Five Waco-Area Aryan Brotherhood Members and Associates Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Methamphetamine Distribution Operation
In Waco, a federal district judge sentenced five Aryan Brotherhood (AB) members and associates to federal prison for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division.
During yesterday afternoon’s hearing, United States District Judge Walter S. Smith sentenced:
- Robert Eaton (aka “Compound Rob”), age 40, of Kempner, TX, to 35 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
- Robert Helms, age 30, of Temple, to 211 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
- Eric Ganos, age 40, of Temple, to 15 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
- Kirt Easter, age 49, of Belton, to 10 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release; and,
- Sonya Whitenburg, age 23, of Flat, TX, to five years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.
In addition to the prison and supervised release terms, Judge Smith ordered each defendant to pay a $1,000 fine.
“These sentences resulted from unprecedented collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement targeting a large-scale prison gang involved in violent organized crime over three counties in Central Texas,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “This effort not only exemplifies our commitment to prevent gang violence and criminal activity from poisoning our communities, but it also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent criminal enterprises regardless of where they lay their heads.”
“Operation ‘La Flama Blanca’ has inflicted a debilitating blow to the network of shadow and often violent facilitators of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas,” said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration—Houston Field Division. “This operation highlights a deliberate and strategic effort to cut off and shut down the supply of methamphetamine trafficked by the Aryan Brotherhood and the corresponding impact that this horrific drug inflicts on our communities.”
To date, 24 individuals have been sentenced in connection with this investigation. Sentences previously handed down range from 21 months to 188 months in federal prison. Sentencings for eight co-defendants are pending. Vicki Kay Levy, age 52, of Belton, and Wayne Martin Huisinger, age 55, of Belton are set for 1:00 p.m. on July 1, 2015. Henry David Walker (aka “Stalker”), age 52, of Temple; Ronnie Knepler, age 54, of Belton; and Jose Rodriguez, age 25, a resident alien living in Dallas, are scheduled to be sentenced on July 8, 2015. Sylvia O’Neal, age 41, of Temple, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 5, 2015. Amanda Petrie, age 35, of Temple, is set for 1:00 p.m. on August 12, 2015. Colby Warren, age 40, of Gatesville, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 2, 2015.
All of the defendants named above pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Robert Eaton also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. David Henry Walker also pleaded guilty to two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. During this 10-month-long operation, investigators conducted several controlled methamphetamine purchases. To date, authorities have seized approximately nine pounds of “crystal” methamphetamine, 15 firearms, over $9,000 in U.S. Currency and other assets in connection with this investigation.
Derrick Cooper (aka “Red”), age 35, of Temple, and Chris Voerhis (aka “Lurch”), age 50, of Moffat, TX, were also charged by federal grand jury indictment as a result of this investigation. Both remain in federal custody awaiting jury selection and trial scheduled for August 17, 2015, before Judge Smith. Cooper and Voerhis are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute between 50 grams and 500 grams of methamphetamine and face between five and 40 years’ imprisonment upon conviction.
This case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration together with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Temple Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Office of Inspector General, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Coryell County Sheriff’s Office, Bell County Sheriff’s Office, Gatesville Police Department, Lampasas Police Department, Killeen Police Department, Austin Police Department and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Frazier and Stephanie Smith-Burris are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.