The Aryan Brotherhood: The First Woe
January 16, 1967: Nazi prison-gang associate Robert Holderman was stabbed and then battered to death by Black Guerilla Family gang members at San Quentin.
January 17, 1967: 1,800 black inmates and 1,000 white inmates clashed on the main yard at San Quentin over the death of Robert Holderman. Prison guards broke up the brawl by firing shots into the mass. Five inmates were wounded by the shots. One inmate suffered severe head trauma from the beating he received from opposing gang members. Two other inmates suffered non-fatal heart attacks.
August 27, 1967: Nineteen-year-old Barry Byron Mills was arrested in Ventura, California and held for transfer to Sonoma County, where he had boosted a car. Sonoma had issued an arrest warrant in his name for grand theft auto.
December 12, 1967: Barry Mills requested and was denied probation. Instead he was sentenced to one year in the Sonoma County Jail.
January 29, 1968: Barry Mills and Buddy Coleman escaped from the Sonoma County Honor Farm.
February 17, 1968: Barry Mills was arrested in Windsor, California, and held on a warrant charging escape without force.
March 12, 1968: Barry Mills sentenced to one year and one day in prison for escape without force from the Sonoma County Jail.
March 13, 1969: Barry Mills was released from prison.
January 13, 1970: Soledad State Prison Aryan Brotherhood leader Buzzard Harris, along with fellow Aryan Brotherhood members Smiley Hoyle, Harpo Harper and Chuko Wendekier, and Mexican Mafia members Colorado Joe Ariaz, John Fanene, and Raymond Guerrero battled with Black Guerilla Family gang members on the exercise yard at Soledad prison. Tower guard Opie Miller opened fire with his high-powered rifle, killing Black Guerilla leader W.L. Nolen, Cleveland Edwards and Alvin Miller. Aryan Brotherhood leader Buzzard Harris was wounded in the groin by a rifle bullet.
January 30, 1970: Barry Mills and William Hackworth were arrested after robbing a Stewarts Point convenience store.
February 3, 1970: Barry Mills convicted of first-degree armed robbery after co-defendant William Hackworth testified for the prosecution. Barry Mills sentenced to 5 years to life in prison.
April 21, 1972: Aryan Brotherhood members Fred Mendrin and Donald Hale murdered Fred Castillo by stabbing him to death at the Chino Institute for Men. Castillo was the leader of the Nuestra Familia gang. The Aryan Brotherhood murdered Castillo as part of a contract with the Mexican Mafia.
December 15, 1972: Aryan Brotherhood members Fred Mendrin and Donald Hale sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Fred Castillo.
1973: The Aryan Brotherhood was officially formed in the federal prison system.
October 18, 1977: Aryan Brotherhood member Little Joe O’Rourke engaged in a vicious gun battle with campus police at El Camino Community College. The gun battle erupted when the police, as part of a routine check, disrespected Little Joe by asking him for his student I.D. Little Joe was wounded and arrested.
November 25, 1977: Aryan Brotherhood members David Owens and New York Crane robbed the Bank of America in Agoura, California. They got away with $9,000.
December 2, 1977: New York Crane named as the prime suspect in the murder of fellow Aryan Brotherhood member Hogjaw Cochran.
December 29, 1977: Barry Mills released from San Quentin State Prison.
January 11, 1978: Aryan Brotherhood member David Owens arrested and charged with robbing the Bank of America in Agoura, California. Owens had $3,844 on him when arrested.
March 13, 1978: David Owens convicted of bank robbery. He was sentenced to federal prison. His co-defendant “New York” Crane was held over in Orange County Jail and charged with the murder of Hogjaw Cochran.
March 31, 1978: Little Joe O’Rourke, who opened fire on the El Camino Community College campus, sentenced to seven years in prison.
June 1978: Barry Mills sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for planning a bank robbery in Fresno, California. The bank was robbed by the Aryan Brotherhood in June 1976. Barry Mills did not participate in the robbery, but provided the blueprint for it.
The Second Woe
May 20, 1979: Barry Mills murdered Aryan Brotherhood associate John Sherman Marzloff in the United States Prison Atlanta, Georgia.
1980: The Aryan Brotherhood set up a commission to run the operations of all Aryan Brotherhood members in the federal prison system. The commission was composed of three men. Barry Mills assumed command of the commission.
June 8, 1980: Aryan Brotherhood associate Robert Hogan was murdered. The order to kill him came from Barry Mills.
September 27, 1982: Aryan Brotherhood Commissioner Thomas “Terrible Tom” Silverstein murdered Cadillac Smith, who was the leader of the D.C. Mob, at the United States Prison, Marion, Illinois.
December 9, 1982: Aryan Brotherhood member Neil Baumgarten (#20586-148) was murdered by members of the D.C. Mob. Baumgarten’s murder was payback for the murder of Cadillac Smith.
