Dozens of members of a white-supremacist gang in Arkansas dealt meth, attempted to commit murder, and kidnapped and maimed informants, according to racketeering charges filed by federal prosecutors Tuesday.
The indictment focuses on 54 associates of Arkansas’ New Aryan Empire gang, whose members were willing to commit violence to protect their criminal operations, prosecutors allege.
“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 in a press release.
Law-enforcement officials first brought charges against the gang’s members over meth and guns in 2017. Some members of the gang indicted Tuesday were first charged two years ago, after law-enforcement raids on gang locations turned up 69 guns and 25 pounds of meth.
Prosecutors say top members of the New Aryan Empire leadership directed the group’s members to commit a series of crimes, including kidnapping, offering to pay for targeted murders, witness tampering, and drug-dealing.
Between 2014 and 2016, for example, Wesley “Bad Company” Gullett allegedly tried to commission the murder of a suspected government informant.
Gullett, the alleged head of the New Aryan Empire’s operations outside of the prison system, offered tens of thousands of dollars, pills, and even a Harley Davidson motorcycle to gang associates willing to help commit the murder, according to prosecutors.
Gullett eventually teamed up with another high-ranking New Aryan Empire member, Jeffrey “100%” Knox, to kill the informant, according to prosecutors. But the informant escaped after a gun used in the alleged murder attempt misfired.
Other members of the gang terrorized law-enforcement informants and potential witnesses, according to the indictment. One informant was hit with a baseball bat and stabbed repeatedly with a knife in an attempt to keep him from testifying, according to the indictment.
In another informant punishment, New Aryan Empire members allegedly heated up a knife on a stove, then pressed it onto an informant’s face to disfigure him.
Prosecutors have dubbed their investigation into the gang “To the Dirt”—a reference to the New Aryan Empire’s motto, which means that members must remain in the gang until they die.
The New Aryan Empire began in 1990 in Arkansas’ prison system when white inmates created a gang to protect themselves and “preserve the Caucasian race,” according to law enforcement. Since then, the gang has built ties to other white supremacist gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood, and spread outside the prison. Roughly 5,000 people now belong to the gang, according to prosecutors.
Members of the gang use Nazi symbolism, including swastikas, the lightning bolts used by the Germany “SS” divisions in World War II, and “Heil Hitler” salutes. Gang members are forbidden from “fraternizing outside the Caucasian race,” according to prosecutors.