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<div style="padding:0.3em 0 0.5em; line-height:1.2em; font-size:90%;"><!-- -->An Arizona Aryan coat of arms Template:Deletable image-caption</div>
Founded </includeonly>
In San Quentin State Prison, California
Founded&nbsp;by </includeonly>
Years active 1964&ndash;present
Territory </includeonly>
Ethnicity white
Membership 15,000
Criminal activities murder, conspiracy, drug trafficking, racketeering
Allies </includeonly>
Rivals </includeonly>

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The Aryan Brotherhood, (also known as the AB or The Brand) is a prison gang numbering about 15,000 members in and out of prison.<ref name=ABC> Coverson, Laura. "Aryan Brotherhood Tried for 40 Years of Prison Mayhem". ABC News. 15 March 2006. Retrieved 27 October 2006. </ref> In March 2006, four leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood were indicted for numerous crimes, including murder, Conspiracy (crime)|conspiracy, Drug trafficking#Trafficking and distribution|drug trafficking, and racketeering.<ref name=ABC> citation </ref> According to the FBI, although the gang makes up less than 1% of the prison population, it is responsible for up to 26% of murders in the federal Prisons in the United States|prison system.<ref name=LAWeekly> Duersten, Matthew. "Who'll Stop the Reign?". LA Weekly. 3 February 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2006.</ref><ref name=SPLC> Holthouse, David. "Smashing the Shamrock". SPLC Intelligence Report. Fall 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2006. </ref>


The Aryan Brotherhood is separated into two main groups, one in the Prisons in the United States|federal prison system, the other consisting of numerous factions of the Brotherhood in various state prison systems, notably California, which are loosely affiliated to a greater or lesser degree.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref> Each faction is controlled by a three-man commission, which controls and supervises gang activities.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref> These gangs in the state system, splinter groups or copycats, are usually tolerated by members of the federal prison or California factions, but intra-gang violence is not uncommon.

Organization at lower levels varies from prison to prison. For example, in the Arizona prison system, members are known as "kindred" and organize into "families". A "council" controls the families. Kindred may recruit other members, known as "progeny", and serve as a mentor for the new recruit.<ref name=AZDOC> Arizona Department of Corrections. "Arizona Aryan Brotherhood". Retrieved 27 October 2006. </ref>

Membership generally (though not exclusively)<ref name=ABC> citation </ref> consists of white male prisoners and operates on a "Prison gang#Blood in.2C Blood out|blood in, blood out" system.<ref name=LAWeekly> citation </ref> That is, a candidate for membership of the Aryan Brotherhood must assault and kill another prisoner to enter the gang. Membership is for life, and those who attempt to leave the gang may likewise be assaulted or killed by other members. Members of both the federal and state level organizations swear the same oath: "An Aryan brother is without a care/He walks where the weak and heartless won't dare/For an Aryan brother, death holds no fear/Vengeance will be his, through his brothers still here."<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref>

Like most prison gangs, Aryan Brotherhood members mark themselves with distinctive tattoos. Designs commonly include the words "Aryan Brotherhood", the acryonym "AB", 666 (number)|666, Schutzstaffel|SS sig runes, spiderwebs near the elbow, shamrocks, and other Nazi and/or Celtic art|Celtic iconography.<ref name=LAWeekly> citation </ref>

The AB has since focused on the economic activities typical of organized crime entities, particularly drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, and murder-for-hire. According to a recent federal indictment, the Brotherhood has partnered with Asian gangs to import heroin from Thailand. While incarcerated in United States Penitentiary, Marion|Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1996, Gambino crime family boss John Gotti is known to have asked Aryan Brotherhood members to murder a fellow prisoner, although the hit was unsuccessful.<ref name=LAWeekly> citation </ref><ref name=Denver_Post> Hughes, Jim. "Aryan Brotherhood Makes Home in State". Denver Post. 24 November 2002. Retrieved 27 October 2006. </ref>

The overwhelming majority of Aryan Brotherhood members were originally sent to prison for crimes not motivated by racial bigotry, such as robbery, drug dealing, and assault, and join the Aryan Brotherhood out of a need for protection or camaraderie.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref> However, members are expected to continue AB activities after being released, and are known to commit hate crimes after joining the gang.


