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Feds indict 57 white supremacist gang members in North Texas drug trafficking, kidnapping conspiracy

May 3, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds indict 57 white supremacist gang members in North Texas drug trafficking, kidnapping conspiracy

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Federal officials have charged 57 associates of several white supremacist prison groups in a large drug trafficking and kidnapping conspiracy in North Texas after a join probe was conducted by federal, state and local police agencies.

Officials apprehended 42 of the gang members last week across North Texas, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox revealed on Monday during a press conference.

Nine others were already in custody for separate state charges, and six are still being pursued, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The defendants are tied to several violent and racist prison group, including the Aryan Circle, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Peckerwoods, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture and the Dirty White Boys.

The Dirty White Boys began in 1985 in the Bureau of Prisons, where it was the name of a prison softball team.

“These supremacist gangs have plagued our communities and prisons,” Nealy Cox stated.

The plot to distribute meth cited in the indictment operated between October 2015 through April 2018 and used “stash houses” to stock the drug. The indictment also includes charges tied to heroin, guns, and U-47700, a powerful synthetic opioid also known as “pink.”

Four of the defendants abducted a non-member in January over a $600 drug debt and kept him in Grand Prairie for several days during which they tortured him. They held a firearm to his head and threatened to kill him.

They also struck him on the back of his head with a large wooden object and cut off a portion of his index finger with a hatchet.

Agents seized roughly $376,500 in cash and over 190 kilos of meth along with 31 firearms as part of their bust.

“It is clear that these hate-fueled gangs will do whatever to carry on their drug trafficking business,” Nealy Cox added. “Firearms, body armor, drugs, drug proceeds and unspeakable violence are the tools of their trade.”

The affiliations of the 57 co-conspirators  charged in the North Texas drug ring. Department of Justice

The Texas Department of Public Safety criminal investigations division spearheaded the investigation with assistance from the Texas Anti-Gang Center and Dallas police and the DEA.

“Not only do white supremacists subscribe to a repugnant, hateful ideology, they also engage in significant, organized and violent criminal activity,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Authorities indicated that some defendants also were tied to a Hispanic prison and street gang named Tango Blast. Nealy Cox noted that the defendants’ “criminal ends overcome their racist views when the need arises.”

While the white supremacist gangs identified in the indictment have been known to work with Mexican cartels, the current case doesn’t claim any such connections.

One of the defendants, Joshua David Lane, tried to evade arrest.

The complaint outlines the arrest in detail:

Agents followed Lane to a La Quinta Inn & Suites on Airport Freeway in Euless in November 2017. They had warrants on charges of burglary and motor theft.

They discovered meth and a rifle in the motel room. A stolen pickup truck with two body armor vests and meth was in the parking lot. However, Lane was not present, so authorities waited for him.

Later that day, Lane arrived at the motel in a stolen vehicle with a female passenger.

When Lane parked, he saw agents approaching him. He put the car in reverse and collided with an unmarked patrol vehicle while reaching for something that agents thought could be a gun. A DPS agent opened fire. Lane was treated and booked into the Tarrant County jail on a federal drug charge.

Agents seized a pistol in the front center console, a pistol in the radio compartment and a semi-automatic rifle in the rear floorboard.

At the jail, a DPS agent told the suspect that he would see him later.

“Until next time,” Lane replied.

“Hopefully, there won’t be next time. Stop getting into trouble,” the agent said.

A different agent then stated, “Yeah, you might not survive.”

Lane responded: “You might not, either.”

Agents say they believe Lane was implying that if he faced arrest in the future, he would be willing to employ deadly force.

Another defendant, Nghia Phuoc Tran, has a criminal history stemming back to 1995 that includes six drug convictions. He also was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Tran, a meth user, was apprehended on April 27th. During an earlier arrest, in August 2017, Tran ran away from officers and had to be hit with a Taser. He had a loaded weapon on him.

His lawyer said Tran’s purported role in the conspiracy was minor.

The arrests focusing on the Aryan Brotherhood and other white supremacist gangs come on the heels of a significant statewide operation that concluded.

Last year, federal officials announced the sentencing of the 89th and last person in connection with a years-long prosecution of white supremacist gangs, including many from the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

The defendants, in that case, were sentenced to over 1,070 combined years in a federal lockup. Only six of them did not have any prior convictions. Several high-ranking members of the gangs also were convicted.

Detectives tied them to a total of 956 kilos of meth worth just under $10 million and 88 firearms.

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