HOUSTON (KHOU) – A multi-year investigation has dealt a "devastating blow" to a notoriously violent Texas prison gang, according to the feds.
Thirty-four suspected members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang, including four top leaders,have been indicted on federal charges in Houston.
"You've heard people talk about, in order to kill a snake you have to cut its head off. That's what this team has done," said FBI Special Agent-in Charge Stephen L. Morris.
The white supremacist gang has been running a violent organized crime ring in and out of federal and state prisons for decades, according to investigators.
They are indicted for murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, racketeering and drug trafficking. Ten defendants have been charged with offenses that are eligible for the death penalty. The remaining 24 defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The leaders ruled with fear, intimidation and extreme violence, according to Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.
As charged, ABT uses extreme violence and threats of violence to maintain internal discipline and retaliate against those believed to be cooperating with law enforcement," Breuer said. "Through violence and intimidation, ABT allegedly exerts control over prison populations and neighborhoods, and instills fear in those who come in contact with its members."
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have worked together for years to bring the ABT down.
"This multi-year investigation and indictment clearly targets the worst-of-the-worst among the ABT," said Morris.
According to court documents, the ABT has a detailed and uniform organizational structure, with territory divided into five regions, each run by a "general."
The indictment charges four generals, Terry Ross Blake, 55, aka "Big Terry;" Larry Max Bryan, 51, aka "Slick;" William David Maynard, 42, aka "Baby Huey;" and Charles Lee Roberts, 68, aka "Jive," with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT, among other charges.
Three suspects were still on the loose Friday afternoon. They are Christopher Morris, Stephen Mullen and Billy Weatherred. They are believed to be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system. The gang modeled itself after the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the 1960s.
This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General as well as sheriff's offices in Harris, Montgomery, Orange, Tarrant, Atascosa and Waller Counties, police departments in Houston, Baytown, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Carrollton and Alvin, and district attorney's Offices in Harris, Montgomery, Atascosa and Kaufman Counties.