By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
The Aryan Brotherhood is a white supremacist gang formed in San Quentin State Prison, Calif., in 1964.
The group was initially founded as a way of protecting white inmates from other prisoners in the prison system but has expanded its influence outside the prison system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Web site.
In years since the group formed, it has engaged in drug and firearms trafficking among other illegal activities.
A federal indictment released Thursday accuses 19 people said to have connections to the Aryan Brotherhood of racketeering charges that allege the use of murder and other violence to solidify the prison gang’s presence in New Mexico.
According to the indictment, the Aryan Brotherhood in New Mexico is considered a subchapter of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood.
There are two competing factions within the state, the indictment said.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said documented Aryan Brotherhood members are not common in eastern New Mexico.
Gang members are typically proud of their allegiance to the Aryan Brotherhood and do not hide it, Chandler said. Since the gang is prison based and most members are recruited while incarcerated, Chandler said they are easily documented while in and when exiting the prison system.