Five members of a white supremacist group called the Aryan Strikeforce have been arrested on federal racketeering charges and the alleged sale of meth and guns to generate money to fund the group’s activities.
A partially unsealed federal indictment notes that the Aryan Strikeforce, in its online mission statement, describes itself as a “white nationalist organization” with the “goal to protect the honor of our women, children, and the future of our race and nation” using violence as a necessary tool to achieve its goals, U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler said in a statement Friday.
The charges against the five include allegedly selling methamphetamine, laundering the proceeds and receiving and storing machine gun parts and firearms.
The five were identified as John Michael Steever, 37, of Manville, N.J., Henry Lambert Baird, 40, of Brown Mills, N.J., Justin Daniel Lough, 26, of Waynesboro, Va., Jacob Mark Robards, 40, of Bethlehem, Pa., and Connor Drew Dikes, 20, of Silver Spring, Md.
Steever, who has the word “racist” and a swastika tattooed on his face, is also a leader in the White Nationalist Alliance, which aims to unit disparate white supremacist groups. Steever has served time both for beating a man with an ax handle in Texas and for threatening to stab two black high school students, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights and legal advocacy group that monitors white supremacist groups.
Excerpts from the indictment indicate the government infiltrated the organization by apparently convincing the defendants that they were dealing with law enforcement officers they believed were brokers of drugs and firearms, PennLive.com reports.
One of the five is accused of asking about the availability of firearms including AK-47 rifles, Uzi machine guns and Glock and Beretta pistols for use in tactical training by Strikeforce members.
The federal complaint says three defendants met at a coffee shop in Harrisburg, Pa., with an undercover individual who delivered a box of AR-15 parts as well as 16 pounds of simulated methamphetamine.
The indictment, which was only partially unsealed because some suspects have not yet been arrested, also seeks the forfeiture of 50 Colt shoulder carbines, according to PennLive.com.
The Aryan Strikeforce held a publicized meeting last September that Potter County commissioner Paul Heimel says was sparsely attended.
“They’ve come and they’ve gone,” Heimel told PennLive.com.
5 members of white supremacist group face gun, meth charges