Steven Walter Cooke, 47, a reputed high ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) prison/street gang and a previously convicted felon, has been sentenced to prison for possessing firearms, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer for the Department of Justice Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas José Angel Moreno announced today.
U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller sentenced Cooke to 96 months in federal prison without parole and a three-year-term of supervised release following his prison term. Cooke, identified in previous court proceedings as a "general" of the ABT, pleaded guilty on Feb. 16, 2010, to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.
At the time of his guilty plea, Cooke, who has multiple prior convictions dating back to 1987 for aggravated robbery, robbery, possession of crack cocaine and theft of firearms, admitted to having possessed 13 firearms at his Tomball, Texas, area residence between April 2007 and Oct. 23, 2008. The firearms, including seven rifles - two of which were ROMARM/CUGIR 7.62 caliber from Romania, five shotguns and one Sterling .380 caliber pistol, were seized following the execution of a state search warrant. In addition to the firearms, more than 300 rounds of ammunition and body armor were also seized from Cooke’s residence.
The search warrant was obtained as a result of an investigation conducted by special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the assistance of the Tomball Police Department, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Department Gang Unit, Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Gang Targeting, Enforcement and Coordinating Center. A camera containing photographs of Cooke carrying one of the Romanian rifles was seized from Cooke’s vehicle in mid-October 2008 by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office prompting the investigation leading to these federal charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman and Trial Attorney David N. Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit prosecuted the case.