The Aryan Circle, an often brutal white supremacist gang based primarily in Texas, is "growing and dangerous," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which today released a new report on the group's widening influence inside and outside Texas prisons.
Founded by Texas prison inmates in the 1980s, Aryan Circle is now the second-largest white supremacist gang in Texas and one of the largest in the United States. Membership measures at least 1400 people, according to the ADL report, The Aryan Circle: Crime in the Name of Hate.
Aryan Circle members often commit crimes to fund activities and dissemination of their white supremacist ideology. Among their most frequent crimes: illicit drug making and selling, property theft and identity theft. But Aryan Circle members also have been behind vicious hate crimes and assaults.
"The Aryan Circle sets itself apart form other white supremacist groups by running a profit-driven and often violent criminal enterprise, both in the prison system and on the streets," said Mark Briskman, ADL North Texas/Oklahoma Regional Director. "Aryan Circle members have participated in organized violence, including attacks against rival gangs, hate crimes, and the murders of suspected informants and law enforcement officers, while at the same time espousing an ideology that members of the white race are superior and disenfranchised."
Aryan Circle members also have a long track record of murder, including the killings by a Houston Aryan Circle member of two police officers in Bastrop, Louisiana in 2007.
Most of the group's members are concentrated in Texas, with cells in or near many metropolitan areas, including Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, San Angelo, Wichita Falls, and Midland/Odessa, among others.
The group also has spread its tentacles into surrounding states, has attempted to actively recruit new members in Texas' border states, and individual cells and members have been noted across the country.
See report here.