FRESNO, Calif. — As part of a multi-agency operation, more than 60 individuals associated with the Aryan Brotherhood were arrested in California, Nevada and Montana on federal and state charges in connection with their gang activities, including violent crimes, illegal firearms trafficking and possession and drug trafficking.
The charges were announced today by U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman of the ATF’s San Francisco Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
“For the second time in less than 18 months, we are announcing federal charges against Aryan Brotherhood members and associates, a violent gang operating in California prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “Yesterday, five inmates were transferred to federal custody from California state prisons. All were serving lengthy sentences, two were serving life sentences for murder. We are committed to doing everything we can to stop these violent inmates from orchestrating their criminal activities from inside prison walls.”
“This operation was an expansive multi-agency law enforcement investigation into the ongoing violent criminal activity conducted by the Aryan Brotherhood and associated gangs throughout the Fresno area and the nation,” said Special Agent in Charge Gorman. “ATF and our law enforcement partners knew that if we effectively and efficiently leveraged our resources and specialties that we would accomplish much more together than we could alone. From the outset, we had a clear plan and a sharp focus for running an investigation that would impact the community for the better. Thanks to a tremendous amount of great work on the street level, we have accomplished what we set out to do.”
“The FBI continues to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to ensure we all have safe neighborhoods for our families. Our collaborative investigation is a testament to the success of a multi-agency approach to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling criminal organizations,” said Special Agent in Charge Ragan. “In addition to the significant efforts of our partners, FBI agents, deputized task force officers, intelligence analysts, and support personnel alone have committed more than 6,000 hours of work to the success of this operation since August 2019.”
Earlier this year, investigators began seeing evidence that Aryan Brotherhood (AB) members and associates in prison were directing criminal activities outside of the prison walls. The AB is gang formed in the California prison system in about 1964 by white inmates who wanted to gain power and authority in prison. It includes other associated gangs, such as Fresnecks, Peckerwoods, and Skinheads.
During the course of the investigation, robberies, murders, drug trafficking, pervasive fraud, and firearms offenses occurring in Fresno, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Inyo, and other areas in California, were tied to the AB prison gang. Eventually, the investigation reached as far as Montana, Missouri, Idaho, and Alabama. Eleven acts of violence were intercepted before they were accomplished, and over 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 5 pounds of heroin, and over 25 firearms were seized.
According to the federal complaint, a network of defendants engaged in a series of firearms and drug trafficking offenses, mostly led by defendants Robert Eversole, Kenneth Bash, and Todd Morgan. The drug offenses involved pound quantities of methamphetamine, and the trafficking extended outside of California. Additionally, several defendants participated in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs and dangerous contraband into prisons. The complaint also alleges illegal firearms possession related to a plan to commit a murder. The complaint charges the following defendants:
1) Kenneth Bash, aka “Bash” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
2) Robert Eversole, aka “Rage,” of Kern Valley State Prison (firearms and drug trafficking)
3) Stephanie Madsen of Torrance (drug trafficking)
4) Todd Morgan, aka “Fox,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
5) David Zachocki, aka “Lil David Z,” of Lodi (felon in possession of a firearm)
6) Cody Brown of Atascadero (drug trafficking)
7) Regina Broomall, aka “G,” of Santa Maria (firearms trafficking)
8) Geoffrey Guess, aka “Active,” of Fresno (firearms trafficking)
9) Angel Lopez, aka “Rascal,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
10) Joseph McWilliams, aka “Janky,” (drug trafficking, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense)
11) James Armstrong (drug trafficking)
12) Marlon Palmer, aka “P-Nut,” of Salinas Valley State Prison (drug trafficking)
13) Samantha Booth of Clovis (drug trafficking)
14) Jacob Renshaw, aka “Shredder,” in custody in Montana (drug trafficking)
15) Amanda Gourley, aka “Biggie,” of Fresno (drug trafficking)
The Fresno County District Attorney’s office has charged more than 30 people in connection with this investigation for gang conspiracy, fraud and violent crimes including kidnapping, carjacking, assault with a firearm and arson.
As part of this operation, 39 federal and state search warrants were served in Fresno, Santa Maria, Los Angeles, and Montana. Multiple guns, and over 7 pounds of methamphetamine, prescription pills and heroin were found and seized as a result of these searches. Additionally, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted searches of 63 cells in 14 state prisons in California related to this investigation. Among the items seized in the prisons were cellphones and drugs.
This investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit (SSU).
Assisting in the arrests were the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bishop Police Department, and the Clovis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Stokman and Thomas Newman, and Fresno County Deputy District Attorneys Robert Veneman-Hughes and Dennis Lewis are handling the prosecutions.
The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.