HOUSTON – Thirty-four alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang (ABT), including four of its most senior leaders, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. These arrests were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the FBI; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and other agencies.
The 17-count superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Oct. 22, 2012, and unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. Fourteen individuals were taken into custody today, and 15 defendants charged in the superseding indictment are already in custody. Five defendants remain at large.
"Today’s takedown represents a devastating blow to the leadership of ABT," said Breuer. "Four ABT generals, 13 additional alleged ABT leaders and numerous other gang members and associates are named in the indictment. As charged, ABT uses extreme violence and threats of violence to maintain internal discipline and retaliate against those believed to be cooperating with law enforcement. Through violence and intimidation, ABT allegedly exerts control over prison populations and neighborhoods, and instills fear in those who come in contact with its members. As today’s operations show, the Criminal Division, working closely with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners, is determined to continue disrupting and dismantling ABT and other violent, criminal gangs."
"This indictment is the culmination of a joint federal, state and local law enforcement effort targeting a large-scale prison gang involved in violent organized crime," said Magidson. "Only when we work in partnership utilizing all our resources can we attack a criminal organization and dismantle it entirely."
"ATF is serious about fighting violent crime. We remain steadfast in our commitment to focus on those violent criminals who illegally use firearms to prey on their victims," said Special Agent in Charge Melvin D. King of the ATF. "Through a collective effort with our law enforcement partners this operation was a success today."
"This multi-year investigation and indictment clearly targets the worst-of-the-worst among the ABT," said Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI. "This effort not only exemplifies the level of effort the FBI and our law enforcement partners will expend to prevent prison gang racism and criminal activity from poisoning our communities. It sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these criminal enterprises regardless of where they lay their heads."
As charged, the defendants range from senior leaders to soldiers of the ABT, a "whites only," prison-based gang with members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and elsewhere in the United States since at least the early 1980s.
According to court documents, the ABT has a detailed and uniform organizational structure, with territory divided into five regions, each run by a "general." The following four generals were charged, by superseding indictment, with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT, among other charges: Terry Ross Blake, 55, aka "Big Terry," Larry Max Bryan, 51, aka "Slick," William David Maynard, 42, aka "Baby Huey," and Charles Lee Roberts, 68, aka "Jive."
In total, the superseding indictment charges 34 alleged members of the ABT with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT. Alleged members of the ABT are also charged with their involvement in three murders, multiple attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.
According to the superseding indictment, the ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system. The gang modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s. According to court documents, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism. Over time, the ABT is alleged to have expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.
Court documents allege the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise. Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as "direct orders."
According to the superseding indictment, in order to be considered for membership, a person must be sponsored by another ABT member. Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.
Ten defendants have been charged with offenses that are eligible for the death penalty. The remaining 24 defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the following agencies: ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, HSI, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Office of Inspector General. The following local law enforcement agencies are also assisting with this investigation: sheriff’s offices in Harris, Montgomery, Orange, Tarrant, Atascosa and Waller counties; police departments in Houston, Baytown, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Carrollton and Alvin; and district attorney’s offices in Harris, Montgomery, Atascosa and Kaufman counties.
The case is being prosecuted by David Karpel of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman of the Southern District of Texas.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.