LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nineteen men and four women are charged in Las Vegas with being part of a white supremacist gang with ties to state prison and street crimes, including murder, drug trafficking and identity theft, according to documents unsealed Wednesday.
A 152-count indictment filed in Nevada state court accuses all 23 defendants of being members or associates of the Aryan Warriors and says they took part in a criminal racketeering enterprise.
Two defendants, Devin Alan Campbell and Christopher Gene Ashoff, are accused of shooting two men — Josue Contreras-Verdin and David Esparza-Sanchez — dead in January.
Ashoff's attorney, Mace Yampolsky, noted his client has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges now swept into a revised and broadened indictment.
Yampolsky expressed surprise at the breadth of the charges and the inclusion of a racketeering count requiring prosecutors to prove the defendants knowingly acted together "to engage in violence or intimidation to promote or further the criminal enterprise."
"I don't believe he's in any kind of racketeering activity as alleged," the defense attorney said.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson did not immediately reply to messages.
Campbell also is charged with stabbing and killing 49-year-old Thomas Patrick Glenn, who was identified as homeless, also in January.
Two other defendants, Anthony Williams and Tarik Goicechea, are accused of stabbing state prison inmate Andrew Ryan Thurgood to death in a cell at High Desert State Prison in February 2016. Thurgood's death is the subject of a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2018.
Williams and Goicechea remain in prison.
One defendant, Zackaria Luke Luz, faces felony conspiracy and possession of a scanning device charges and 82 counts of identity theft.
Attorneys who have represented Luz and Williams did not immediately respond to messages.
Two more co-defendants are accused of anchoring a drug trafficking operation; one is accused of assault, drug trafficking, forgery and identity theft; one is charged with being an accessory to murder; several are accused of weapons crimes.
Authorities said 14 defendants were already in state prison or Clark County jail in Las Vegas before the indictment was filed Aug. 16 and sealed.
Seven more defendants were taken into custody before the document was unsealed Wednesday. Three are sought on warrants.
The charges come more than seven years after a U.S. District Court judge in Las Vegas added 40 years in federal prison to two state sentences of life behind bars for Aryan Warriors leader Ronald "Joey" Sellers.
Sellers, now 51, pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of a racketeering offense, admitting his role in a stabbing attack on another defendant while in federal custody during a lengthy prosecution that saw 15 accused members of the white supremacist gang convicted of charges including assaults, drug offenses and racketeering.
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