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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Two Leaders of the Aryan Knights Prison Gang Each Sentenced to Over 17 Years for RICO Conspiracy

BOISE – Two members of an Idaho prison gang called the Aryan Knights were sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of participating in a RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Chief United States District Judge David C. Nye sentenced Christopher Foss, 32, to 210 months in federal prison and Buck Pickens, 31, to 206 months in federal prison. Both Foss and Pickens will also serve five years of supervised release following their sentence. Each was found to have played a leadership role in the Aryan Knights, or “AK.”

Foss’ sentence will be served concurrently with a state sentence currently being served at Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC). If Foss is paroled on his state sentence at the earliest possible date, he will serve an additional 174 months in federal prison. Pickens’ sentence is partially concurrent with his current state sentences. It is structured so that Pickens will serve an additional 60 months in federal prison if he is paroled at the earliest possible date.

Foss and Pickens are two of ten AK gang defendants indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2019 for participating in a RICO conspiracy. The indictment also included two separate counts for committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering. So far, five defendants have pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy count, and one defendant, Michael McNabb, 36, was sentenced on August 21, 2020. McNabb was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison by Chief Judge Nye. A jury trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled for April 5, 2021 at the federal courthouse in Boise.

According to court records, the AK gang was formed in the mid-1990s in the Idaho prison system. It is a prison gang that operates within IDOC prison facilities and also outside of IDOC facilities. It was founded to organize criminal activity for a select group of white inmates within IDOC custody. The AK gang has white supremacist and white separatist ideologies. Since its founding, the AK gang has expanded and is now believed to have over 100 members, both inside and outside of IDOC custody. Members of the AK gang have used violence and the threat of violence to target non‑white inmates and other targeted inmates. AK gang members also engaged in drug trafficking, extortion, and gambling to generate revenue, which was shared among members.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IDOC’s Special Investigations Unit, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, and Ada County Prosecutor’s Office.

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The codefendants that have not pleaded guilty and remain scheduled for trial are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
CASSIE FULGHUM Public Information Officer (208) 334-1211
Updated October 1, 2020