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June 13, 2012 2

The Bloody Trail of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas

What’s the most vio­lent extrem­ist group in the United States today? The answer may be sur­pris­ing: it is the Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas (ABT), one of the largest white suprema­cist prison gangs in the coun­try. Accord­ing to ADL records, since 2000, this racist group—which has no rela­tion­ship to the older, “orig­i­nal” Aryan Brotherhood—has killed more Amer­i­cans than any other domes­tic extrem­ist group.

Since 2000, ABT mem­bers and asso­ciates have com­mit­ted at least 29 mur­ders in the United States, all in Texas or neigh­bor­ing states. The true num­ber is likely con­sid­er­ably higher, as most mur­ders that occur behind prison walls do not get reported by the media. The 29 known killings are all “street” killings, more evi­dence of the grow­ing pres­ence of racist prison gangs on the streets of America.

Why are there so many ABT mur­ders? There are two main rea­sons. The first is that the ABT incul­cates an accep­tance of vio­lence in its mem­bers; vio­lence is as often as not the first—or even only—solution to a per­ceived problem.

The sec­ond relates to the nature of racist prison gangs in gen­eral and the ABT in par­tic­u­lar: the ABT is an orga­nized crime group as well as a white suprema­cist group. The ABT con­sti­tu­tion even acknowl­edges that it can be a “hin­drance” to put ide­o­log­i­cal beliefs before “busi­ness trans­ac­tions” and that the group has to gen­er­ate income to fur­ther its “mis­sion and growth.” The result is that many ABT mur­ders take place in con­nec­tion with their “tra­di­tional” crim­i­nal activ­i­ties, such as metham­phet­a­mine traf­fick­ing, home inva­sions, and iden­tity theft.

Even more ABT mur­ders are actu­ally inter­nal mur­ders, in which gang mem­bers kill their own, usu­ally because they believe or sus­pect the vic­tim has become an infor­mant or bro­ken gang rules, but also some­times due to fac­tional or other inter­nal fights. It is almost as dan­ger­ous to be an ABT mem­ber as it is to encounter one.

Iron­i­cally, only 3 of the 29 known mur­ders linked to this white suprema­cist group in the past 12 years were actu­ally hate-related, though there have been other hate-related crimes by ABT mem­bers, rang­ing from assaults to arsons of African-American churches.

There is no doubt­ing, how­ever, the vicious­ness of the ABT killings, some of which were torture-murders while oth­ers were execution-style killings, in which the victim’s body was burned, decap­i­tated or oth­er­wise dis­mem­bered in order to make iden­ti­fi­ca­tion difficult.

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