January 13, 1983: Aryan Brotherhood member Blinky Griffen convicted of the murder of T-Bone Gibson.
February 13, 1983: Aryan Brotherhood member Richard Barnes was murdered. The order to kill Barnes came from Aryan Brotherhood Councilman McKool Slocum.
September 23, 1983: Aryan Brotherhood associate Gregory Keefer was stabbed to death by another Aryan Brotherhood associate. Keefer owed tax money from drug sales to Mills. When Keefer neglected to pay the tax, Mills ordered the hit.
October 6, 1983: Aryan Brotherhood member Richard “Rhino” Andreasen provided information to the feds about a bank robbery in Santa Ana, California. Rhino gave the feds the name of an Aryan Brother who was one of the bank robbers. For this transgression, Barry Mills ordered Rhino killed. An Aryan Brother stabbed Rhino to death at the United States Penitentiary Leavenworth, Kansas.
October 6, 1983: At the United States Penitentiary Marion, Illinois, Aryan Brotherhood Commissioner Thomas Silverstein, aka “Terrible Tom,” stabbed Officer Eugene Clutts 40 times for “disrespecting him.” Officer Clutts died. At the same prison a few hours later, Officer Bob Hoffman was stabbed 35 times by Aryan Brother Clayton Fountain, who “didn’t want Terrible Tom to have a higher body count than me.” Officer Hoffman died.
January 30, 1984: An Aryan Brotherhood associate stabbed and killed Officer Boyd Spikerman at the Federal Correctional Institution, Oxford, Wisconsin.
February 7, 1984: Aryan Brotherhood member Robert Scully assaults a fellow inmate at San Quentin. Scully was in a bad mood and “the bastard pissed me off.”
March 13, 1984: Aryan Brotherhood member Rick Rose defected. His name was placed “in the hat.”
April 12, 1984: Aryan Brotherhood member Jesse Brun sets fire to a black inmate at Folsom prison. The victim suffered burns over 25 percent of his body.
April 27, 1984: Aryan Brotherhood member Robert Scully was once again in a bad mood. Scully attacked and tried to stab a prison guard.
April 28, 1984: Robert Scully gases two guards at San Quentin. No charges were filed. No disciplinary action was taken.
May 1, 1984: Robert Scully stabbed a guard at San Quentin. Scully was held and searched. The searchers found three hacksaw blades in his rectum and two .22 caliber bullets inside his stomach. Scully had swallowed the bullets. All charges against Scully were dismissed.
May 29, 1985: Robert Scully assaulted another inmate at San Quentin. Scully’s shank was confiscated and he was charged with possession of a deadly weapon. Scully received six additional years for assault.
September 1985: Tyler “the Hulk” Bingham was officially named to the three-man Federal Commission.
October 10, 1987: Aryan Brotherhood member Rodney Ross stabbed and killed 33-year old Gordon Gaskill at Folsom prison.
June 22, 1987: Aryan Brotherhood member Art Ruffo attacked a black inmate. Ruffo had a shank and tried to murder the black gang member. Officer David Pitts thwarted Ruffo’s attempt at murder by shooting Ruffo in the hip. At the same time, Aryan Brotherhood member Cornfed Schneider attacked another black inmate. The attacks were planned and orchestrated as part of a hit on the D.C. Blacks at Folsom prison. The hits were ordered by Blue Norris, an Aryan Brotherhood councilman. This was the beginning of “Hell Week” at Folsom prison.
July 7, 1987: During a strip search, Cornfed Schneider stabbed Officer Carl Kropp in the throat. Councilman Blue Norris ordered the hit on Officer Kropp as payback for the shooting of Aryan Brotherhood member Art Ruffo. Officer David Pitts, who shot Art Ruffo, was wounded by a shotgun blast as he drove to his home in West Sacramento.
October 10, 1987: Aryan Brotherhood member Robert Scully, who was usually in a bad mood, had been moved to Tehachapi Prison. While there Scully was charged with possession of a deadly weapon. The charge was later dropped.
November 25, 1987: Judith Box was arrested by authorities. Box was the girlfriend of Wildman Fortman, who was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Box was charged with providing the Aryan Brotherhood with the home addresses of prison guards.
March 15, 1988: Aryan Brotherhood member Robert Rowland defected, providing authorities with information about a plot to murder prison guards. Rowland’s name went “into the hat.”
August 28, 1988: Judith Box was convicted of identity theft and conspiring to commit assault. Box obtained the requested information (home addresses of prison guards) from her job at the Franchise Tax Board.
February 15, 1989: Judith Box sentenced to three years in prison.
June 5, 1989: Aryan Brotherhood member Marvin Stanton was assaulted and shot with a 37mm block-gun while fighting with a member of Nuestra Familia. The battle occurred on one of the exercise yards at Corcoran State Prison.
