GREAT FALLS- A standoff between police and members of the Bandidos motorcycle gang ended peacefully Tuesday with the arrests of 11 bikers, two of them on charges of kidnapping and assault with a weapon.
The other nine were charged with accountability to kidnapping, including one also charged with carrying a concealed weapon - a large knife.
Police Lt. Jere Carpenter said this was the first time the city had experienced a biker gang conflict on this scale.
"Montana is a Bandido state - not a Kinsmen state and not a Hells Angels state," said Sgt. Jeff Beecroft.
"The (Bandidos) gang was unhappy that the Kinsmen gang was showing its colors," Carpenter said of what appeared to be a turf battle.
The incident began when members of the Bandidos entered a welding-motorcycle shop and abducted a member of the Kinsmen and demanded his colors - the defining patches worn to identify gangs.
Carpenter said Dale Granmo, 47, of Missoula, and Aaron Wise, 32, of Kalispell, forced the store owner into a pickup truck, demanding that he drive to his house and give up his colors. The man escaped unharmed by stomping on the brakes and hoping out of the moving truck.
After those two Bandidos were arrested, and a weapon was recovered, a subsequent search of the store turned up six hidden guns.
Carpenter said the Bandidos told police they were here on their way home from a rally in Wyoming. Many of them were from the Seattle area, he said.
Police, Cascade County sheriff's deputies, FBI agents and U.S. Customs officers assisted.
"We had every available officer," Carpenter said. "You almost have to with something of this magnitude."
The members of the Bandidos were to appear in Justice Court on Wednesday to face formal charges.