In a sweeping indictment after a years-long investigation, the US Department of Justice charged 16 members and associates of the Aryan Brotherhood with federal racketeering, murders, drug trafficking, and other violent crimes.
The Aryan Brotherhood is a white supremacist prison gang.
The crimes alleged were commissioned, carried out and run from inside California state prisons, the DOJ says. With help from the outside including assistance from a California attorney who allegedly smuggled in meth and cell phones, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
According to a just-unsealed 143-page criminal complaint, nine Aryan Brotherhood members were arrested on federal racketeering and other charges for extensive, organized criminal activity from within California’s most secure prisons.
The allegations include murders, drug trafficking and other violent crimes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office
Here’s what you need to know:
6 Members of the Aryan Brotherhood Who Are Charged, Are Already Serving Life for Murder
According to court documents, the crimes alleged to have been committed by Aryan Brotherhood members and gang associates occurred from 2011 to 2016.
“Aryan Brotherhood members and gang associates engaged in racketeering activity, committing multiple acts involving murder and drug trafficking offenses,” the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office reads.
The complaint charges California State Prison inmates Ronald Yandell, 56; Daniel “Danny” Troxell, 66; William Sylvester, 51; Travis Burhop, 46; Brant Daniel, 44; Donald Mazza, 48, Pat Brady, 48; Michael Torres, 55; and Jason Corbett, 47. Yandell, Troxell, Sylvester, Burhop, Torres and Corbett were all already serving life for murder.
Five others were also arrested as part of the investigation: Samuel Keeton, 40, of Menifee; Jeanna Quesenberry, 52, of Sacramento; Kevin MacNamara, 39, of La Palma; Kristen Demar, 44, of Citrus Heights; and Justin Petty, 37, of Los Angeles. Warrants have been issued for the arrests of Kathleen Nolan 64, of Calimesa, and Matthew Hall, 50, of Manhattan Beach.
A Heroin & Meth Distribution Operation That Put Drugs on Streets in Multiple States Was Carried Out in a Single Prison Cell With Smuggled-In Phones, Feds Say
According to prosecutors, Yandell and Sylvester “oversaw a significant heroin and methamphetamine trafficking operation from their shared cell.”
The inmates “used smuggled-in cellphones to direct their drug trafficking activity from their cell to the streets of Sacramento and other California cities. Using a contraband cellphone, Yandell and Sylvester communicated with AB members and associates to direct drug trafficking activities, membership in the AB, order murders, and oversee other criminal activities,” the DOJ alleges.
Federal Agents Say the Attorney Smuggled Meth & Cellphones Into Folsom Prison for William Sylvester, a Convicted Murderer
In the complaint, the inner-workings of the drug trafficking operation are detailed. According to the DOJ, from inside prison, the Aryan Brotherhood oversaw “an extensive drug-trafficking network that operated on the streets of Sacramento, Southern California, Missouri, Las Vegas and elsewhere.”
The complaint reads that in 2016, lawyer MacNamara smuggled methamphetamine, cellphones and tobacco into Folsom State Prison for Sylvester.
According to the State Bar of California, MacNamara, who graduated from Trinity Law School and was first licensed to practice in 2011, is still a practicing attorney with no disciplinary history.
Macnamara began his education at a community college, graduated from the University of California Riverside with a degree in psychology and legal studies and then went on to earn his J.D. from Trinity.
On his LinkedIn page, Macnamara’s father, a lecturer in military history at UC Fullerton praised is son as “…a man of honor and a true humanitarian. One could not trust their affairs to a more ethical and honest attorney…”
Another defendant, Justin Petty sent heroin, methamphetamine, cellphones and other items concealed in food packages to AB members at Folsom State Prison and High Desert State Prison, prosecutors say.
Federal Investigators Say Aryan Brotherhood Members Murdered 5 Inmates & ‘Conspired’ to Murder Many Others
The complaint alleges that the AB members murdered five other inmates as part of their gang activities and conspired to murder several others. The complaint alleges that, on Oct. 7, 2011, Sylvester murdered an inmate at Folsom State Prison and, on Aug. 12, 2015, AB associates carried out an order to murder a rival prison gang member at Folsom State Prison.
In addition, the complaint alleges that on Oct. 15, 2016, on Corbett’s order, an AB associate murdered an inmate at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, AB member Daniel killed an inmate at Salinas Valley prison on Oct. 29, 2016, and that AB members Corbett and Brady murdered an inmate on July 20, 2018, at High Desert State Prison as part of their role in the gang.
The complaint further describes multiple other murder plots.
Read the full 143-page complaint here.