Federal authorities charged 57 white supremacists in North Texas for drug trafficking and kidnapping conspiracy on Monday after agents seized $376,500 in cash, more than 190 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 31 firearms.
Officials arrested 42 of the suspects in an operation last week. Nine others were already in custody at the time on unrelated charges, and six of the suspects remain at large, according to the Dallas News, which originally reported the charges.
Beginning in 2015, the group of 57 white supremacists, comprised of members of multiple different prison gangs, allegedly conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Texas. They had “stash houses” where they allegedly stored the drug and were also connected to heroin, firearms, and a synthetic opioid known as “pink.”
The defendants were linked to Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Dirty White Boys, the Aryan Circle, the Peckerwoods, and the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, according to the indictment. The groups, many of which incorporate Nazi imagery, are known for their involvement in drug trafficking, and allegedly worked with Tango Blast, a collection of predominantly Hispanic gangs in Texas, to sell meth.
The alleged drug trafficking reached a violent climax when Justin “Animal” Nelson tried to sell $600 of meth to two Aryan Brotherhood of Texas members. The person who was supposed to be the middleman for the two groups, described in the indictment as “Victim A,” paid Nelson, but didn’t receive any of the drugs in return. He returned to the Brotherhood empty-handed.
The Aryan Circle and the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas then allegedly kidnapped Victim A, convinced that he had stolen their money. They held him for several days, beat him, and chopped off part of his index finger with a hatchet, according to the indictment.
“Not only do white supremacist 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. “Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice has targeted every violent criminal gang member in the United States. The quantities of drugs, guns, and money seized in this case are staggering.”
Cover image: Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.