A white supremacist gang that rewards members for murder is in turmoil after its members allegedly killed one of their own at a house party.
The Department of Justice last week unsealed an indictment against eight members of the Aryan Circle. The gang, whose members wear neo-Nazi imagery, ran a murderous extortion ring across the southern United States, the indictment said. But when the group allegedly botched the cover-up of a house party murder, federal authorities closed in.
The Aryan Circle was celebrating Independence Day on July 1 when members threw a party in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, the Anti-Defamation League first reported.
The white supremacist group demands absolute loyalty and lifetime commitment from its members, who must be unanimously approved into the organization, according to the indictment. But despite their shared love of swastikas, the Aryan Circle members still found themselves arguing at the July party.
Soon one participant, Clifton Hallmark, found himself clinging to life after Aryan Circle member Jeremy Jordan allegedly shot him in the head.
Hallmark’s wife and another woman took him to a nearby gas station where they called 911. But police were suspicious before they arrived on the scene. Hallmark’s wife and the other woman are both alleged Aryan Circle members and tried covering for the group even as Hallmark bled out.
They tried claiming Hallmark was shot during a gas station robbery, but accidentally discussed the cover up while on the phone with police.
“We are going to tell them he got robbed, OK?” police heard a woman tell Hallmark’s wife in the background of the 911 call, according to Louisiana’s KATC. When police arrived at the gas station, they found no blood or bullet casings in the store. Surveillance footage revealed the Aryan Circle members had arrived in a van and immediately called police, rather than being robbed as they claimed. When police confronted her, Hallmark’s wife reportedly blamed the discrepancies on drugs and lack of sleep.
The shooting got investigators’ attention. But the cover-up might bring down the group. The indictment unsealed last week accuses Jordan of using a firearm in a crime resulting in death, and seven Aryan Circle members of accessory after the fact to the murder.
The accessory to murder investigation also exposed the Aryan Circle’s inner workings. The group is an offshoot of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and has spread from Texas into Louisiana and Missouri. Originally a prison-based gang, the Aryan Circle has developed a “militaristic structure” complete with a five-person “Upper Board” and middle-managers who direct the gang’s operations, according to the indictment.
The indictment also describes a racketeering scheme, in which the Aryan Circle allegedly sold drugs and guns across state lines. The group allegedly threatened, assaulted, and even murdered people who stood in their path, and awarded specialized tattoos for different crimes. Tattoos included swastikas and Nazi SS lightning bolts.
Jordan, who is accused of firing the fatal shot, has pleaded guilty to violent crimes in the aid of racketeering, and using a firearm in a crime resulting in death.