HOUSTON, TX.–35-year-old Clay Jarrad Kirkland, “Diesel,” and 36-year-old David Orlando Roberts, “Chopper,” admitted they are members of the dangerous Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABTX) and pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering each before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake yesterday.
ABTX members, Kirkland and Roberts included, allegedly conspired to commit murder, robbery, arson, and kidnapping as a part of their gang duties. Drug trafficking was also common within the group, which would reportedly meet on a regular schedule to collect dues and commit assaults. Although most assaults were committed against members of rivaling gangs, some were also committed against fellow ABTX members as discipline for un-sanctioned conduct.
Kirkland and Roberts have a hearing scheduled for October 27–both men face up to life behind bars for their alleged criminal activity in relation to the ABTX. They are only two of 36 alleged gang members charged with racketeering–of that number, 23 of them have pled guilty.
The ABTX, which was established in the Texas prison system in the late 1960s, allegedly enforces rules and discipline among members through threats of robbery, violence, and murder. Members supposedly commit wrongdoing when they do not follow “direct orders” from high-ranking ABTX members.
The gang had official rules and a detailed organization structure, which were outlined in a “Constitution” that was distributed to members in various locations. Prospective new gang members had to be “sponsored” by an existing member. They then had to go through a trial period, completing various assignments.
The mainstream media’s past coverage of ABTX activity has resulted in the gang being branded a “white supremacist” group. This labeling clearly suggests committed crimes involve a racial motivation. Furthermore, an indictment released by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, described the ABTX as “a ‘whites-only’ prison-based gang with thousands of members.”
However, as Breitbart News reported in the past, most available information and prior incidents suggest the group is not motivated by race at all, but rather by profits from drug trafficking in conjunction with Mexican cartels.
More than 150 pages of FBI internal documents provide strong evidence that the ABTX has a long history of working with Mexican cartels. “The purpose of the AB is now power and is not a racial organization as it has been deemed in the past,” the FBI document says. “The AB’s continue to be aligned with members of the Mexican Mafia (EME) and certain motorcycle type inmates.” The Mexican Mafia is a group that commits crimes and traffics drugs on U.S. soil on behalf of Mexican cartels.
At this time, it is unclear if the recent racketeering case involving Kirkland and Roberts can be tied to Mexican cartels. The Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate