Dozens of members of a white supremacist gang allegedly responsible for multiple acts of violence in Arkansas were charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors gave details of the indictments during a press conference in Russellville.
Most of the people arrested are from the Russellville-Dover area.
The indictment alleges that the New Aryan Empire (NAE) is a racketeering enterprise, which committed violent acts — attempted murder, kidnapping, and maiming — in support of its organization and its wide-ranging drug-trafficking operation.
Taking part in the announcement were Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Little Rock District Office and Acting Resident Agent in Charge Warren Newman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives Little Rock District Office.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, New Aryan Empire associates maintained their criminal enterprise by engaging in multiple acts of violence — including kidnapping and attempting to murder one informant, and stabbing and maiming two others suspected of cooperating with law enforcement,” said Benczkowski.
The case, named “To The Dirt,” which is in reference to the NAE slogan referring to the rule that members must remain in the NAE until they die, began in 2016 when ATF assisted the Pope County Sheriff’s Office in a murder investigation.
The murder involved members of the NAE, a white supremacist organization that began as a prison gang and has since expanded beyond the prisons. Investigators learned that several members of the NAE conducted meetings in Pope County and became involved in methamphetamine distribution.
On Oct. 3, 2017, the grand jury handed down an indictment charging 44 people from the Pope County area with numerous gun and drug violations. Since that indictment, one defendant -- Daniel Adame, 32, of Russellville — has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. A new indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, February 5, named 11 additional defendants and added charges for the defendants’ involvement in acts involving attempted murder, kidnapping, maiming, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Thirty-five defendants are in either state or federal custody, while 16 were previously released on federal bond.
Troy R. Loadholt, 37; Jeffrey G. Howell, 34; and Amos Adame, 46, all from Russellville, remain fugitives. April Howell, 29, and Amanda Rapp, 37, both of Russellville, and Courtney Talley, 32, of Dardanelle, were arrested Tuesday morning. Most of the defendants are residents of Pope and Yell counties.
“The violence and hatred alleged in this superseding indictment have no place in society,” said U.S. Attorney Hiland. “We are committed to helping our communities remain free from these types of crimes using every resource available, including the powerful RICO statutes when appropriate. The significant charges in this case represent the hard work of our state and federal law enforcement agencies, and this office’s commitment to removing violent, repeat offenders from the streets.”
The indictment alleges that between May 2014 and May 2016, NAE associates Marcus Millsap, 51, of Danville, and James Oliver, 47, of Russellville, as well as NAE President Wesley Gullett, 29, of Russellville, solicited several NAE members and associates to murder the confidential informant responsible for Millsap being charged with drug trafficking. According to the indictment, NAE members believed this informant had provided information about Millsap to law enforcement.
In January 2016, two known members of NAE attempted to murder the confidential informant, but were unsuccessful. The superseding indictment further alleges that between May 28, 2017 and June 6, 2017, members and associates of NAE kidnapped, stabbed and maimed two individuals in retaliation for the individuals providing information to law enforcement about another NAE member. During the kidnapping, the victims were forced to write apology letters to the NAE member and his girlfriend.
The indictment charges 17 of the 54 defendants with crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering statute (VICAR). These racketeering-based statutes provide criminal penalties up to life imprisonment for acts performed as part of a criminal organization, and support charges for those who only ordered or assisted others to carry out the illegal acts. The indictment alleges that from 2014 to the present, the New Aryan Empire functioned as a criminal enterprise to achieve its objectives, including illegal activities that affect interstate commerce.
The charges in the superseding indictment include conspiracy to violate RICO, kidnapping in aid of racketeering, maiming in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, as well as multiple methamphetamine and firearm violations.
Assisting in the investigation were the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the ATF, DEA, Pope County Sheriff’s Office, Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force, Russellville Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Conway Police Department, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI.
Law enforcement officials investigated the NAE’s methamphetamine trafficking organization. During the coordinated federal and state investigation, law enforcement agents made 59 controlled purchases of methamphetamine, seizing more than 25 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as 69 firearms and more than $70,000 in drug proceeds.
Wesley S. Gullett, 29, and Kevin M. Long, 23, both of Russellville; Lesa A. Standridge, 54, of Dover; and Christopher S. Helms, 35, of Dardanelle are charged with being felons in possession of a firearm. Among the 69 guns seized were handguns, rifles, shotguns, and several high-capacity assault-style rifles.
