Two Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Gang Members Sentenced for Racketeering Assault

WASHINGTON – Two members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in an aggravated assault that took place in Tomball, Texas, in September 2008, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Benjamin Dillon, aka, “Tuff,” 39, was sentenced on May 11, 2012, to 41 months in prison. Justin Northrup, aka, “Ruthless,” 27, was sentenced to 63 months in prison on April 27, 2012.

The defendants, who are both from the greater Houston-area, pleaded guilty to racketeering aggravated assault for their role in an attack against an ABT prospect member. The defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. in the Southern District of Texas.

According to court documents, both defendants were members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), a powerful race-based, state-wide organization that operated inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and the United States. The ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system. As alleged in the indictment, it modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s. According to court documents, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism. Over time, however, the ABT has expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.

The ABT enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise. Members, and oftentimes associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”

According to court documents, Dillon and Northrup, along with 10 fellow ABT gang members, participated in the beating of an ABT prospect member at the home of another ABT gang leader, Steven Walter Cooke, 48, aka “Stainless,” in Tomball, Texas, on Sept. 22, 2008. The ABT prospect, who sustained serious bodily injury, was beaten by ABT gang members because he violated certain ABT rules of conduct.

Eleven of the 12 co-defendants previously pleaded guilty to violent crimes in aid of racketeering aggravated assault. The 12th ABT gang member, David Harlow, aka, “Bam Bam,” 43, was found guilty at trial by Senior Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. on March 21, 2012.

This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Texas Rangers; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department; the Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Tomball Police Department; Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Inspector General; and the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman of the Southern District of Texas in Houston.