Federal authorities have charged 57 members of several different white supremacist gangs in a large drug trafficking and kidnapping conspiracy based in the North Texas area. Police, Feds, and ATF agents arrested 42 of the gang members last week across the North Texas area, US Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said on Monday during a news conference. Nine others were already in custody for other crimes, and six more were still on the run, she said.
Dallas News.com (dallasnews) reports, the defendants are linked to several violent and racist prison gangs that include the Aryan Circle, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Peckerwoods, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, and the Dirty White boys, the 55-page indictment says.
“These white supremacist hangs have long plagued our communities and prisons.” Nealy Cox said.
The conspiracy to sell methamphetamine cited in the indictment ran from October 2015 through April 2018 and employed “stash houses” to store the drug, according to the indictment. The indictment also includes charges related to heroin, firearms, and U47700, a potent synthetic opiod known as “Pink.”
Four of the defendants kidnapped a non-member in January over an alleged $600 drug debt and held him in Grand Prairie for several days during which they tortured him, Nealy Cox said. They put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him.
“Ultimately, the victim narrowly escaped with his life.” Nealy Cox said.
Agents seized about $376,500 in cash and intercepted more than 190 kilograms of methamphetamine along with 31 firearms as part of their investigation, Nealy Cox said.
Tarrant County, Texas
One thing I can say from experience, is that your prison sentence is not over the day you are released from custody. Many times, doing your stretch behind bars was the easy part. Life is already hard enough as it is without restrictions. Sometimes it seems like supervised release is one of those things that was put into place to make your life harder than it needs to be. Nothing about supervised release seems to be constructive or even a little helpful in your rehabilitation or insertion back into society. Supervised release has always seemed to me like some sort of shameful badge that is placed on someone. When a person gets fed up with the stigma placed upon them by wearing this badge that’s meant to dehumanize you, many people usually end up violating the terms of their supervised release, which is very easy to do. Supervised release has language in the agreement like” you should not consort, talk to, or have contact with convicted felons.” That sounds good…..if you live in an upstanding working class neighborhood, full of people who’ve never done shit in their lives. For most people, this is not a real reality. They’re released from prison, right back into the same neighborhood we’re they’ve done the crime that sent them to prison in the first place. Neighborhoods where anyone is liable to be a “convicted felon.” From the cashier at the corner store to the mechanic that fixes your vehicle. Anybody is liable to have had something in their past. According to supervised release, you are responsible to ask every single person you encounter, if they’re a convicted felon. If you happen to be caught in the vicinity of someone who is a convicted felon, you can be violated……even if you had no idea this person was a convicted felon. I’ve heard people run the line “if you follow the law, you won’t have to worry about it.” Sounds good, until you realize just how unfair many of the laws are….especially once you find yourself caught up in a system that seems to profit just from you being a part of it. But, what happens when this system that is already stacked against you, turns into a political tool? Well, people like 43-year old Crystal Mason from Texas, find themselves being made an example out of for very ridiculous reasons.
Ms. Mason was sentenced to five years behind bars for “voting illegally in the 2016 election while on supervised release from federal prison.” Crystal Mason testified in court that she did not know that her 2011 fraud conviction made her ineligible to vote in a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. In Texas, voting illegally is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Mason’s attorney J. Warren St. John called the sentence “outrageous.” “The punishment does not fit the crime.” Warren told NBC News on Friday.
“She voted in good faith. She didn’t intentionally vote illegal and that’s the whole issue.” St. John’s words about his client ring true, especially when you consider the fact that Mason did not falsify any information on the voting form or use any half-truths. Which has to make you wonder how a court could say Mason purposely attempted to deceive anyone when voting. The fact that she used her real information clearly shows that her intention was not harmful or deceitful. Mason was probably unaware of the voting laws in Texas, and like most people thought it was her civic duty to vote in what became the most important presidential election of our lives. But of course, being a felon prevents you from getting the benefit of the doubt that others get, and being a black felon just makes you guilty regardless. Laws are stacked against a certain population of the United States by design, but when those laws are used as a political vehicle, we allow ourselves to cross over into some whole other stuff. The injustices in this Country committed against black, brown, and poor people has got to stop. There is only so much pushing a person will take before they begin to push back…..especially when it begins to feel as if your survival is dependent on the pushback.
Suspect Trevor Weldon Ingram
Philly’s own, The Almighty Roots Crew were scheduled to perform at the South By SouthWest (SXSW) Festival in Austin Texas on Saturday, alongside Ludacris, Tank, Jesse Reyez and a few others. The show was canceled due to reports of a bomb threat. If you recall, Austin is the place that three package bombs went off last week killing two black people and injuring a Mexican woman. Police still will not say if minorities were purposely targeted in those incidents. In any case, you can see why Bud Light took the threat seriously enough to cancel the event, when 26-year old Trevor Weldon Ingram allegedly emailed Live Nation Music on Saturday afternoon, saying there was a bomb planted at the Fair Market venue.
Variety Magazine (@variety) reports, officers searched the venue and decided that there was no threat to be found. But Bud Light, the show’s sponsor, decided to cancel the event in the interest of audience safety. (And probably to remove themselves from even the possibility of being sued just in case something did go wrong.) The problem was that the announcement was not made until a large crowd had already gathered in anticipation of the show. Fans were upset about the last-minute cancellation, but some weren’t really all that surprised that something like this would happen.
Acccording to police reports, police were able to identify and locate the suspect believed to be tied to this threat and have a warrant signed for his arrest by 11:08 pm. Seven minutes later, Ingram was arrested and taken into custody. He was booked on third degree felony charges of making a terroristic threat.
Three package bombs have gone off in the past two weeks. The local leader of the NAACP told NBC News that the targets seem to be prominent black families. New York Magazine (@NYMAG) reports, the families of Stephen House, who was killed on March 2, and Draylen Mason, who was killed on Monday, have known each other for a long time and even attended the same church, according to NAACP president Nelson Linder. Linder said that a third bomb, which injured 75-year old Esperenza Herrera, may have been intended for another person who might be connected to the House and Mason families.
The Austin police agree that the bombings are related. However, they haven’t suggested a motive as of yet. They also haven’t said whether or not they believe the victims were targeted. Police chief Brian Manley told reporters that they’re not ruling out that hate is at the core of this crime.
Reports of hate crimes rose by 46% in 2016. But the total number of hate crimes reported were suspiciously low, especially when you consider that Austin is a city with nearly 950,000 residents. In 2015 there were 13 hate crimes reported. That number rose to 19 in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual report on hate crimes. Some are skeptical of the Texas hate crime numbers.
“Relative to its population, Texas reports fewer hate crimes than other big states. Something is wrong when Texas, as a state has fewer hate crimes than some of the major cities in the US.” said hate-crime expert, criminologist, attorney who directs the Center For The Study Of Hate And Extremism, Brian Levin.