Twelve Aryan Circle members are among 24 people indicted on gun, drugs and violent crime charges in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi, in federal probe of the violent white supremacist prison gang
- Two dozen people were indicted in federal courts in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi on Wednesday
- Half are alleged members of violent white supremacist prison gang Aryan Circle
- They face charges of racketeering conspiracy, violent crimes in the aid of racketeering, drug conspiracy and unlawful firearms trafficking
- The AC is a violent, race-based organization established in Texas in the 1980s
Twelve alleged members of white supremacist prison gang Aryan Circle have been indicted in three states on charges related to shootings, stabbings and killings, according to the Justice Department.
Five indictments were unsealed on Wednesday in Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi, charging a total of 24 people with racketeering conspiracy, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, drug conspiracy, and unlawful firearms trafficking.
The indictments are a result of a wider federal investigation dubbed Operation Noble Virtue targeting the group white supremacist group.
Prosecutors allege AC members committed various crimes in at least 11 states, including Texas, Arkansas, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. All but one is in custody.
The gang is a violent, race-based organization that was started in the mid-1980s within the Texas state prison system.
In recent years, the Aryan Circle’s influence has grown beyond prisons to rural and suburban areas in various states, according to prosecutors.
According to one of the three indictments in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, alleged gang members are accused of selling illegal drugs and high-powered weapons, including AR-15 rifles, to fund the organization’s illegal activities.
Prosecutors also allege that gang members used violence to run their operations, including killing fellow and rival gang members.
The criminal acts charged in the indictments include shootings, stabbings, beatings, and ‘patch-burnings,’ which are violent attacks that result in removal of a victim’s gang tattoo.
In July 2014, Aryan Circle gang members in a federal prison in Pollock, Louisiana, allegedly stabbed a fellow gang member about 40 times for selling a television remote to a rival gang for drugs, according to one of the Texas indictments.
The indictment also detailed allegations that gang members were killed over various disputes, including whether ex-members who had been removed from the gang could be contacted.
The investigation, which was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is part of an operation against the Aryan Circle that has led to 17 previous federal convictions.
Although much of the Aryan Circle’s criminal activities are profit-driven, the gang has also committed hate crimes in and out of prisons, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
In November 2019, Texas authorities executed Aryan Circle member Justen Hall for strangling a woman.
Hall also confessed to fatally shooting 28-year-old transgender woman in April 2002. El Paso police investigated the killing as a hate crime.
ARYAN CIRCLE LEADERS CHARGED IN OPERATION NOBLE VIRTUE
AC MEMBERS CHARGED:
- William Glenn Chunn, aka ‘Big Head,’ 38, of Texas.
- Michael Martin, aka ‘Aryan Prodigy,’ aka ‘AP,’ 37, of Texas.
- Kevin Kent, aka ‘Big Kev,’ 35, of Indiana.
- Malachi David Wren, 51, of Texas.
- Unnamed defendant at large.
ALLEGED AC MEMBERS CHARGED:
- Jesse Paul Blankenship, aka ‘JP,’ 39, of Missouri.
- Timothy Long, aka ‘Timmy,’ 41, of Arkansas.
- Jeremy Chad Dennis, aka ‘JD,’ 43, of Texas.
- Becky Westbrook, 49, of Mississippi.
- Rodney Holt, aka ‘Turbo,’ 48, of Texas.
- Bobby Dayle Boney, aka ‘Bear,’ 50, of Texas.
- Glynnwood Derrick, 46, of Texas.