Aryan Brotherhood Members Plead Guilty to Federal Racketeering Charges
HOUSTON—Two Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang members have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges related to their membership in the ABT’s criminal enterprise.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.
Kenneth Michael Hancock, of Dallas, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. James Erik Sharron, aka “Flounder,” of Houston, pleaded guilty to the same charge on July 14, 2014.
According to court documents, Hancock, Sharron and other ABT gang members and associates agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking on behalf of the ABT gang. Hancock, Sharron and numerous ABT gang members met on a regular basis at various locations throughout Texas to report on gang-related business, collect dues, commit disciplinary assaults against fellow gang members and discuss acts of violence against rival gang members, among other things.
By pleading guilty to racketeering charges, Hancock and Sharron admitted to being members of the ABT criminal enterprise.
According to the superseding indictment, the ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system. The gang modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s. According to the superseding indictment, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism. Over time, the ABT expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.
Court documents allege that the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violated the rules or posed a threat to the enterprise. Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”
According to the superseding indictment, in order to be considered for ABT membership, a person must be sponsored by another gang member. Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.
Hancock and Sharron are both scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 8, 2014. Each faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Hancock and Sharron are two of 36 defendants charged with conducting racketeering activity through the ABT criminal enterprise, among other charges. To date, 34 defendants have pleaded guilty.
This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Texas Department of Criminal Justice—Office of Inspector General; sheriff’s offices in Harris, Tarrant, Atascosa, Orange and Waller Counties; police departments in Alvin, Carrollton and Mesquite Texas; as well as the Montgomery and Atascosa County District Attorney’s Offices.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.