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Dozens of people with ties to a white supremacy group were charged with operating a drug trafficking operation known for committing violent crimes, including kidnapping and attempted murder, throughout the state, according to an indictment filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The charges allege that leaders of the white supremacist group known as the New Aryan Empire oversaw and ordered multiple violent acts including solicitation of murder and attempted murder, kidnapping, and maiming.

Authorities said they were planning to execute arrest warrants for 54 people on Tuesday.

The indictment ties leaders of the group to crimes that group members allegedly committed over the years, including kidnapping a person and attacking another with guns, bats and knives.

“Members of the NAE engaged in acts of violence in this community in order to protect the criminal enterprise and further its goals,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki while announcing the charges Tuesday afternoon in Russellville.

He likened the group to other street gangs, describing NAE as being a “violent and highly structured criminal organization operating in Arkansas” with members in the thousands.

The 32 charges also include distribution of methamphetamine and illegal gun possession.

“Methamphetamine is a scourge, it’s an absolute scourge,” said U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland. “Anything we can do to disrupt it is a good day.”

The New Aryan Empire reportedly formed in prison and has a “high concentration” of members in Pope County and Russellville, with an overall membership of about 5,000 people, the indictment said.

The 47-page indictment unsealed Tuesday details the inner workings of the organization, including its formation and leadership hierarchy that prosecutors described as a  “militaristic” corporate structure.


Indictment in investigation into Arkansas white supremacy group


Officials said the group was formed by an inmate in the Pope County jail in the 1990s and founded on the principals of white supremacy. Leaders, referred to as the "high elders," began recruiting members both inside and outside of prison, according to court records.

Arkansas Department of Correction records from last month counted 233 inmates suspected of belonging to the New Aryan Empire in Arkansas prisons, the second highest for a white supremacist group.

Carla Hill, a senior investigator with the Anti-Defamation League, said white power prison gangs are often “crude versions” of other hate groups, merging imagery and views held by other white supremacists.

“They combine criminal know-how with the bigotry of a hate group,” she said.

The group expanded outside of correctional facilities.

Authorities said members often use the group’s initials and the number 234, which is found in tattoos and other imagery.

The indictment didn’t point to any specific acts of violence against people or groups often targeted by white power groups.

In 2017, authorities reported finding nearly 70 guns and 25 pounds of methamphetamine in a Russellville home. More than two dozen purported members of the New Aryan Empire were arrested, authorities said then.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas said it plans to use what’s known as a “RICO” indictment, which was created in the 1970s to prosecute mafia leaders and other organized criminals by tying them to crimes they ordered and oversaw.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 35 people remained in state or federal custody Tuesday ahead of court dates and 16 defendants were out on bond.

Three people were listed as fugitives.

Nine suspected leaders of the group are charged with conspiracy to violate RICO, which carries a maximum life sentence. All remained in custody Tuesday afternoon, according to the DOJ.

Hiland said it’s the first time officials have used the legal tool in 15 years. He vowed to continue using the statute for other criminal cases, including public corruption and white collar crimes.

“When you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound,” Hiland said.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Print Headline: Feds detail indictment of Arkansas white supremacist group


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Archived Comments

  • zzzzipy12
    February 12, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    Very scary!!!

  • Seitan
    February 12, 2019 at 11:57 a.m.

    Or, as Trump and GeneralMac would say: "Good, country folk. Fine people."

    I am grateful that law enforcement is on top of this.

  • FireEyes
    February 12, 2019 at 12:24 p.m.

    @SEITAN - WRONG! These are seriously misguided, indoctrinated folks just like you, just from a different angle. TRUE country folk have more common sense than believe the asininity of racism. We know there is ONE race, human, and many ethnic groups, NONE of which is better OR lesser than any other. Yes, we support the Constitution wholeheartedly and especially the Bill of Rights because many of us had ancestors who fought in the Revolution to give us what we have, and we see it being undermined by leftist/liberal/socialist/commie boobs brainwashed by the media and our worthless education system, of which you appear to be a prime example.

    While those idiots that were arrested may call themselves patriots, they as much as danger as SOCIALISTS like you. Grow up already and get a real education. Stop babbling the party line. Your gross lack of true knowledge is disgusting.

  • PopMom
    February 12, 2019 at 12:24 p.m.

    Guns and meth and hatred. A very bad combination. I'm glad the authorities are rounding up these bad guys.

    February 12, 2019 at 12:29 p.m.


  • dph815
    February 12, 2019 at 12:31 p.m.

    SEITAN obviously just hates anything Trump so his opinion should be ignored. I'll bet he thinks ANTIFA is a great organization.

  • Seitan
    February 12, 2019 at 12:31 p.m.

    FIREEYES. Clearly, you have not paid attention to what Trump has actually said over the years. He is a racist, a misogynist, and pathological liar. He has encouraged violence against citizens who disagree with him at his rallies. He even encouraged law enforcement to smack around unconvicted suspects. Care to deny any of this? It's all on tape or documented in legitimate articles. But I suppose you would call that "fake news" because it does not jive with your own indoctrinated party line. Grow up, indeed.

  • Seitan
    February 12, 2019 at 12:34 p.m.

    DPH815 obviously believes every lie (over 8,000 now)that drips from Trump's mouth, so his/her opinion should be ignored. Also, you got my gender wrong.

  • ZeebronZ
    February 12, 2019 at 12:46 p.m.

    No more room for this kind of organization than there is for the Muslim Brotherhood, Black Panthers, or any other hate-based, biased group. Like the Congressional Black Caucus.

  • susan918crosbygmailcom
    February 12, 2019 at 1:12 p.m.

    Has anyone every read the book 1984 or Animal Farm? We are so very far from the democracy that we give lip service to that it frightens me. Liberal think that everything has to change for change sake. Conservatives are preaching they are right and there is no room for a progressive view. Those of us in the middle of the extremes are just trying to live our lives, have our friends and do our thing; whatever that might be. The real danger in this country and most others are Zealots. I do believe the bible spoke cautiously of zealots. I submit that we need to heed that warning.