An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Named as defendants in the case:
1. MARCUS O. MILLSAP, aka Red, 51, of Danville is in state custody.
2. WESLEY S. GULLETT, aka Bad Company and BC, 29, of Russellville, Arkansas is in state custody.
3. JEFFREY L. KNOX, aka 100%, 43, of Russellville is in federal custody.
4. JAMES SCOTT OLIVER, aka Scottie, 47, of Russellville is in federal custody.
5. TIMOTHY J. FERGUSON, aka TJ, 36, of Russellville is in state custody.
6. KEVIN M. LONG, 23, of Russellville is in state custody.
7. RANDALL RAPP, 39, of Russellville is in state custody.
8. ADAM F. MITCHELL, aka Pork Chop, 33, of Russellville is in state custody.
9. CHRISTOPHER BUBER, 33, of Russellville is in state custody.
10. RUSSELL ROBINSON, 32, of Russellville is in state custody.
11. BRADLEY CHAMBERS, 35, of Russellville is in state custody.
12. APRIL HOWELL, aka Apes, 29, of Russellville is in federal custody.
13. SHANNON J. FERGUSON, aka Shannon Pridmore, aka Shannon Spencer of Russellville is in federal custody.
14. PAULA S. ENOS, 45, of Russellville is in state custody.
15. CAREY MOONEY, 42, of Russellville is in state custody.
16. COURTNEY TALLEY, aka Courtney Shreckhise, aka Courtney Caldwell, 32, of Dardanelle is in federal custody.
17. AMANDA RAPP, 37, of Russellville is in federal custody
18. TROY R. LOADHOLT, aka Tricky, 37, of Russellville is a fugitive.
19. DAVID D. SINGLETON, aka LA, 36, of Russellville is in state custody
20. DARLENE WALKER, 62, of Russellville is released on bond.
21. MICHAEL J. ROBERTS, 35, of Russellville is in state custody.
22. SHELBY L. THOMPSON, aka Shelby Roberts, 25, of Dover, is released on bond.
23. COREY A. FORD, 26, of Pottsville, Arkansas is in state custody.
24. CORY S. DONNELLY, 32, of Russellville is in federal custody.
25. LESA A. STANDRIDGE, 54, of Dover is released on bond.
26. DALLAS D. STANDRIDGE, 44, of Dover is released on bond.
27. JEFFREY G. HOWELL, aka Loon, 34, of Russellville is a fugitive.
28. RICHARD K. HAMPTON, 40, of Russellville is in state custody.
29. SUSAN HAMPTON, 35, of Russellville is in federal custody.
30. APRIL M. TEETER, aka April Crain, 39, of Russellville is released on bond.
31. MELISSA D. KIZER, aka Mel, 40, of Russellville is released on bond.
32. ANDREW R. SYVERSON, aka Drew, 33, of Russellville is in state custody.
33. ROBERT H. CHANDLER, aka Robbie, 40, of Dover is in state custody.
34. BRITTANY FERGUSON, aka Brittany Gideon, 27, of Russellville is in federal custody.
35. BRITTANIE N. HANDLEY of Atkins is released on bond.
36. TIFFANY L. PARKER, 40, of Russellville is released on bond.
37. HEATH KIZER, 36, of Atkins is released on bond.
38. RALPH A. ROSS, aka RA, 54, of Atkins is released on bond.
39. BRITANNY S. CONNER, 34, of San Pedro, CA is in federal custody.
40. KATHRINE R. ROSS, aka Katie, 27, of Russellville is in state custody.
41. CHRISTOPHER S. HELMS, 35, of Dardanelle is released on bond.
42. TONY L. HEYDENREICH, 41, of Deer is released on bond.
43. VALERIE J. BAKER, aka Valerie French, 47, of Fort Smith is released on bond.
44. THOMAS I. PLAISANCE, JR., aka Tommy, 42, of Dover is in federal custody.
45. WESLEY W. PIERSON, 54, of Charleston, Arkansas is released on bond.
46. HENRI T. KEENER, II, 43, of Danville is released on bond.
47. JUSTIN B. HOWELL, aka Bubba, 32, of Sacramento, CA is in state custody.
48. JAYME L. SHORT, 26, of Russellville is in federal custody.
49. AMOS ADAME, 46, of Russellville is a fugitive.
50. SKIPPY D. SANDERS, 36, of London, Arkansas is in state custody.
51. JARED R. DALE, 29, of Russellville is in federal custody.
52. JAMES NICHOLAS GEORGE, aka Nick, 28, of Dardanelle is released on bond.
53. KEITH C. SAVAGE, aka KC, 37, of Belleville, Arkansas is in state custody.
54. JOSEPH D. PRIDMORE 33, of Dover is in federal custody.