The arrest of Adrian “Skitz” Apodaca, who claims to be a founding member of the violent neo-Nazi Vinlanders Social Club, came after undercover FBI agents set up their own phony white supremacy gang and invited him to a meeting where he saw money change hands, newly filed court documents disclose.
The investigation was launched, the FBI said in court papers, “to mitigate any potential threats posed by Apodaca and to determine whether he was engaging in criminal activities.”
Since its formation in 2003, several members of the Vinlanders have been arrested for violent crimes throughout the United States. The neo-Nazi gang –– embracing a racist, pagan religion known as Odinism –– has a reputation for drinking, fist-fighting brawls and violent intimidation.
During the five-month FBI sting investigation, court documents allege, Apodaca made secretly recorded statements that he and other Vinlanders had “killed a lot of people” while posing as police officers and ripping off drug houses in Arizona.
Apodaca, 44, was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 28 at a motel in Valdosta, Ga., and was subsequently indicted by a grand jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., on federal charges related to murder-for hire; two charges of attempted drug possession with intent to distribute, robbery, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and possession of ammunition by a felon.
At Tuesday’s detention hearing before a U.S. magistrate judge in West Palm Beach, prosecutors will argue Apodaca poses a flight risk or is a danger to the community, or both, to seek his detention before trial, now set for January in Fort Lauderdale.
The case was put together when undercover FBI agents, posing as “affluent violent members of a criminal organization with white supremacy extremist beliefs,” held a secret meeting at a Miami-area warehouse and invited Apodaca, the court documents say.
During a meeting in September, court documents say, Apodaca said he wanted to do business with the group after he witnessed money exchange hands between the undercover agents acting as white supremacist criminals.
At a subsequent meeting at a Broward County trailer park with an FBI undercover agent posing as a higher-ranking member of the phony white supremacy group, Apodaca “related his involvement with the Vinlander Social Club in Arizona which he described as a skinhead group,” court documents say.
In a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI, Apodaca boasted that he and the Vinlanders had done “contract work, collecting debts” in Arizona and were involved in fighting with different criminal cartels, presumably for control of drug and weapons trafficking.
He related a story in which he and his Vinlander associates “hit a drug house, posing as cops, during which one of his associates mowed everybody down,” and fled with a million dollars, court documents say.
Federal authorities have not disclosed if that claim has been related to unsolved crimes in Arizona.