Federal Prosecutor Withdraws from Texas D.A. Case over Security Fears
An assistant U.S. Attorney is Houston has withdrawn from a major prosecution against the Aryan Brotherhood.
The prosecutor, Jay Hileman, sent an email to one of the Brotherhood's defense attorneys, informing him that he was no longer on the case. It is widely believed that Hileman withdrew due to concerns and his and his family's security.
In the wake of the horrific murders of Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland and his wife, speculation, fueled by the media, has focused on the Aryan Brotherhood, a drug-trafficking crime syndicate with a significant presence in Texas. Police have not named a suspect in the murders and there is no known evidence tying the criminal gang to the murders, but the widespread media speculation of their involvement is having a dramatic ripple effect.
Hileman was part of a team bringing a major racketeering case against 34 members of the Brotherhood. An important component of the government's case is based on testimony from a former general of the Brotherhood, who is currently under very tight security.
The Justice Department will replace Hileman with another prosecutor from Washington, DC. The U.S. Attorney's office in Houston released the following statement:
The case currently pending in the Southern District of Texas has been and will continue to be worked by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas in partnership with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
The Aryan Brotherhood has morphed over the years from a prison gang to a major middleman in the drug trade. Whether or not the gang was involved in the recent murders in Kaufman County, it is clear that the most violent elements of the drug trade are now active in Texas.
Follow Mike Flynn on Twitter @flynn1776.