June 14, 1989: During his trial, Aryan Brotherhood member Cornfed Schneider testified that he stabbed Officer Kropp in the throat because he thought the guards were coming to attack him.
July 24, 1989: The jurors, who were terrified, failed to find Cornfed Schneider guilty of attempted murder. Cornfed Schneider sentenced to an additional five years in prison for possession of a deadly weapon. Cornfed Schneider stabbed his attorney Phillip Couzens four times. The two men were talking in the hallway of the Sacramento County Courthouse.
April 18, 1990: Aryan Brotherhood member Todd Ashker convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a Folsom inmate. A hit had been ordered on the inmate by the commission. Ashker sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.
December 13, 1990: Aryan Brotherhood member Robert Scully, he of the bad attitude, was transferred to the new maximum security prison at Pelican Bay. Scully was transferred because of “his history of violence.”
December 16, 1992: Aryan Brotherhood member Victor Carrafa, who had just been paroled, was arrested in Stockton, California. He had a six-inch Buck Knife and a .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol on his person.
March 14, 1993: Aryan Brotherhood member Termite Kennedy shot and killed Glenn Chambers of Oregon. Chambers had been supplying the Aryan Brotherhood with chemicals for the manufacture of crystal meth.
May 11, 1993: While being escorted to the dentist, Aryan Brotherhood member Victor Carrafa escaped from the custody of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The escape had been planned. Aryan Brotherhood member Gerard Gallant helped Victor Carrafa escape. Gallant shot deputy Steve Fonbuena in the face and stomach.
February 26, 1994: Robert Scully released from Pelican Bay prison. Scully’s parole stipulated drug and alcohol testing. It also prohibited him from associating with members of the Aryan Brotherhood or any other known felons.
March 24, 1994: Robert Scully was arrested in Newport Beach. He was carrying a .25 caliber pistol and displayed false indentification. Scully was sent back to Pelican Bay prison for one year.
June 1, 1994: Aryan Brotherhood member Joseph Barrett assaulted a prison officer who confiscated a television from his cell.
March 23, 1995: Robert Scully released from Pelican Bay prison. Brenda Moore, who was the girlfriend of Cornfed Schneider, picked him up in front of the prison.
March 26, 1995: Robert Scully and Brenda Moore murdered Frank Trejo, who was a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. The murder took place in the parking lot of a bar in Sebastopol, California.
The Third Woe
1996: Barry Mills proposed that the Aryan Brotherhood absorb the prison gang known as the Dirty White Boys.
February 7, 1996: Aryan Brotherhood member Art Ruffo was strangled by his cellmate Brian Healy, who was an Aryan Brotherhood member. The murder took place at Pelican Bay prison and was ordered by the commission.
April 9, 1996: Aryan Brotherhood member Joseph Barrett, who was incarcerated at Calipatria Prison, received a message from the commission. The message instructed Barrett to “squeeze and hug his cellmate.” Barrett’s cellmate was Aryan Brotherhood member Thomas Richmond. Barrett obeyed the instructions and killed Richmond.
November 1, 1997: As a favor to the Mexican Mafia, the commission ordered Pelican Bay inmate Felipe Cruz hit. Cruz was strangled by Aryan Brotherhood member James Ellrod.
February 22, 1998: Aryan Brotherhood member Brian Healey told the feds he was willing to testify against the Aryan Brotherhood.
February 23, 1998: In an ordered hit, Pelican Bay inmate Timothy Waldron was strangled by Aryan Brotherhood member Steve Olivares.
March 10, 1998: Aryan Brotherhood member William Stanton was stabbed to death by two inmates. The murder took place on Pelican Bay Prison’s A yard.
February 2, 2000: Aryan Brotherhood member Joseph Barrett was strip searched at Tehachapi State Prison. A shank and six razor blades were found in his recturm.
January 30, 2001: Aryan Brotherhood members Cornfed Schneider and Dale Bretches, both incarcerated at Pelican Bay, were discovered to be running a dog-fighting ring on the outside. Two of their pit bulls killed Dianne Whipple of San Francisco.
September 5, 2001: The Northern California office of the U.S. District Attorney announced it was indicting six members of the Aryan Brotherhood and one associate.
October 16, 2002: A federal indictment unsealed in Los Angeles charged 40 members and associates of the Aryan Brotherhood with several RICO violations, including murder. The indictment included Rafael Gonzalez-Munoz, who was a high-ranking member of the Mexican Mafia, and Joseph Principe, who was a federal prison guard.
April 7, 2003: Aryan Brotherhood member Blue Norris was found stabbed to death at Calipatria State Prison. He had defected from the Aryan Brotherhood and provided information to prison officials. His murder was ordered by the commission.
