Police in Las Vegas say they have busted a white supremacist gang called The Aryan Warriors after a sting operation that took months, and have members behind bars on a slew of charges that include drug trafficking and murder.
The Clark County Gang Task Force and Las Vegas Metro Police Department Major Case Team announced this week that they have arrested several suspected members of the gang, a violent organization that promotes white supremacy. As KSNV reported, the bust was a coordinated effort between local law enforcement agencies and a number of federal agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations.
“It’s a total team effort,” said Daniel Neill, the DEA Assistant Special Agent in charge of overseeing the sting operation.
Police said that the suspected gang members have been hit with more than 150 different charges ranging from drug trafficking to murder. There were eight gang members arrested this week, and others have been taken into custody in recent months as well.
The DEA said that the gang originated in Nevada prisons in the 1970s and began operating on the outside as members would be released from prison and remained loyal to the gang.
“As members of the gang leave the prison system to return to society, they’re tasked with continuing to commit crimes on the outside in order to fund the gang’s activities, and benefit the leadership which is still inside the prison,” a DEA special agent told KSNV. “Everything from drug trafficking to fraudulent checks, credit card fraud, identify theft.”
The bust of the white supremacist gang comes amid growing national concern over extremist violence from those who adhere to white supremacist ideology. A mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, is being investigated as a potential hate crime after the alleged shooter’s manifesto was posted online, showing rhetoric toward immigrants that matches white supremacist groups.
Donald Trump’s administration has come under fire from critics who say they are not doing enough to address the rising threat of white supremacy. As Salon reported, the administration hid a Department of Justice report that found all of the race-based instances of domestic terrorism last year were carried out be suspected white supremacists.
As the report noted, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee had asked the administration for statistics related to white supremacist acts of violence, but were told it was not available. At the same time, the Department of Justice was circulating the report through federal agencies.