Excerpted from New York Times 2.13.2019
Federal prosecutors in Arkansas announced racketeering charges against 54 people who they say belong to a white supremacist gang that kidnapped, maimed and tried to kill to protect its drug-trafficking operations.
An indictment unsealed on Tuesday describes the gang, the New Aryan Empire, as a highly organized outfit that sold “copious amounts” of methamphetamine around the Arkansas River Valley. Its leaders kept members in line with threats and acts of violence, and the gang viciously attacked people it suspected of collaborating with the authorities, prosecutors wrote.
“The N.A.E. is reprehensible in its admiration for Nazi imagery and racist views, but even more alarming are the crimes and violence perpetrated by these defendants,” said David Rybicki, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
New Aryan Empire began in a county prison in Russellville in 1990, and was affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood, the indictment charges. It quickly grew and expanded outside of prison as members were released, and they collaborated with White Aryan Resistance, or WAR, in the drug trade, according to prosecutors.
The United States attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Cody Hiland, said his office was prosecuting the case using the RICO law, the federal statute enacted in 1970 to combat organized crime. The law — its full name is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — allows prosecutors greater flexibility to hold anyone who is part of a criminal enterprise responsible for its acts.
The superseding indictment unsealed on Tuesday adds 10 defendants and additional charges to an indictment announced in October 2017. At that time, the authorities said that investigators had seized more than 25 pounds of methamphetamine, 69 firearms and $70,000 in drug proceeds.
The authorities announced the new charges at the Police Department in Russellville, about 75 miles northwest of Little Rock, where the authorities said the group — believed to have 5,000 members — was founded.