White supremacist gang members charged in RICO case

Members of a white supremacist gang have been charged by the Department of Justice in a RICO case for allegedly committing multiple acts of violence.

The charges against members of the New Aryan Empire (NAE) were filed under seal last week and the indictment was released publicly on Tuesday.

NAE is a white supremacist organization based in Arkansas that started as a prison gang before expanding. It was formed in 1990 to "preserve the Caucasian race." 

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The DOJ alleges that members of the group committed acts of violence, including attempted murder and kidnapping, in support of the organization and "its wide-ranging drug-trafficking operation," mostly of methamphetamine.

“According to the allegations in the indictment announced today, New Aryan Empire associates maintained their criminal enterprise by engaging in multiple acts of violence — including kidnapping and attempting to murder one informant, and stabbing and maiming two others suspected of cooperating with law enforcement,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said.

“I want to thank our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for vigorously investigating this vicious criminal organization.”

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland for the Eastern District of Arkansas said that invoking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in this situation was key to help "communities remain free from these types of crimes."

“The violence and hatred alleged in this superseding indictment have no place in society,” Hiland said. “We are committed to helping our communities remain free from these types of crimes using every resource available, including the powerful RICO statutes when appropriate. The significant charges in this case represent the hard work of our state and federal law enforcement agencies, and this office’s commitment to removing violent, repeat offenders from the streets.”

The NAE members make up dozens of the 54 defendants in the indictment, the DOJ said. The exact number of NAE members indicted was not immediately clear.

Thirty-five defendants are in either state or federal custody, 16 were previously released on federal bond and three more were arrested Tuesday morning. Three remain at large, according to the DOJ.