Tuesday, April 2, 2013

DA's deaths may be centered in RICO indictments

Kaufman County – An extremely wary law enforcement community  throughout Texas continues to watch each others' backs following the murder of the DA and his wife in this rural community south of Dallas.

Someone kicked in their door in the wee hours of Easter Sunday, and laid down a barrage, according to a neighbor who said he looked out his back door between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m., when “I heard a rapid succession of gunshots.”

When Mike Griffith of Forney said he didn't see anyone or hear anything further, he went back to bed.

Lawmen later found District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife shot to death.

Two months earlier, a car load of black-clad, masked gunmen ran down Mark Hasse, a veteran organized crime prosecutor with experience in the Dallas DA's office that dated back to the 80's who joined Mr. McLelland in 2010.

They put 9 shots in his head, sprayed bullets in the air, and took off in a silver 4-door sedan.

Many law men and news hounds are starting to point to the federal racketeering indictment of 34 of the Aryan Brotherhood a grand jury handed down on October 22. It led to a roundup of 14 in November; while 15 were already in custody, 5 remained at large.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris called them “the worst of the worst.” Said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, “Today's takedown represents a devastating blow to the leadership of ABT. Through violence and intimidation, ABT allegedly exerts control over prison populations and neighborhoods and instills fear in those who come in contact with its members.”

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas got its charter from the California prison gang, which started in 1967 at San Quentin. They are described by Texas Department of Corrections officials and the Rangers as “impossibly violent.”

The Kaufman County DA's office was part of the multi-agency task force that developed the cases on the racketeering indictments. In that sweep, they prosecuted James Patrick Crawford, 36, for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, a drug charge, and “directing gang activities.” The Kaufman prosecutors persuaded a jury to send him to the penitentiary for a life term.

Not long after the November raid, DPS released a warning that the Aryan Brotherhood “could be formulation plea opposite law coercion officers who helped furnish a indictment,” according to an underworld bulletin board.

“High-ranking members...are endangered in arising orders to inflict 'mass casualties or death' to law coercion officials who were endangered in cases where Aryan Brother of Texas (members) are confronting life sentences or a genocide penalty, a DPS circular said...”

The Texas Department of Public Safety did issue a warning in December, advising prosecutors and lawmen that the AB could be “planning retaliation against law enforcement officials” involved in the Houston indictment.

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