Dozens of members of the Arkansas-based New Aryan Empire, a meth-peddling white supremacist gang that originated in the state’s prison system, were charged in a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday, the Justice Department announced.
The charges follow gun and drug-related charges against 44 people in 2017. Some of those defendants, as well as new ones, now face additional charges “involving attempted murder, kidnapping, maiming, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine,” according to the DOJ press release.
RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) and VICAR (the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering statute) charges were also brought against 17 of the defendants. Among those charged is the gang’s president, 29-year-old Wesley “Bad Company” Gullett.
Central to the superseding indictment is several NAE members’ alleged attempts to murder an informant “in retaliation for [the informant] providing information to law enforcement relating to [gang member Marcus Millsap’s] involvement in the sale and distribution of methamphetamine.” Separately, gang members allegedly kidnapped, stabbed and maimed two people who supposedly provided information to law enforcement.
The maiming charge is described in the indictment (embedded below): “Between June 4, 2017 and June 6, 2017, T.J. FERGUSON and LONG, along with Randall Rupp, Adam F. Mitchell, Christopher Buber, Russell Robinson, and Bradley Chambers, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, maimed H.D. by placing a heated knife on his face causing permanent disfigurement.”
H.D. and another law enforcement source, C.L., are also described in the indictment as having gone through beatings, stabbings and threats of murder over their cooperation with police.
“During the kidnapping, the victims were forced to write apology letters to the NAE member and his girlfriend,” the press release reads.
During a coordinated investigation, DOJ alleged, law enforcement officials seized “more than 25 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as 69 firearms and more than $70,000 in drug proceeds.”
The gang has approximately 5,000 members today, the indictment stated, and uses “a militaristic and corporate rank structure to denote authority and delegate responsibilities.” At a press conference Tuesday, ATF Acting Resident Agent in Charge Warren Newman said the indictments represented “a major disruption” for the gang, adding that law enforcement had “effectively dismantled” the group.
The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment on the extent of that disruption.
Asked “what about everyone else” at the press conference — a reporter was referring to the discrepancy between the 54 people named in the indictment and the approximately 5,000 in the gang’s membership, per the indictment — U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Cody Hiland responded: “Anytime you have an investigation like this, it can continue to expand out. So we consider it an ongoing investigation, and will, until this thing’s taken care of.”
Read the indictment below:
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