James Francis Sampsell has been indicted in Houston for his alleged role as a leader of a racketeering enterprise known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.
The second superseding indictment returned on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, by a federal grand jury in Houston charges Sampsell, aka “Skitz,” 50, of Midland, Texas, with conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity and possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
Sampsell’s co-defendants, who were previously charged for their alleged roles in the racketeering conspiracy, range from senior leaders to soldiers of the ABT, a “whites only,” prison-based gang with members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and elsewhere in the United States since at least the early 1980s. In total, the second superseding indictment charges 33 alleged members of the ABT.
According to court documents, the ABT has a detailed and uniform organizational structure, with territory divided into five regions, each run by a “general.” Four alleged ABT generals, Terry Ross Blake, 55, aka “Big Terry”; Larry Max Bryan, 51, aka “Slick”; William David Maynard, 42, aka “Baby Huey”; and Charles Lee Roberts, 68, aka “Jive,” were charged in the superseding indictment with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT, among other charges. The second superseding indictment charges the fifth general, Sampsell, with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT, among other charges.
In total, the second superseding indictment charges 33 alleged members of the ABT with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT. Alleged members of the ABT are also charged with involvement in three murders, multiple attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. On Jan. 31, 2012, two previously indicted alleged gang members, Ben Christian Dillon, aka, “Tuff”, 40, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty,” 40, of Dallas, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston.
According to court documents, 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 court documents, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism. Over time, the ABT is alleged to have 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 violate the rules or pose 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.”
The racketeering and drug conspiracy charges each carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. The murder-related charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison or the death penalty.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General; Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Atascosa County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Orange County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Waller County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department; San Antonio Police Department; Baytown, Texas, Police Department; Carrollton, Texas, Police Department; Alvin, Texas, Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; Atascosa County District Attorney’s Office; Harris County District Attorney’s Office; and the Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.