FORT WORTH, Texas, April 3 (UPI) -- The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a prison gang known for violence and drug dealing, has deep roots in Tarrant County, Texas, a law enforcement official said.
The group plays a substantial role in the county's criminal life and surrounding areas, Tarrant County Narcotics Unit officer Herschel Tebay said Tuesday.
"If we run across white males dealing in drugs in Tarrant County, there's a good chance the Aryan Brotherhood is involved," he said.
The Texas Gang Threat Assessment 2012, released this week by the Texas Department of Public Safety, notes the gang is active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is among the most significant gangs in northeast Texas.
The Aryan Brotherhood is a nationwide organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States. It was established as a prison gang in California's San Quentin penitentiary in 1967 to protect white inmates from black and Hispanic inmates, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Wednesday.
It "maintains a working relationship with the Mexican Mafia," the Florida Department of Corrections has said.
Investigators have explored possible connections between the Aryan Brotherhood and the killings of prosecutors in Kaufman County, Texas, but remain tight-lipped about them, the newspaper noted.
With security concerns in an ongoing federal racketeering case in Houston against 34 members of the gang, which involves three alleged homicides, assistant federal prosecutor Jay Hileman withdrew from the case, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Houston attorney Tom Berg, who has defended members of several prison gangs, noted it was unusual for an assistant prosecutor to withdraw from a case.
"It could be jitters based on Kaufman County, or it could be something completely independent that provoked it. There's a general hunkering down going on with prosecutors that are related to some of these gang prosecutions," Berg said.