Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Federal Racketeering Charges
A member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges related to his membership in the ABT’s criminal enterprise, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.
Benjamin Troy Johnson, aka “South,” 42, of Corpus Christi, Texas, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in the Southern District of Texas to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.
According to court documents, Johnson and other ABT gang members and associates agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking on behalf of the ABT gang. Johnson and numerous ABT gang members met on a regular basis at various locations throughout Texas to report on gang-related business, collect dues, commit disciplinary assaults against fellow gang members and discuss acts of violence against rival gang members, among other things.
By pleading guilty to racketeering charges, Johnson has admitted to being a member of the ABT criminal enterprise.
According to the superseding indictment, 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 the superseding indictment, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and the promotion of white supremacy/separatism. Over time, the ABT 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 commit murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violated the rules or posed 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.”
According to the superseding indictment, in order to be considered for ABT membership, a person must be sponsored by another gang member. Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.
Judge Lake has set sentencing for Jan. 30, 2013, at which time Johnson faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Johnson is one of 36 defendants charged with, among other things, conducting racketeering activity through the ABT criminal enterprise. He is the 13th defendant charged in the indictment to plead guilty.
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 Office; 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; Waller County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Alvin, Texas, Police Department; Carrollton, Texas, Police Department; Mesquite Texas, Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; and the Atascosa County 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.