The Department of Justice brought charges against 16 individuals associated with the Aryan Brotherhood for their alleged involvement in racketeering, murder and other violent crimes extending inside California prisons.
The criminal complaint, unsealed Thursday, was the result of a lengthy probe into drug-trafficking and murder both inside and outside of multiple California prisons, according to the Justice Department. The alleged criminal activity spanned from 2011 up until 2016.
Nine of the individuals were arrested on various federal charges related to organized criminal activity while in prison. Six of the nine defendants, including Ronald Yandell, 56, and William Sylvester, 51, have been serving life sentences for murder.
Yandell and Sylvester, who shared a cell at Folsom State Prison, allegedly spearheaded the extensive heroin and methamphetamine trafficking operation. Using cellphones that were smuggled into the prison, the duo was able to communicate with other individuals associated with the Aryan Brotherhood, according to the Justice Department. The contraband cellphones opened a line of communication, enabling them such power as to oversee trafficking activity and orders murders.
Aryan Brotherhood Members and Associates Charged with Racketeering for Directing Murders and Other Violent Crimes from Inside California Prisons https://t.co/GZSTI5buc1
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) June 6, 2019
The drug-trafficking operation was organized throughout an expansive network, which reached as far as the streets of Sacramento, Southern California, Las Vegas and Missouri. (RELATED: White Supremacist Prison Gang Charged With Murder Of Fellow Member)
Five others were also arrested in relation to the investigation — the Justice Department revealed they were residents of Menifee, Sacramento, La Palma, Citrus Heights and Los Angeles, but declined to provide further details on the charges. Two additional individuals, Kathleen Nolan of Calimesa and Matthew Hall of Manhattan Beach, have outstanding arrest warrants.
Sylvester allegedly murdered another inmate in October 2011 and nearly four years later, associates of the Aryan Brotherhood murdered a rival gang member in the same facility, according to court documents. In total, Aryan Brotherhood members murdered five inmates and had been conspiring to murder others.
Aryan Brotherhood members and associates murdered or ordered the murders of other inmates in High Desert State Prison and Salinas Valley Prison, as well as plotting multiple other murders, alleges the criminal complaint.
Kevin MacNamara and Kristen Demar, who are both named in the criminal complaint, allegedly visited Folsom State Prison in August 2016 to smuggle methamphetamine, cellphones and tobacco to Sylvester. MacNamara is a lawyer and Demar allegedly posed as a paralegal during the visit. After prison guards discovered the contraband, Demar was advised to peg the smuggling operation on the Aryan Brotherhood.
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