September 4, 2003: Aryan Brotherhood member Cornfed Schneider pled guilty to conspiracy, racketeering and smuggling. He was sentenced to life in prison. This was his third life sentence.
April 4, 2004: Brenda Jo Riley, who was the wife of an Aryan Brotherhood member, sentenced to serve 21 months in prison for acting as a message courier for the Aryan Brotherhood.
November 29, 2004: Aryan Brotherhood member Wade Shiflett was shot and killed by a prison guard on B yard at Sacramento State Prison. Shiflett was attempting to murder another member of the Aryan Brotherhood. The commission had ordered the hit because the brother had defected and was going to testify against them.
July 22, 2005: U.S. District Judge David Carter set a date for the federal trial against the Aryan Brotherhood. Judge Carter ruled defense attorneys could call Thomas “Terrible Tom” Silverstein as a defense witness. But Terrible Tom would remain shackled in court.
Specific crimes cited in the indictment against Barry Mills, Tyler Bingham and Thomas Silverstein:
The murders of:
John Marzloff in prison in Atlanta, Georgia.
Robert Hogan in Illinois.
Richard Barnes in California.
Gregory Keefer in Illinois.
Richard Andreasen in California.
Thomas Lamb in Illinois.
Arva Lee Ray in California.
William McKinney in California.
Charels Leger in Kansas.
Arthur Ruffo in California.
Aaron Nash in Calfornia.
Frank Joyner in Pennsylvania.
Abdul Salaam in Pennsylvania.
Terry Walker in Illinois.
Chapter 1: The Baron and The Hulk
They came for them while it was still dark. Shortly after 4:00 in the morning, a convoy of vehicles turned off the main highway. U.S. Marshal Clarence J. Sugar sat in the passenger seat of the lead vehicle. A tall man, Marshal Sugar was also heavily muscled. He carried himself with a swagger, and an air of menace hung from him like a cloak. Today he was strapped to the max: pepper spray, a Taser, and a Glock 9mm all rode on his Sam Browne belt. In his lap rested a MAC-10 machine gun. Next to his right leg, an M-16 assault rifle rested against the door of the SUV. Black body armor encased his upper torso making him appear even thicker than he was.
Spread out among the other vehicles, Marshal Sugar had a total of 19 Deputy Marshals accompanying him. All of them wore black fatigues, black body armor, and carried fully automatic weapons. All of them were hard men who knew how to handle themselves in combat situations.
It was cool and damp outside. A faint ribbon of blue arose from the western horizon to meet the darkness. Marshal Sugar looked out the window of his vehicle and shook his head. Even California had a Siberia, he decided, and this was it. ‘It’ was a remote forested area near a town called Crescent City, in Del Norte County, Calif. Up ahead he noticed a white glow that was definitely man made. As the convoy came around a final bend in the road, a huge, lighted compound became visible. Around the perimeter of the compound, which spread out over 275 acres, he could see miles of curlicued razor wire. Outside the wire stood electrified fences that would fry anyone who touched them.
The convoy arrived at the main entrance and the massive gate slowly opened. As the convoy roared inside, guards armed with high-powered rifles looked down from their watchtowers. Without hesitation, the convoy headed straight for a complex of white concrete buildings, which formed a series of X’s when viewed from above. Screeching to a halt, the doors of the vehicles flew open and 20 U.S. Marshals jumped out. They moved in formation to the main door of the complex. The door was already open.
Inside the building, the marshals walked down a long gray corridor. An array of surveillance cameras looked disinterestedly down at them, recording every movement. The small army of marshals passed through a series of barred doors, which thunked closed behind them. After one more turn, they reached their destination: the Security Housing Unit of Pelican Bay State Prison. Called the SHU for short, it was also known as “the Hole” by those who worked and lived in it.
The SHU was a prison built inside a prison.
Pelican Bay State Prison was Calfornia’s supermax prison. The place where California caged its most ferocious human animals. Some people called them criminals. Others called them prisoners. Still others called them inmates. They were beasts of the jungle, men who were so savage and so dangerous that they had to be separated from the other violent men.
Marshal Sugar and his deputy marshals were here to pick up and transport two of these violent men.
Arriving at the first cell, Marshal Sugar slammed the butt of his Mac-10 against the steel door. Inside the cell, a man jumped up from his bunk where he had been asleep. Standing in his white boxer shorts, he glared at the cell door, as if trying to burn a hole through it with his vision.
“Assume the position,” said Marshal Sugar. “You’re being moved.”
“Fuck you,” snarled the inmate. His name was Barry Byron Mills, but no one called him that. Everyone called him either The Baron or McB. The Baron nickname referred to his power and authority over other inmates. Those who called him McB did so because he was like McDonald’s, worldwide and everywhere.
