A member of the Aryan Circle (AC) pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in an October 2016 violent assault, as well as conspiring to sell firearms to a convicted felon. Another individual pleaded guilty on April 19, to conspiring with members of the AC to sell methamphetamine.
Rodney Shane Holt, aka “Turbo,” 48, of Tyler, Texas, pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, as well as conspiracy to sell firearms to a convicted felon. Holt committed the assault as part of his membership in the AC, a gang that operates in Texas and other states throughout the country. According to court documents, Holt planned and participated in the events surrounding a violent beating of another AC member who wanted to switch his gang affiliation, or “patch over,” from the AC to a different gang. Holt and other AC members carried out the attack in order to “X,” or remove the AC member from the gang, because joining another organization violated the AC’s rules. Holt also sold high caliber firearms to convicted felons.
Eulalio Torres-Cadenas, aka “Yayo,” 43, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, namely 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. According to court documents, Torres-Cadenas supplied an AC member with multiple kilograms of methamphetamine in 2016, in the area of Houston, Texas. The AC member then went on to distribute the methamphetamine to buyers in Louisiana, including other AC members. The drug conspiracy that Torres-Cadenas pleaded to was uncovered as part of Operation Noble Virtue, an investigation that has focused on the criminal conduct of the AC’s leadership.
The AC is a violent, white supremacist organization that originated in the Texas Department of Corrections and operates in federal prisons across the country, as well as outside prisons in states including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through murder, attempted murder, assault, and threats. Members, and oftentimes associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.
Sentencing dates have not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Holt faces maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for the assault in aid of racketeering and five years in prison for the firearms conspiracy, while Torres-Cadenas faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas made the announcement.
This case is being investigated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Prisons; Texas Department of Public Safety; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Montgomery County (TX) Precinct One Constable’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; New Jersey Department of Corrections-Special Investigations Division; Indiana State Police; Fort Smith (AR) Police Department; Arkansas Department of Corrections; Arnold (MO) Police Department; Jefferson County (MO) Sheriff’s Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; St. Louis County (MO) Police Department; Indiana Department of Corrections; Carrollton (TX) Police Department; Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office; Smith County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; McCurtain County (OK) Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Liberty County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Harris County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Mercer County (NJ) District Attorney’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) District Attorney’s Office; and the Sebastian County (AR) District Attorney’s Office.
Trial Attorneys Bethany Lipman, Rebecca Dunnan and Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the Eastern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.