges are all enhanced due to the gang affiliation. Bingham has a court date set for Monday. "The actions of this deputy are alarming and inexcusable," said Sheriff Shannon Dicus. "He not only tarnishes his badge but also undermines the integrity and credibility of the entire department." (More motorcycle gang stories.)

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