“Assume the position,” repeated Marshal Sugar. This command meant The Baron should place his back against the inside of his cell door and put his hands through a slot in the door, so that his hands could be cuffed behind his back.
“No,” said The Baron. Then he smiled and added, “Make me.”
Marshal Sugar stepped aside and nodded at the Corrections Officer who stood beside him. The CO put his key in the doorlock and turned it. Heavy pneumatic bolts snapped back and the CO pulled the door open.
The Baron looked at Marshal Sugar. “Who the fuck are you and what do you want with me?” asked The Baron.
Marshal Sugar looked at The Baron, noting the man’s massive muscles, tattoos and gleaming bald-head. “U.S. Marshals,” said Sugar. “And like I just told you, you’re being moved. And we’re moving you right now.” He paused. “We can do it the easy way or we can do it the hard way.” Marshal Sugar smiled. “Or we can do it the semi-easy-hard way. The choice is yours.”
Narrowing his blue eyes, The Baron said, “What’s the semi-easy-hard way? I’m not familiar with that one.”
“The easy way is that you act like a civilized human being and we’ll treat you like one. The hard way is that my deputies rush you and take you by force. Sometimes – in the chaos that occurs in this particular method – you get a little roughed up,” explained Marshal Sugar. He gave The Baron a fat smile. “The semi-easy-hard way is that I simply shoot you with this thing” – he held up his Taser – “and after you do the funky chicken for about 30 seconds, we search your body cavities and bundle you up.”
Marshal Sugar shrugged. “I don’t really care how we do it, because in the end the result is the same.” With a dramatic flourish, he raised his forearm up to his eyes and looked at his wristwatch. “You have 10 seconds to decide.”
The Baron clenched his fists, as if checking his energy levels. After a few seconds, he winked and turned around, clasping his hands at the small of his back. Deputy Marshals quickly surrounded him. One cuffed his hands, while others probed his ears and nose with flashlights. They were looking for anything that might be used as a weapon or as a key to unlock handcuffs.
“Open your mouth, please,” said one of the marshals.
The Baron opened his mouth wide and the marshal shined his flashlight in it. “Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue, please,” said the marshal, peering into The Baron’s mouth.
“Okay. Thank you.” The marshal stepped back and The Baron snapped his mouth shut, thrusting his head forward a little bit like he was a shark biting into flesh.
A deputy marshal pulled a yellow jumpsuit from a bag he had been carrying. Stenciled across the back of the jumpsuit in bold, black letters was the word PRISONER.
“Put these on, please,” said the deputy marshal, holding the jumpsuit out to The Baron. “But before you do, please squat down three times. Then we’ll remove the cuffs so you can dress.”
The Baron hissed a little between his teeth, shaking his head. If he had a shank – which was a crude, handmade knife – hidden up inside his rectum, squatting three times would cause the shank to move and probably pierce his intestines. He didn’t have one. So he squatted three times.
When he finished the last squat, a marshal uncuffed his hands. While he pulled on the yellow jumpsuit, three deputy marshals pointed their Tasers at him. All three were big, beefy men, who gazed wishfully at him. Then they cuffed his hands behind his back, and shackled his feet. The final touch was a waist chain, like a steel belt, which they threaded through his handcuffs and locked snugly around him.
“What about shoes?” demanded The Baron.
“You’ll get socks and slippers once you’re in the van,” Marshal Sugar told him.
The Baron glared at him.
“They’ll get cold, but they won’t freeze,” the marshal informed him. “Park him over there,” pointed Marshal Sugar, indicating a bench with large metal rings welded to it.
Deputy marshals escorted The Baron to the bench, where they ran heavy chains through his ankle shackles and waist chain. These they ran through the rings on the bench, pulling them tight, forcing The Baron to sit hunched over.
“Okay,” said Marshal Sugar, “let’s get the other one.” Five deputy marshals remained with The Baron, while the others moved down the hallway to another cell.
This cell was the home of Tyler Bingham, who was also known as “The Hulk” and “Super Honkey.” Both nicknames referred to his physique, he was almost as wide as he was tall, and he could bench press over 500 pounds.
The Hulk was waiting for them. He had heard voices, voices he didn’t recognize, coming from the vicinity of The Baron’s cell. Dressed in his yellow jumpsuit, which indicated his Hole-status, he stood against the back wall of his 7-foot by 10-foot cell.
Marshal Sugar nodded for the CO to open the cell door. Rolling his eyeballs, the CO did as instructed. As the CO pulled the cell door open, The Hulk launched himself at the marshals. Growling deep in his chest, he shot out the door as if out of a cannon. Grabbing one of the deputy marshals around the waist, The Hulk pulled the man to the ground. As the two men crashed to the floor, The Hulk tried to grab the marshal’s pistol from its holster. He had his fingers on the butt of the 9mm Glock when five marshals grabbed him: one on each limb, and one trying to batter his head off with a flashlight.
