Texas authorities target organized crime related to Aryan Brotherhood

A number of Texans accused of participating in a criminal gang have been hammered by police and prosecutors.

Over the past six years, agents from the Justice Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been working to arrest and charge alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Dozens have already been convicted, and Texas authorities have promised that there will be more drug conspiracy, violent crime and racketeering arrests to come.

Conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity linchpin charge

According to the Department of Justice, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas was founded in the 1980s as a way for white inmates in the Texas prison system to defend themselves. Since then, the organization has expanded beyond the walls of Texas prisons. While a racial ideology is purportedly an aspect of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood, the organization has no qualms with conducting business with groups of any race. Furthermore, the Texas Aryan Brotherhood says it will not tolerate members who commit sexual assault or sexual assault of a child.

On August 13, the FBI announced the recent convictions of 36 alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. This brings the six-year total from the sweep of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood to 73 convictions.

Some of the 36 defendants who were most recently prosecuted were charged with other crimes, but all of them faced charges related to racketeering activity. Racketeering charges are often used against organized criminal organizations and can cover a wide array of criminal activity.

Significantly, the final two defendants charged in this sweep were both charged with one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. To be convicted of conspiracy charges, a defendant does not necessarily even have to do anything that is per se illegal; all that is required is an agreement to engage in illegal actions. Most jurisdictions require that at least one of the conspirators commits an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy for a conviction, but under the federal drug conspiracy statute, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that not even an overt act is required.

Get in contact with a Texas criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged

Even if you are only tangentially involved with an organization like the Texas Aryan Brotherhood and it does not seem like you are particularly culpable, you can face charges that will mean years behind bars if you are convicted. These will not be easy years either: the Texas Department of Criminal Justice requires any confirmed member of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood to serve his time in its entirety in administrative segregation - a one-person cell - where he is confined 23 hours a day and never allowed to mingle with the general prison population.

The stakes are high, and if you have been swept up in this crackdown or a newer version of it, you need to stage a strong legal defense. Contact a Texas criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Keywords: Texas, defense, racketeering