Aryan Brotherhood of Texas



     ABT Tattoo.jpg

    Status: Active
    AKA: ABT, AB Texas, Texas Aryan Brotherhood
    Formed: 1981
    Area of Operations: Texas, U.S. Federal Prison System
    Headquarters: Texas
    Ideology: Social (White Supremacist)
    Group Size: 4,000 Members [1]
    Leader: "General" John "Thumper" Clark, founder
    Group Affiliations: Aryan Brotherhood, Aryan Circle, Dirty White Boys, Ku Klux Klan (KKK)


    Organizational History 

    The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) was created in the 1980s as an off-shoot of the original Aryan Brotherhood, based out of California, and created in the 1960s.  Most of its members reside in Texas, although they have spread into neighboring states.  The organization is race-based, only allowing whites to join, and operates throughout Texas and the federal prison system.  Most members are recruited in prison, and have no former gang affiliation before being incarcerated.

    In the 1960s the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) prison system honored a “good behavior” code for inmates. Within the walls of the prison, these special inmates exhibiting exemplary behavior were largely allowed to do whatever they wanted. The wardens permitted them to carry weapons and control the security situation for each bloc.   Most of the inmates who were chosen as “building tenders” were white men.  In the 1980s, this system was abolished by a federal judge because of violent treatment by these building tenders on other inmates.  The rise in violence was immediate and many individuals joined together along racial lines into gangs to provide protection and take advantage of any power void left by inexperienced TDC personnel.  In 1981, a group of white inmates in Texas reached out to Aryan Brotherhood members in California to ask for permission to capitalize on the name, and image of violence and terror already held by the original group in California prisons.  The California group granted permission, and a new constitution was drafted under the title of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.  The ABT’s primary purpose was to protect themselves from other races and to gain control of the informal prison structure. 

    Throughout the next two decades, older members began recognizing that new, younger members were more violent, and more focused on extending the group’s reach outside of the prison walls.  In 2003, ABT split; a younger more vicious group took control, with the strict purpose of becoming an organized crime group and monopolizing the methamphetamine market. In February 2011, eleven members of the organization were indicted under violent crimes in aid of racketeering (VICAR) in the greater Houston area for their roles in the assault against a gang prospect in Tomball, TX.

    February 2013 saw more than 30 ABT members, indicted under federal racketeering and conspiracy charges. Included in the indictment were four alleged ABT generals: Terry Ross Blake, 55, aka “Big Terry”; Larry Max Bryan, 51, aka “Slick”; William David Maynard, 42, aka “Baby Huey”; and Charles Lee Roberts, 68, aka “Jive.” [2]

    The ABT is currently suspected of being involved in the January 31st murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, and the March 30th double homicide of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife.  According to a statewide bulletin circulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, “High-ranking members ... are involved in issuing orders to inflict 'mass casualties or death' to law enforcement officials who were involved in cases where Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are facing life sentences or the death penalty.”[3] Hasse was shot to death the same day two ABT members pled guilty in federal court. [3]


    The ABT has a paramilitary structure; the top tier is a five-man committee of generals, called The Wheel.  All generals are equal in rank, control their own geographic region, and order hits and enforce the by-laws of the group’s constitution, centered on white supremacy.  In addition to generals, other military ranks (e.g. major and lieutenant) are used throughout the structure of the ABT. [3]


    In June 2008, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agency conducted a search of the property of one ABT member and discovered at least 13 weapons, which included rifles, shotguns, a .380 handgun, and more than 300 rounds of ammunition and body armor.


    Members outside of prison often take control of raising funds through the production and sale of methamphetamines and other drugs, as well as armed robbery and burglary operations.


    Most ABT members, similar to AB, are recruited in prison.  Membership in the group is a lifelong commitment. All group members acknowledge a “blood in, blood out” mentality.  All prospects are required to read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and follow the white nationalist banner of “1488”.  Fourteen refers to the 14 words established by David Lane of the white supremacist group The Order, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”.  Eighty-eight refers to a passage in Mein Kampf, or for the eighth letter of the alphabet, “H”, which references “Heil Hitler.”

    Often, recruits must show their loyalty to the group by completing an important task designated by leaders of the group, including murder, assault, robbery, or the like.  Many members wear group-related tattoos, the most common of which is referred to as “the patch” and features a shield with a sword and/or swastika.  Patches must be earned, usually through murder.


    Much of the group’s activities are centered on criminal enterprise.  ABT is considered an organized criminal group, and members are often brought up on racketeering charges, linked to murder and assaults, possession of illegal firearms, possession or distribution of illegal substances, robbery, burglary, and a slew of other crimes. While the ABT openly acknowledges a white supremacist ideology, it will at times align with criminal organizations of other ethnic groups in an effort to advance operational capabilities.  This practice is condoned by the constitution of the ABT, allowing “business transactions” in order to further its “mission and growth.” [3]


    ABT Members.jpg

    Members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. [4]

    ABT members II.jpg

    Two members of Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Steven Walter Cooke (left) and David Jason Michels (right), indicted under VICAR statutes in February 2011 for the beating of a gang prospect. [5]

    ABT 1.jpg

    An ABT tattoo. [6]

    ABT 2.jpg

    A member of ABT. [7]

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