Although partially stunned by the rapid blows to his head, The Hulk roared and fought like a demon possessed maniac. But only for about five seconds. Then the probes from two Tasers caught him, sending an arcing current of hot lightning through his massive body. Screaming, The Hulk wriggled, arched and bounced like he was having an epileptic fit, a grand mal seizure.
Grim faced, the deputies watched The Hulk do the funky chicken. They took no pleasure in the spectacle. They were only doing what the circumstances demanded. The Hulk had made his choice. After 30 seconds, Marshal Sugar raised his hand and the Tasers were switched off.
Marshals quickly stripped The Hulk naked. Flashlights appeared, and his body cavities were examined. Coating the index finger of his latex-covered hand with KY Jelly, one of the marshals did a quick rectal exam of The Hulk.
Marshal Sugar noted The Hulk’s luxuriant gray walrus moustache, his shaved head, and the tattoos on his arms. On one arm was a tattoo of the Star of David, on the other arm a black swastika. Marshal Sugar wondered about that for a moment. Was it sarcasm, mockery, or some odd hodgepodge of white supremacist thinking?
Shrugging, Marshal Sugar said, “Get him dressed and shackled.” He started to walk away, then had a second thought. “Put a restraint on his elbows. This guy is strong and his attitude sucks.”
The deputy marshals smiled at the words “attitude sucks.” That was an understatement.
When The Hulk finally regained consciousness, he found himself hog-tied: leg shackles, waist chain, his hands cuffed behind his back and, like a ribbon on a Christmas present, his elbows pulled close together behind his back by a plastic tie.
“Get him up,” said Marshal Sugar.
Four marshals lifted The Hulk to his feet, where they steadied him for a few seconds. Getting Tasered was hard on the body’s nervous system, and short-circuited the brain.
The Taser was invented in 1969 by a NASA researcher whose name was Jack Cover. He named the device after Tom Swift, the comic book hero: Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle. Kind of like a ray-gun in a sci-fi movie, the Taser was a great way to drop anyone, even a man with body armor, in a non-lethal manner.
“Okay,” said Marshal Sugar, “let’s go.”
The parade of marshals moved back to The Baron’s cell, two of the marshals almost dragging The Hulk along.
The Baron was quickly released from his bench and, like a black phalanx with two yellow figures in the middle, the procession walked back the way they had come.
Outside, the two yellow figures were placed in separate vans, where they were chained to ring bolts, which sprouted from the floor like alien fingers. The Hulk’s elbow restraints were removed and his hands were double-cuffed in front. The Baron received the same treatment. Marshal Sugar was not a malicious man. He didn’t pull the wings off flies, and he didn’t torture criminals. He said anyone who did that was lost already.
The engines of the vehicles roared to life, headlights were turned on, and the cavalcade drove out through the main gate.
Pulling a cell phone from his pocket, Marshal Sugar speed-dialed a number. “We’re on our way,” he said into his phone. “ETA 10 minutes.” Then he closed the phone and put it back in his pocket.
Five miles away, at the Crescent City airport, which was nothing more than a landing strip with a few small offices and a couple of old hangars, the pilots of an unmarked Boeing 727 began their final take-off check.
The Boeing 727 was a JPATS aircraft. JPATS stood for Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System. One of eight full-sized aircraft operated by JPATS, this plane was engaged in a high-priority transport flight for the Department of Justice. Its location was known only by a select few individuals, so that anyone who had an interest in sabotaging the flight could not do so. And since its convict-passengers would all be taken by surprise, none of them could plan their own escape or make arrangements for outside help in escaping.
Most of JPATS employees, including the U.S. Marshals, called it Con Air, even before the Nicholas Cage movie made the name famous.
Nine minutes later, the convoy arrived at the landing strip. The Baron and The Hulk were escorted onto the plane and seated. The Baron was seated six rows directly behind The Hulk, so that he could not communicate by means of hand signals. Both criminals received triple locked waist chains.
While the triple locking was taking place, Marshal Sugar told the two prisoners how it was going to be. “As long as you behave, you’ll only be restrained by handcuffs, waist chains and shackles. If you decide to act like buttholes, then we will treat you like buttholes. You’ll wear reinforced mittens” – he held up a pair of what appeared to be cyborg-like, mechanical mittens, which most of the marshals called “Dr. No hands” after the bad guy in the first James Bond movie – “and if you spit, bite or use abusive language, we will strap your head in this.” He held up what looked like a baseball catcher’s mask, one that had been specially modified to isolate and disable the wearer’s mouth.
“And if we have to,” continued the marshal, “I will shove a gag in your mouth and then duct tape your mouth closed.” He squinted at the two criminals. “So. The choice is yours.” He looked around at his deputy marshals. “We’re big believers in free will around here. You do as you choose. In response to your choice, we do as we choose.”
