“The cartels are looking for partners, bridges, to connect their activities inside the United States, and the supremacists have become an important force on the streets and inside prisons,” according to Larry Gaines, gang expert and president of the criminal justice department at San Bernardino State University.
Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, the notoriously violent organization founded in the California penitentiary system in 1967, are serving as hitmen for Mexican cartels and offering added protection and intimidation against rival groups, according to a report by the National Gang Intelligence Center.
“Some members of the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) have business relationships with Mexican cartels that bring illegal drugs into California for the AB to distribute. The Aryan Brotherhood is notoriously violent and is often involved in murder for hire,” the report says.
Likewise, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirms that its own research indicates that white supremacist gangs are currently collaborating with Mexican cartels in car theft operations and arms trafficking to Mexico, primarily in Texas, California and Chicago.
Although the first investigation into the collaboration between the Aryan Brotherhood and the Mexican Mafia was conducted by the Los Angeles bureau of the FBI, that office told La Opinión that it does not currently have any intelligence supporting their collaboration. This, despite the fact that the National Gang Intelligence Center (which the FBI is a part of) confirms the ties between the two groups.
In 1984, the FBI’s Los Angeles bureau issued a report stating that Aryan Brotherhood gang members were facing longer prison terms than Latino gang members and had become the major force of organized crime inside prisons.
Several prison guards were allegedly killed by AB gang members as a sign of intimidation.
The report also states that both groups came to a “peace” agreement that they would not kill a member of a rival racial group. If the Aryan Brotherhood had a problem with a Mexican, for example, they would pass the case onto the Mexican Mafia who would order his execution; and the AB would be responsible for punishing its own members.
The FBI agents that conducted the six-month investigation warned that many of the AB gang members would be released from prison in a few years, and the alliance between the two gangs would continue on the streets. The theory, according to new reports, has become a reality.
Soldiers in the Service of Criminals
According to a white supremacist doctrine, the Aryan Brotherhood, whose symbol is “666,” has shifted from an organization whose mission was to protect itself from other racial groups to a group that seeks power and control over sectors of the drug market.
But the Aryan Brotherhood is also secondarily financing other extremist political groups like the gangs Peckerwoods, Public Enemy Number One and Nazi Low Riders that it has formed alliances with to distribute drugs. “The drug trafficking money is indirectly serving the purposes of supremacists,” said Wes McBride, executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association.
The Aryan Brotherhood formed a coalition with the group Nazi Low Riders (NLR) to serve as street soldiers in drug and arms trafficking. But a series of mass arrests of NLR members changed the structure of their business.
In March 2006, Ty Fowles, a resident of Garden Grove and alleged leader of the NLR, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Fowles was charged with extortion, conspiracy to
distribute drugs, witness tampering, robbery, murder and attempted murder. The same year, Richard Klein, 35, and his wife Kylie, 25, were convicted of selling methamphetamines on the streets of Orange County to fund the NLR and the families of its incarcerated members.
With members of NLR divided, Donald Reed “Popeye” Mazza, the leader of Public Enemy Number One, joined the Aryan Brotherhood in 2005. Public Enemy Number One, also known as Death Squad, has grown immensely. Although it has a racist ideology, the group is primarily dedicated to making money, particularly in the meth trade.
Authorities suspect that there could be hundreds of these members operating throughout Southern California. Meanwhile, federal reports state that Aryan Brotherhood squads were or are still part of the U.S. Armed Forces and have employed their military tactics in their own operations.
On the streets of Lancaster and Palmdale, east of Los Angeles, anti-drug agents have discovered alliances between gangs of different races working for the cartels, according to Lt. Erik Ruble of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
“In prison, divisions and racial problems are still strong, but on the street, the structure is different. Now it’s based on a union of power and economics where racial divisions are unnecessary,” says Ruble.
In the past, meth and Ecstasy production in California was controlled by white gangs. Now the market is completely dominated by Mexican cartels, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The spokesperson said he is not aware of agreements between white supremacist gangs and Latino gangs, but he confirmed cases of white and Asian gangs working together on large-scale synthetic drug operations.
“The amount of money these gangs handle is massive. We had a case of the wife of a member of [the Mexican Mafia] who had half a million dollars in cash at home, and expensive properties in several cities,” said Mrozek. “The reality is that today if you want cocaine, the Mexican cartels have the big market, same with methamphetamines, and there are enough drugs for the cartels to have to find new customers and systems of distribution.”