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Press Release

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Gang Member Sentenced to Serve
10 Years in Prison for Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang member from Houston was sentenced today to serve 10 years in prison for his role in an aggravated assault that took place in Tomball, Texas, in September 2008, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

David Harlow, 43, aka “Bam Bam,” was found guilty at trial on March 21, 2012, of racketeering aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit racketeering aggravated assault for his role in the severe beating of a prospective ABT member. Harlow was convicted on two counts and sentenced to serve 36 months on count one and 120 months on count two, to run concurrently. In addition to the prison term, Harlow was also sentenced to pay a $2,000 fine by senior U.S. District Court Judge Ewing Werlein Jr.


According to court documents, Harlow was a member of the ABT, a powerful race-based, state-wide organization that operated inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout the United States. 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 has expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.


According to court documents, the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, 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.”

According to court documents, Harlow, along with 11 fellow ABT gang members, participated in the beating of a prospective ABT member at the home of another ABT gang leader, Steven Walter Cooke, 48, aka “Stainless,” in Tomball, on Sept. 22, 2008. The ABT prospect, who sustained serious bodily injury, was beaten by ABT gang members because he violated ABT rules of conduct.


The remaining 11 co-defendants have pleaded guilty for their roles in the assault.


This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Texas Ranger Division – Texas Department of Public Safety; the Walker County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; the Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department; the Houston Police Department-Gang Division; the Tomball Police Department; the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Inspector General; and the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman of the Southern District of Texas.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 12-944