The deputy marshals nodded in agreement. They were highly-trained professionals, most of whom had served in the military before joining the U.S. Marshals Service. The most important part of their marshals training was psychological. They were taught how to remain detached, cool and professional under the most provocative conditions. They didn’t lose their tempers and react violently, nor did they allow their personal prejudices to influence their treatment of prisoners. In other words, no petty abuses took place, as was often the case at correctional institutes.
Marshal Sugar said, “Okay. Let’s get this show on the road. We got places to go, people to see, things to do.”
The deputy marshals who worked with Sugar had heard that line a thousand times. It always made them smile. It meant they had more prisoners to pick up. In this particular case, it meant 18 more prisoners to collect. All of them extremely violent. One of the men they would pick up was called “the most dangerous man in prison.”
It should be an exciting day.
It was called Operation Arrow. No one knew who came up with the name, but the name caught on quickly. Now everyone involved referred to it by that name – Operation Arrow.
Phase One was underway and involved the surprise collection and transportation of 20 brutal criminals, who were being held in maximum security prisons all over the United States. After collection, the plane would fly back to Los Angeles International Airport, where the prisoners would be escorted to various holding facilities in the area, where they would be held until it was their turn for trial.
All together, 40 prisoners were to be tried, 23 of whom faced the possibility of the death penalty, if convicted. They were on trial for 32 murders and over 100 attempted murders, including stabbings, strangulations, poisonings, contract hits, and conspiracy to commit murder, most of which occurred inside prisons in the United States. But some of the murders had been committed outside prisons, in the real world.
Along with murder, other charges facing the 40 criminals looked to extortion, robbery, and narcotics trafficking.
The indictment had been filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Jessner. At 110 pages, the indictment was long, the result of many years’ worth of investigation.
Gregory Jessner was 42 years old and slender. He wore his brown hair short and appeared mild-mannered and soft-spoken. However, never judge a book by its cover. For a magnetic energy pulsed inside the man, an energy which powered the heart of a lion and the tenacity of a bulldog. Plus, Jessner was smart as God.
Jessner had filed his lengthy indictment against these 40 savage criminals for one simple reason: the death penalty appeared to be the only answer. Isolating these criminals in solitary confinement was ineffective, because they always found ways to communicate with each other. They bribed guards, used hand signals to talk to one another, or wrote in coded messages. In one instance, acting as their own defense attorneys, they had subpoenaed each other to appear at court hearings where they could speak with each other. Such men, men who were already destined to spend the rest of their lives in small, concrete boxes, merely laughed when the authorities added more time their sentences. Who cared? It was like beating a dead horse or talking to a wall.
So Jessner had decided the time had come to use his last resort – execute these super-criminals. “Capital punishment is the one arrow left in our quiver,” said Jessner. “I think even a lot of people who are against the death penalty in general would recognize that in this particular instance, where people are committing murder repeatedly from behind bars, there is little other option.”
Prosecutor Jessner was used to handling murder cases. It was part of his job. Yet he was struck by dismay when he considered the total indifference with which these men killed again and again. The slaughter of other human beings meant so little to them that they called it “taking care of business.” Which meant they thought of murder the same way anyone else thought of buying a pack of gum at the local 7-11 or a coffee-of-the-day at Starbuck’s. Murder was nothing more than a normal, everyday activity of life.
So Prosecutor Jessner decided to pursue these men using RICO. RICO would be the arrow he drew from his quiver. RICO stood for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was a federal law for going after criminal organizations. RICO came into being in 1970. G. Robert Blakely was the author of the RICO Act. He named it after the character in the movie Little Caesar, whose name was Rico. Edward G. Robinson played Rico in the movie. And Robinson was one of Blakely’s favorite movie stars.
Under the RICO Act anyone guilty of two or more of 35 stipulated crimes could be tried as a racketeer. The penalties imposed by the RICO act were severe. Thus between the death penalty on the one hand, and the RICO Act on the other hand, Prosecutor Jessner hoped to write “the end” on the murderous activities of these 40 super-criminals.
“I suspect they kill more than the Mafia,” said Prosecutor Jessner. “They kill more than any single drug trafficker. There are a lot of gang-related deaths on the streets, but they are usually more disorganized and random.” Pausing, he thought about what he had just said. “I think they may be the most murderous criminal organization in the United States.”
When Prosecutor Jessner used the word “they” he meant the Aryan Brotherhood. The most violently ruthless gang in the world, the Aryan Brotherhood came to bloody birth in San Quentin Prison in 1964. The prison population of San Quentin – called the “Q” – began choosing sides based on skin color. Blacks only socialized with other blacks. Hispanics refused to speak with anyone who wasn’t Hispanic. To protect themselves against the blacks and Hispanics, a few outlaw bikers – who were white – doing time in the “Q” formed their own clique. Back then the cliques weren’t called gangs. Instead they were called “tips.”
