The U.S. Department of Justice is hailing the convictions of two kingpins in the Aryan Brotherhood of Mississippi gang, culminating a 30-month investigation resulting in 42 arrests.
The Aryan Brotherhood of Mississippi (ABM) white supremacy gang –– whose members get a “13” tattoo for the 13th letter (M) in the alphabet –– operates in and out of prisons in the state. Authorities say the ABM is linked to racketeering, illegal drug trafficking, kidnappings, murders and other federal crimes.
The Aryan Brotherhood originally was a California-based prison gang, formed in the 1960s, which later branched out nationwide, with semi-autonomous branches in virtually every state in the nation, including Mississippi.
The ABM was founded in 1984, modeled after the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood of California. In early 2013, the leadership of the ABM began efforts to unify with the Aryan Brotherhood of California in order to achieve national recognition, authorities say.
In Mississippi, authorities say ABM “had a detailed and uniform organizational structure divided into three separate geographic areas of control — the northern, central and southern regions of the state.”
The state was overseen and directed by a three-member “wheel” commonly referred to as “spokes,” according to federal investigators. During the times alleged, the wheel of the ABM was comprised of “spokes” Frank “State Raised” Owens Jr., 44, of D’Iberville, Miss.; Perry Mask, 46, of Corinth, Miss.; Steven Hubanks, 45, of Rienzi, Miss.; and Brandon “Oak” Creel, 46, of Ellisville, Miss.
Owens and Eric Glenn Parker, 35, of Richton, Miss., were convicted April 13 by a federal jury in Aberdeen, Miss., of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy and murder.
Owens additionally was convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder. Parker also was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine. They both face up to life in prison when they are sentenced on a date not yet set.
“The Criminal Division and its partners at U.S. Attorney’s Offices appropriately use racketeering laws to target the worst-of-the worst gang members and the leaders of criminal enterprises like the Aryan Brotherhood of Mississippi,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.
“Just as we did in the recent Aryan Brotherhood prosecutions in Texas and Oklahoma, we have taken great strides in dismantling a violent gang with a dangerous and repulsive philosophy,” Caldwell said.
As is common among with white supremacy prison gangs, new members of ABM had to be sponsored by an existing member and served a probationary period. Prospects are required to signed an oath of secrecy and declare a lifetime commitment to the ABM.
The ABM enforced its rules through violence and threats in a hierarchical chain-of-command, authorities said. Members who didn’t carry out orders from higher-ups faced punishment ranging from a written violation to a beating or death.
A violation meant a minor assault, while an “S.O.S.” (smash on sight) order meant a serious assault often resulting in the removal of the member’s ABM gang tattoo by knife or blow torch. A “K.O.S.” (kill on sight) order resulted in the murder of a rival gang member or of an ABM member or associate.
In addition to the letter “13,” ABM members often had tattoos incorporating Nazi-style symbols including the Swastika and the Iron Cross. Investigators said the most coveted tattoo was the Schutzstaffel (SS) lightning bolts, designating a “thunder warrior” or ABM executioner status, a rank only obtained after “three successful violent missions.”