HOUSTON — The illegal operations of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas have been dealt a major blow as the last two of 36 members arrested in a sweeping investigation have been convicted, authorities announced Wednesday.
Marshall Miller, the principal deputy assistant attorney general with the U.S. Department of Justice, said the convictions of the 36 members were part of a six-year investigation resulting in 73 convictions in Texas and Oklahoma.
Those 36 who were convicted after being indicted in 2012 were charged with a variety of crimes, including murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking. Most of the 36 gang members were convicted on racketeering charges. Most are awaiting sentencing.
According to court records, examples of the gang's brutality included a subordinate being ordered to kill a gang prospect and return his severed finger and another being told to burn a tattoo from a member's arm for not following an order.
The military-style gang was founded in Texas prisons in the 1980s to offer protection to white inmates. Modeled after a similar gang that surfaced in California prisons in the 1960s, members often have Nazi-themed tattoos. Investigators say the gang works as five regions and is run by five so-called generals, who conduct criminal activity within prisons and on the outside.
Those convicted in the case included all five generals, an acting general and several majors and captains in the organization, Miller said.
"This really is the decapitation of this gang," Miller said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, says the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is one of the deadliest gangs in the Texas prison system. As of 2012, the gang had an estimated 2,600 members in Texas prisons and another 180 in federal prisons.
"Today, public safety is the winner. An organization that is involved in this depth and breadth of criminal activity has been totally disrupted and dismantled," said Kenneth Magidson, the U.S. attorney in Houston.
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