57 white supremacist gang members arrested in North Texas

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Federal authorities have charged 57 members of several white supremacist prison gangs in a large North Texas drug trafficking and kidnapping conspiracy after an investigation by federal, state and local police agencies.

Officials arrested 42 of the gang members last week across the North Texas area, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said Monday during a news conference.

Nine others were already in custody for unrelated state charges, and six are still being sought, she said.

The defendants are linked to several violent and racist prison gangs that include the Aryan Circle, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Peckerwoods, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture and the Dirty White Boys, the 55-count indictment says.

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

"These white supremacist gangs have long plagued our communities and prisons," Nealy Cox said.

The conspiracy to sell methamphetamine cited in the indictment ran from October 2015 through April 2018 and employed "stash houses" to store the drug, according to the indictment. The indictment also includes charges related to heroin, firearms and U-47700, a potent synthetic opioid known as "pink."


Four of the defendants kidnapped a non-member in January over an alleged $600 drug debt and held him in Grand Prairie for several days during which they tortured him, Nealy Cox said. They put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him.

They also hit him on the back of his head with a large wooden object and chopped off a portion of his left index finger with a hatchet, Nealy Cox said.

"Ultimately, the victim narrowly escaped with his life," Nealy Cox said.

Agents seized about $376,500 in cash and intercepted more than 190 kilograms of methamphetamine along with 31 firearms as part of their investigation, Nealy Cox said.

"It is clear that these hate-fueled gangs will do whatever they must do in order to carry on their drug trafficking business," Nealy Cox said. "Firearms, body armor, illegal drugs, drug proceeds and unspeakable physical violence are the tools of their trade." 

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

Authorities say some defendants also were linked to a Hispanic prison and street gang called Tango Blast. Nealy Cox noted that the defendants' "criminal ends overcome their racist views when the need arises."

While the white supremacist prison gangs named in the indictment have been known to collaborate with Mexican drug cartels, the current case doesn't allege any such connections.

One of the defendants, Joshua David Lane, did not want to be taken into custody peacefully, according to a federal complaint.


The complaint describes the arrest in detail:

Agents tracked Lane to a La Quinta Inn & Suites on Airport Freeway in Euless on Nov. 27, 2017. They had warrants alleging burglary and motor theft.

They found methamphetamine and a 7.62mm rifle in the motel room. A stolen F-250 pickup with two body armor vests and methamphetamine was in the parking lot. But Lane was not there, so agents waited for him.

Later in the day, Lane arrived at the motel in a stolen GMC Yukon Denali with a female passenger.

When Lane parked, he noticed agents closing in on him. He put the vehicle in reverse and crashed into an unmarked police vehicle while reaching for something that agents believed could be a gun. A DPS agent shot him. Lane was treated at a hospital and booked into the Tarrant County jail on a federal drug charge.

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

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

"Until next time," Lane said.

"Hopefully there won't be a next time. Stop getting into trouble," the agents said.

A different agent then said, "Yeah, you might not survive the next time."

Lane replied: "You might not, either."

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


Lane's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Another defendant, Nghia Phuoc Tran, has a criminal history dating to 1995 that includes six drug convictions, court records show. He also was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Tran, a meth user, was arrested on April 27, records show. During an earlier arrest, in August 2017, Tran ran away from officers and had to be shot with a Taser gun, according to court records. He was carrying a loaded weapon, records said.

His attorney said Tran's alleged role in the conspiracy was minor. 

The arrests targeting the Aryan Brotherhood and other white supremacist prison gangs come on the heels of a major statewide operation that recently wrapped up.

Federal authorities last year announced the sentencing of the 89th and final person in connection with a years-long prosecution of white supremacist gang members, including many from the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

The defendants in that case were sentenced to more than 1,070 combined years in federal prison. Only six had no prior convictions, officials said. Several high-ranking members of the organizations also were convicted.

Investigators linked them to a total of 956 kilograms of methamphetamine worth just less than $10 million and 88 weapons.

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