Two Assistant U.S. Attorneys Named Prosecutors of The Year by the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association
OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Assistant United States Attorneys have been named Prosecutors of the Year by the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association (OGIA), announced Timothy J. Downing, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. The recipients were announced at the OGIA’s 23rd Annual Gang Conference on June 18th in Tulsa.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas J. Patterson and Dennis Fries were recognized for their extensive prosecutorial work involving members and associates of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood (UAB), a "whites only" prison-based gang with members operating inside and outside of state prisons throughout Oklahoma. Investigations in the Western and Northern Districts of Oklahoma have resulted in the federal prosecution of dozens of UAB members. Patterson’s and Fries’s efforts demonstrate unwavering commitment to the safety of communities throughout Oklahoma and the administration of justice.
"AUSA Patterson has served the people of Oklahoma well by establishing a strong working relationship with federal, state, and local law enforcement and by prosecuting violent UAB members vigorously," said U.S. Attorney Downing. "My office will continue to bring criminal cases with hefty sentences against violent gang members to make our entire district safer."
"I am pleased to see Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fries recognized for his exemplary work prosecuting gang cases," said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. "From prosecuting white supremacist prison gangs to violent street gangs and international drug trafficking organizations, Dennis has proven himself to be a dedicated public servant and stalwart advocate for justice. We are proud of his efforts to keep Oklahomans safe from organized crime."
In the Western District of Oklahoma, Patterson has led the successful prosecution of more than 20 UAB members and associates, many of whom had lengthy histories of violent crime. Three of these cases involved guilty verdicts after jury trials. Patterson’s UAB cases have generally involved the illegal possession of firearms and drug distribution; they have resulted in the seizure of more than 70 firearms, including machine guns and silencers, as well as large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin. In just the past two weeks, for example, Patterson’s work has involved the seizure of approximately four kilograms of methamphetamine. In addition to charging defendants in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, Patterson has contributed to community safety in more rural areas by charging UAB defendants in, for example, Woodward, Beckham, and Garfield Counties.
In the Northern District of Oklahoma, Fries indicted 18 key members and associates of the UAB for their roles in operating and supporting a racketeering enterprise. The indictment, unsealed in February 2019, alleged that the UAB committed nine overt acts of murder, kidnapping, the trafficking of methamphetamine and firearms, money laundering, assault, and robbery as part of their racketeering enterprise. While in prison, members of the gang’s main council are alleged to have used contraband cell phones to communicate their orders and further their enterprise. Fries worked extensively with investigators from Homeland Security Investigations and IRS-Criminal Investigations to navigate the complex and considerable processes associated with developing a racketeering prosecution. The lengthy investigation into the UAB’s operations began in 2012, but evidence gathered dates as far back as 2006.
All of these cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and re-entry programs for lasting reductions in crime. For more information, visit https://www.justice.gov/psn.
The Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association was established more than 20 years ago. OGIA has taken the lead in gang training around the state. The association is led by federal, state, and local law enforcement gang experts and educates law enforcement as well community groups on the nature and operations of gangs. The group is also involved in charitable donations to gang intervention and prevention organizations.