Until the 1960s, most prisons in the United States were racially Racial segregation in the United States|segregated. As prisons began to desegregate, inmates organized along racial lines.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref> The Aryan Brotherhood is believed to have formed in 1964 at San Quentin State Prison,<ref name=ABC> citation</ref> with prosecutors of cases against the gang saying it was formed in reaction to getting raped by other races in prison.<ref>Orange County Weekly - Monster's Ball<!-- Bot generated title --></ref> It may have been derived from or inspired by a previous entity, the Bluebird Gang.<ref name=ABC> citation </ref> In the early 1970s, the Aryan Brotherhood began working closely with the Mexican Mafia<ref name=LAWeekly> citation </ref> and began focusing on drug trafficking and other economic activities.<ref name=ABC> citation </ref><ref name=LAWeekly> citation </ref>

In 1973, the California branch of the Aryan Brotherhood rejected Charles Manson when he asked them for protection against black inmates, because he had murdered a pregnant woman. The Aryan Brotherhood considered this dishonorable and turned him down initially. However, the Aryan Brotherhood eventually realized that Manson's followers could be exploited, and the AB began to provide protection for Manson while his followers smuggled drugs and weapons into prisons.

By 1980, the gang had split into two distinct factions, one within the federal prison system and one outside of state prison systems. In 1982, an anonymous source gave information to the FBI implicating the Aryan Brotherhood in two high profile murders in the California state prison system.<ref name=FBI> Federal Bureau of Investigation. File 183-7396. Retrieved 27 October 2006. </ref> The Federal Bureau of Investigations|FBI investigated the gang and its activities through 1989, but no prosecutions followed.

On June 23, 2005, after a 20-month investigation, a federal strike force raided six houses in northeastern Ohio belonging to the "Order of the Blood", a criminal organization controlled by the Aryan Brotherhood. Thirty-four Aryan Brotherhood members or associates were arrested and warrants were issued for ten more.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref>

Also in 2005, culminating an eight year investigation, federal prosecutors indicted forty members of the organization, thirty of whom were already incarcerated, for a wide variety of crimes. Prosecuting the gang has been historically difficult, because many members are already serving life sentences with no possibility of parole, so prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for twenty-one of those indicted but have dropped the death penalty on all but five defendants. By September of that year, the nineteen indictees not eligible for the death penalty had plead guilty.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref> The first of a series of trials involving four high level members ended in convictions in July 2006. Two of the four went through a death penalty hearing and the jury deadlocked. Before sentencing federal prosecutors filed a request that once the sentencing was over, the four would live out their sentences in solitary confinement, banned from communicating with anyone except their attorneys. The judge refused to rule on the request, telling prosecutors to file it with the US Attorney General and they immediately withdrew. One was sentenced to four life terms, two were sentenced to three life terms, all without the possibility of parole, and one has yet to be sentenced. Some members are still awaiting trial.

Relations with other gangsEdit

The Aryan Brotherhood has had a close relationship with the Mexican Mafia since the early 1970s. The gang also has close ties to Outlaw motorcycle club|biker gangs, and White supremacist prison gangs, such as Public Enemy No.1 and the Nazi Lowriders. The AB is believed to have links with active White nationalist groups, such as the Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as various other groups espousing the theology of Christian Identity.<ref name=SPLC> citation </ref>

Because of their alliance with the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood is antagonistic towards the Mafia's rivals, such as Nuestra Familia. They are also hostile towards all gangs with a predominantly nonwhite membership, such as the Black Guerilla Family, the Crips, the Bloods, and Black P. Stones.

References in popular culture Edit

  • Gangland (TV series)|Gangland (2008)
  • Raines (2007)
  • Miami Vice (film)|Miami Vice (2006)
  • Prison Break (2005-present)
  • Ross Kemp on Gangs (2004-present)
  • Hard Time (comics)|Hard Time (2004-06)
  • The Suffering (game)|The Suffering (2004)
  • The Butterfly Effect (2004)
  • Lockdown (film)|Lockdown (2000)
  • American History X (1998)
  • The Aryan Brotherhood in Oz|Oz (1997-2003)
  • Dead Man Walking (film)|Dead Man Walking (1995)
  • Higher Learning (1995)
  • Blood in Blood out (1993)
  • American Me (1992)
  • South Central (film)|South Central (1992)
  • An Innocent Man (film)|An Innocent Man (1989)


External linksEdit

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