Los Angeles -- A dozen members and associates of a white supremacist prison gang known as the Nazi Low Riders were indicted by a federal grand jury on racketeering charges, it was announced Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said the indictment targeted members of the gang who are imprisoned in California state penitentiaries, including a number of so-called bosses known as "seniors" who allegedly head Nazi Low Riders factions at various facilities.
"The indictment alleges that members of the NLR committed acts of violence to spread a white supremacist philosophy and to control the drug trafficking activities of Caucasian inmates," the U.S. Attorney's office said in a press release. "NLR members are subject to a series of rules and regulations, such as obeying all orders given by 'seniors' (leaders) and not engaging in 'race mixing.'"
While probably not as well known as the Aryan Brotherhood, the NLR has been in existence since the 1970s. While not even officially recognized as a gang by California prison officials until 1999, the NLR has been able to grow into a dominant force in several state prisons in recent years when state officials cracked down on the Aryan Brotherhood and the Aryan Brotherhood leadership.
"To maintain control over the Caucasian prison population, the AB needed to give authority and power to another group that had the accessibility and mobility to continue committing crimes in prison," the indictment alleged. "Accordingly, the NLR took over the control and the power of the Caucasian inmates within California's prison system. In turn for having been given control of the yards by the AB, the NLR would commit criminal acts for the AB as requested."
The 17-count indictment issued late Wednesday alleges the defendants were involved in 19 attempted murders that occurred inside prison walls, and the 1996 slaying of one Karl Hennings in the town of Devore.
"The NLR controls a significant portion of the illegal activities committed by white inmates in California's prisons, however, the organization's criminal influence and activities are not bound by prison walls," the U.S. Attorney's office said. "Members continue to commit violent crimes and drug trafficking crimes once released on parole ... The crimes committed on the outside are done at the direction of and for the benefit of the NLR and the members who remain in prison."
The defendants include Joseph "Blue" Lowery, 28, of Lomita, who was described as "one of the highest-ranking Seniors in the NLR who has orchestrated numerous violent acts throughout California's prisons and jails from his cell at Pelican Bay State Prison where he is serving a sentence stemming from a murder conviction."
Most of the other defendants were inmates at the high-security prison at Pelican Bay or at the Corcoran and Tehachapi state prisons. The lone female named in the indictment is a 28-year-old gang associate named Jennifer D'Anna, who is an inmate at the women's prison in Chino.