The black tip was called the Black Guerilla Family, and had ties to the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam. Mexican Mafia or La Eme was the name the Hispanics chose. The white boys called their tip the Diamond Tooth Gang, which referred to their teeth. To add an aura of fear and terror to their persons, the white guys glued bits of broken glass to their teeth. When they smiled, the sunlight glittered off the glass in their teeth. It looked as if they had diamonds in their teeth.
For some reason, after a while they changed the name from the Diamond Tooth Gang to the Blue Bird Gang. No one seems to know exactly why. Whatever the origin of the name, the Blue Bird Gang began to attract other white members at the “Q.” Soon this gang of “white warriors”, as they called themselves, dropped the Blue Bird name and designated themselves the Aryan Brotherhood – a direct reference to their skin color.
The Aryan Brotherhood recruited only the biggest, the baddest and the toughest white inmates. It was an exclusive order of white warriors. Their motto was “blood in, blood out.” This meant that each potential member had to “make his bones” before he became a full-fledged member. “Making one’s bones” meant spilling blood in hand-to-hand combat. Either the blood of another prisoner from a rival gang, or the blood of one of the guards. It didn’t matter which, but blood had to be spilled.
Once accepted, the member was branded with a tattoo. The idea of the “branding” was taken from the Louis L’Amour western novel of the same name – The Brand. It was a very popular novel among white inmates.
Usually the brand or tattoo was that of a green shamrock or 666, which was the mark of the beast in the last book of the Bible, or the letters AB. Whichever brand it was it meant that person was owned by the Aryan Brotherhood. This was why the Aryan Brotherhood was sometimes called “the brand” or “the rock,” because all its members were literally branded. The term “the rock” referred to the shamrock brand
that many members wore on their white skin.
Each new member of the Aryan Brotherhood had to take the pledge:
“An Aryan brother is without a care,
He walks where the weak and heartless won’t dare,
And if by chance he should stumble and lose control,
His brothers will be there, to help reach his goal,
For a worthy brother, no need is too great,
He need not but ask, fulfillment’s in his fate.
For an Aryan brother, death holds no fear,
Vengeance will be his, through his brothers still here.”
Although the author couldn’t confirm it, this pledge appeared to be similar to religious vows taken by Japan’s kamikaze pilots in World War II, and the Thugs of India, who murdered and robbed in the name of Kali, a god of destruction.
In the beginning, each member of the Aryan Brotherhood had a vote in all things, in every decision. So if some snitch was to be murdered, or a defector was to be killed as an example to what happened to such traitors, everyone voted and the majority ruled. But the democracy didn’t last long, because the Aryan Brotherhood was growing like a cancer. Within a few years, it had members in all of California’s prisons and many of the federal prisons in the United States. Older members realized that it was time for a change.
A three-man commission was set up. The commission functioned as a blasphemous Father, Son and Holy Spirit of violence, murder and death. Commissioners made the big, strategic decisions for the Brotherhood. Under them were councils, which had five to seven members. The councils ran the day-to-day operations of the gang. They could even order hits and contract murders, if necessary. Each prison system had its own council. For example, all the prisons in the state of California were governed by one five-man council. Texas had a council; Arizona had a council and so on.
Barry Mills, aka The Baron and Tyler Bingham sat on the Commission of the Aryan Brotherhood. The third commissioner was Thomas Silverstein, who was sometimes called “Terrible Tom.” More about him later.
These three men were the shot callers, the Terrible Triumvirate of the Aryan Brotherhood. They decided who would live and who would die. Who would run drugs, who would rob banks, who would extort money, who would do their evil bidding. Their power was absolute. Anyone who stood in the way was killed. The long arm of the Aryan Brotherhood reached anywhere and everywhere.
 A number of gangsta’ rappers later adopted this ‘jailhouse’ dental fashion. The rappers put real diamonds in their teeth. And the current trend of wearing baggy pants real-low on the buttocks – called ‘sagging’ – also began in prison and carried over into popular culture.
This shamrock brand was taken from the Arabian ‘shamrakh’, which symbolized the Persian Triad. Triads, unlike ‘trinities’ which are three-in-one, have three distinct members. In this case, Heaven-Man-Earth, that is the divine, the human and the natural, with man the mediator between the celestial and the terrestrial. The human mediators are ‘white-warriors.’ The shamrock is the mark of the white warrior and symbolizes the sunwheel or the black sun. According to Michael Thompson, an AB member who defected, the shamrock brand refers to the AB’s anitpathy toward the Christian concept of the Trinity as presented by St. Patrick in Ireland.