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February 25, 2015 6

White Supremacist Gangs: A Growing Problem in Missouri


Mis­souri white suprema­cist gangs

Mis­souri has had long expe­ri­ence with white suprema­cists rang­ing from neo-Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan, but in recent years a new threat has emerged in the Show Me state:   white suprema­cist prison gangs.   Some states have been plagued by such gangs for years, but until recently, Mis­souri had only a lim­ited expe­ri­ence with them.

Now, how­ever, there are a num­ber of white suprema­cist gangs active in Mis­souri, typ­i­cally emerg­ing in pris­ons and jails, then expand­ing onto the streets. These gangs com­bine the crim­i­nal know-how of orga­nized crime with the big­oted ide­ol­ogy of hate groups.

Law enforce­ment has been increas­ingly con­cerned about the spread of such gangs in Mis­souri. Unfor­tu­nately, recent events have jus­ti­fied that con­cern. On Jan­u­ary 26, 2015, a mem­ber of the South­west Honkies gang, Joshua Lee Hagood, shot a Spring­field police offi­cer in the head while police were inves­ti­gat­ing a sus­pi­cious van. The offi­cer sus­tained career-ending injuries. This was actu­ally the sec­ond offi­cer shoot­ing in Spring­field related to the gang. In 2013, Honkies mem­ber Mar­tin Potts wounded another offi­cer dur­ing a shootout before offi­cers fatally shot Potts.

Police have not been the only Mis­souri­ans at risk. In Feb­ru­ary, two South­west Honkies mem­bers, Aaron Williams and Austin Pierce, were charged with a hate crime after allegedly threat­en­ing to kill an African-American woman and her chil­dren while try­ing to break into her house. In Jan­u­ary, a mem­ber of the Joplin Honkies received a seven-year prison sen­tence for assault and aban­don­ing a corpse.

Gangs like the Joplin and South­west Honkies are grow­ing in Mis­souri. Accom­pa­ny­ing that growth is increased crime, typ­i­cally tra­di­tional crimes like home inva­sions or drug-related crime (gangs are often involved with the metham­phet­a­mine trade). Crim­i­nal gain tends to trump white supremacy, but gangs can engage in hate-related vio­lence, too. Gangs often embrace a cruder form of white supremacy than neo-Nazi or Klan groups, but have larger memberships.

There are five main white suprema­cist gangs oper­at­ing in Missouri:

  • Sacred Sep­a­ratist Group (SSG): The Anti-Defamation League first encoun­tered the SSG in 2005, but it has grown con­sid­er­ably in recent years. Like some of the other gangs, it orig­i­nated in the West­ern Mis­souri Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter. ADL has iden­ti­fied mem­bers of this fairly large gang from all over Mis­souri. SSG mem­bers have asso­ci­ated with mem­bers of all the gangs listed here.
  • Joplin Honkies: The Joplin Honkies orig­i­nated behind bars around the same time as SSG. Orig­i­nally, mem­bers called them­selves the Joplin Boys. The Honkies are con­cen­trated in south­west Mis­souri, espe­cially around Joplin and Spring­field.   The ADL has iden­ti­fied dozens of active mem­bers of the Joplin Honkies, but their true num­bers are higher. Off­shoot gangs include the South­west Honkies and the 417 Honkies.
  • Peck­er­wood Mid­west: Mem­bers of this gang have been iden­ti­fied in both east­ern and west­ern Mis­souri, as well as across the south­ern part of the state (Spring­field to Cape Girardeau). ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 34 mem­bers and asso­ciates of this gang, though again, actual num­bers are con­sid­er­ably higher.
  • Fam­ily Val­ues: Fam­ily Val­ues is a smaller gang and not all mem­bers are hard­core white suprema­cists (some even asso­ciate with non-whites). How­ever, a num­ber of iden­ti­fied mem­bers do use com­mon white suprema­cist sym­bols such as swastikas, SS bolts, 14 and 88. A num­ber of gang mem­bers live in or around St. Louis and Springfield.
  • Aryan Cir­cle (AC):The Aryan Cir­cle is not native to Mis­souri but to Texas, where it is one of the largest white suprema­cist prison gangs. It has expanded into a num­ber of other states, recently mov­ing into Mis­souri largely as a result of recruit­ment from Indi­ana and gang mem­bers from fed­eral prison who returned or moved to Mis­souri. ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 23 active mem­bers and asso­ciates of Aryan Cir­cle in Mis­souri, espe­cially in north­east Missouri.

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July 2, 2013 0

Member Of Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Indicted After Violent Police Chase

On June 5, a Comal County, Texas, grand jury indicted a mem­ber of the Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas (ABT), one of the nation’s largest racist prison gangs, on numer­ous charges related to a 2012 high speed police chase.  The indict­ment charged ABT mem­ber Jimmy Ray “Okla­homa” Owen, 32, with aggra­vated assault against a pub­lic ser­vant with a deadly weapon, aggra­vated assault with a deadly weapon, evad­ing arrest with a vehi­cle and crim­i­nal mischief.aryan-brotherhood-texas-tatoo

The police chase began in Octo­ber 2012 after a police offi­cer in Bul­verde, north of San Anto­nio, spot­ted a pickup truck that had been reported stolen.  The offi­cer tried to stop the truck, but the dri­ver, Owen, allegedly refused to stop. A chase ensued in which Owen report­edly rammed two law enforce­ment vehi­cles before los­ing con­trol of the truck and hit­ting another vehi­cle. The col­li­sion flung Owen from the truck.

After the col­li­sion, offi­cers allegedly found cocaine and a hand­gun in Owen’s vehi­cle.  Owen was injured in the col­li­sion, so offi­cers trans­ported him to a hos­pi­tal in San Anto­nio for treat­ment.  How­ever, Owen allegedly escaped from the hos­pi­tal.  U.S. Mar­shals were able to locate Owen at a San Anto­nio hotel sev­eral days later. 

Vio­lence com­mit­ted by ABT mem­bers is com­mon; from its incep­tion in the mid-1980s, the ABT has been one of the most vio­lent gangs of any type in Texas.  Cur­rently, the ABT is the most vio­lent white suprema­cist group in the United States.   In Novem­ber 2012, a fed­eral grand jury in Hous­ton indicted 34 ABT mem­bers for allegedly con­spir­ing to par­tic­i­pate in rack­e­teer­ing activ­i­ties, three mur­ders, mul­ti­ple attempted mur­ders, kid­nap­pings, assaults, and con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute metham­phet­a­mine and cocaine.  Sev­eral mem­bers have already pleaded guilty. 

The Anti-Defamation League recently released a new report on the Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas, detail­ing its ori­gins, beliefs, orga­ni­za­tion, and violence.

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