Jury Convicts Aryan Warrior Gang Members in Federal Racketeering Case
Las Vegas, Nev. – Following a seven-week federal jury trial, five members of the Aryan Warriors prison/street gang were found guilty today of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering organization (RICO) or conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
"As this case shows, members of violent criminal enterprises, whether found on the streets of our communities or inside our prisons, will be aggressively prosecuted by the Department of Justice," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "I want to recognize the outstanding efforts of all of the investigators and prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this case for years, and congratulate each of them on a job well done. This was truly a team effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from around the state. I also want to thank the members of the jury, as well as Judge Dawson, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their extraordinary devotion to duty during a very long and difficult trial."
James Wallis, aka "Gargoyle," 48, Robert Young, 31, Kenneth Krum, aka "Yum Yum," 49, and Charles Gensemer, 45, were each convicted of the racketeering conspiracy charges, which consisted of multiple acts involving murder, attempted murder, extortion, operating an illegal gambling business, identity theft and fraud and drug trafficking.
Kenneth Krum, Charles Gensemer, and Michael Wayne Yost, aka "Big Mike," 55, were each convicted of drug conspiracy charges.
James Wallis was also convicted of Assault With a Dangerous Weapon; Charles Gensemer was also convicted of Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Offense.
Ronnie Lee Jones, aka "RJ," 49, was found not guilty of all charges.
Fourteen defendants were originally charged in the case. Seven pleaded guilty and Ronald "Joey" Sellers is awaiting trial. In addition, Michael Kennedy, an admitted leader of the Aryan Warriors pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy in a related case. Michael Calabrese, an associate of the Aryan Warriors, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony gun possession and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
The evidence introduced at trial established that the defendants are members of the "Aryan Warriors," a criminal organization that operates inside the Nevada prison system and in certain communities in Nevada. The Aryan Warriors offers protection to white inmates if they join the criminal enterprise. They assert control over other prisoners by using violence, including murder and attempted murder, assaults and extortion. They also corrupt guards, extort money and favors from prisoners and their families, distribute illegal drugs, and run extensive illegal gambling operations. Members adhere to a written manifesto which establishes positions or ranks within the enterprise, such as horn holders (leaders), bolt holders (full members), prospects (potential members), and associates (non-members who are affiliated with the organization.) The manifesto directs Aryan Warriors members and prospects to gain access to computer records, prison records and court records, and to elicit communications with prison staff for the purpose of identifying inmates and prison staff who they perceive as against their racial cause and a danger to their illegal activities. The Aryan Warriors also operate a "street program" in Las Vegas, Reno and Pahrump, in which members, associates, and girlfriends distribute drugs, steal or fraudulently obtain identification and credit cards, commit other crimes, and smuggle drugs into the prisons. Members use the money earned in the "street program" to support other criminal activities of the gang and to financially support incarcerated Aryan Warrior leaders.
Specific evidence introduced at trial included the following: the murder of Jacob Armstrong at Ely State Prison; numerous violent assaults both inside the state prison system and outside of the state prison system in the Las Vegas area; the stabbing of co-defendant Guy Almony at the North Las Vegas Detention Center; and defendant Charles Gensemer's running of one of the largest clandestine methamphetamine labs ever discovered in the State of Nevada, resulting in the seizure of over 33,000 pseudoephedrine pills and large quantities of dangerous chemicals, nine firearms, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
"Since its inception over 100 years ago, the FBI has made the investigation of violent criminal enterprises a top priority," said Steven M. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Division of the FBI. "This was a difficult case to investigate and prosecute, and my hat goes off to the FBI Agents, prosecutors and other law enforcement officers who worked together to bring these violent criminals to justice."
The trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson. Sentencing hearings for the defendants are set for October 7, 2009.
Defendant Wallis faces a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine on both the RICO conspiracy and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering charges.
Defendant Krum faces 20 years and a $250,000 fine on the RICO conspiracy and 30 years and a $2 million fine on the drug conspiracy.
Defendant Young faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine on the RICO conspiracy. Defendant Yost faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $1 million fine on the drug conspiracy.
Defendant Gensemer faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the RICO conspiracy charge; a mandatory minimum of 20 years and up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $8 million on the drug conspiracy; and an additional 5-year mandatory minimum sentence consecutive to any other sentence for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Nevada Department of Corrections Inspector General's Office, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Bliss and Nicholas D. Dickinson and Thom Gover of the Nevada Attorney General's Office. Other agencies that have contributed to the investigated include the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nye County Sheriff's Department.