By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
A Roosevelt County farmer is accused of entering into a bargain with the Aryan Brotherhood to provide chemicals for methamphetamine production in exchange for the killing of rancher Jimmy “Bo” Chunn, according to a federal indictment.
Donald Taylor, 27, of Rogers is accused of shooting Chunn as a trade for 800 gallons of anhydrous ammonia to be provided by Billy Jo Watson, 42, according to a federal indictment released Thursday night.
Anhydrous ammonia is a chemical used as a fertilizer by farmers that can be used in manufacturing methamphetamine.
Chunn, 71, was found shot to death in his Causey home. He was killed around July 4, 2005.
Watson led undercover agents to the chemicals during the course of the investigation and shared information about the plan, according to the indictment.
The arrangement played into an overall attempt by members of the Aryan Brotherhood to begin a New Mexico chapter of the prison-born gang, the indictment said.
Taylor, known as “Wally,” is ranked as a lieutenant in the gang, the indictment said.
Taylor is charged with racketeering and murder, according to the indictment. Watson is charged with interstate racketeering and conspiracy to commit manufacturing methamphetamine over 50 grams.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said Taylor is a documented member of the Aryan Brotherhood who established his membership while serving prison time on unrelated charges.
Watson has no known ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, Chandler said. Chunn was also not connected with the Brotherhood, he said.
Chandler said he would not discuss a reason Watson would want Chunn killed.
“The investigation is still unfolding and that’s one of the things that we’re still trying to finalize,” he said.
Local and federal authorities began an investigation two years ago that resulted in the Monday indictments of 19 people connected to the Aryan Brotherhood.
Chandler said the investigation into the death of Chunn converged with the federal investigation because of Taylor’s affiliation with the gang.
Taylor was arrested shortly after the shooting on an unrelated probation violation, Chandler said.
The indictments were announced late Thursday by acting U.S. Attorney Larry Gomez of New Mexico. His office reported some of the defendants were arrested in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, while others were already in custody serving time in state prisons.
The indictments allege violations of federal law including violent crimes — murder, kidnapping and drug and firearm offenses — in aid of racketeering.
“In the past, the Aryan Brotherhood was primarily concerned with the protection of “white” inmates and white supremacy/separatism. The Aryan Brotherhood has expanded its focus to include illegal activities for profit,” one of the indictments reads.
The court filings also touch on what’s expected of gang members, how the gang is organized and how it communicates with members.
One of the indictments accuses a dozen people of plotting to kill former Otero County Sheriff’s Deputy Billy Anders. He was sentenced to a year in prison for the December 2004 shooting death of Earl Flippen, who prosecutors say was the leader of the Aryan Brotherhood in New Mexico at the time.
Anders and Deputy Robert Hedman had responded to reports of gunshots at Flippen’s home and noticed blood on the floor. Flippen refused to let them in, so Anders called for help and Hedman went to the back of the house.
According to state police, Flippen shot Hedman in the back of the house, then Anders exchanged shots with Flippen near the front. Anders took Flippen’s gun and handcuffed him before going to check on his partner. After finding Hedman dead, Anders returned and shot Flippen.
Inside the home, police found the body of Flippen’s pregnant girlfriend in a closet.
According to the indictment, Aryan Brotherhood members in Texas ordered a hit on Anders and a gang member in New Mexico recruited an undercover police officer to carry out the job. The officer had been promised a truck, a safe house and a weapon.
The indictments also allege the gang carried out the murder of a prospective gang member who had contacted law enforcement as well as the beating of an inmate at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility who had fallen out with gang leadership.
The Aryan Brotherhood in New Mexico, according to the indictments, is considered to be in its organizational phase. Once released from prison, members are expected to remain loyal to the gang and further its goals through criminal activity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.