Over a dozen members of a white supremacist prison gang have been indicted for federal racketeering charges.
Eighteen members and associates of the Oklahoma-based United Aryan Brotherhood were indicted on Thursday, according to a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Several of them were members of the “Main Council,” a core group of gang members with massive influence over United Aryan Brotherhood activities.
The men were accused of several crimes including kidnapping, drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, assault and robbery.
Five of the men who were indicted are already serving life sentences, the Tulsa World reports. Oklahoma U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said indicting those men on these new charges will help to make an example of them.
“I think there is still a deterrence, even though there are individuals who are serving life sentences in DOC,” Shores said. “There is value in continuing to hold accountable these individuals and anybody who is associated with them. No one gets a free pass.”
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Prosecutors found the incarcerated United Aryan Brotherhood members used smuggled cellular phones to conduct business with those who remained free.
“The Universal Aryan Brotherhood operated a lucrative criminal organization from within Oklahoma’s prison walls using contraband cell phones,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The tools of their trade were hate, fear, affliction, and violence. This RICO prosecution seeks to dismantle their criminal operation. Justice is coming.”
Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Elliott said smuggled cell phones continue to be a problem in the state's prisons, and 7,518 phones were confiscated in 2018.
“Like every prison system, we confiscate thousands of phones using sound correctional practices and allowed technology, such as Cell Sense towers," Elliott said. "Those practices only catch a fraction of what’s behind the wire.”
The indictment was filed and sealed on December 8, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. It wasn’t unsealed until Wednesday. The first four Brotherhood members to be arraigned all pleaded not guilty.
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