The shocking murders of two prosecutors in Texas could be the work of the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist group, according to U.S. Rep. Ted Poe of Texas.
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were killed last week in their home, just two months after Mark Hasse, the assistant district attorney for the county, was shot dead.
Kaufman County was engaged in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood, which is heavily involved in the production and sale of methamphetamine
Last December, the Texas Department of Public Safety warned the Brotherhood was “actively planning retaliation against law enforcement officials.”
“It could possibly be the Aryan Brotherhood,” Poe, a former judge and Texas prosecutor, told CNN.
He pointed out that only 13 prosecutors have been murdered in the United States in the past 30 years. He said the Texas killings were “specifically aimed at certain people in particular roles in law enforcement.”
“It seems to me that a scenario may be developing that the district attorney’s office was investigating this gang, or another gang, and they wanted to prevent that investigation,” Poe said.
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes told Reuters that McLelland and his wife were discovered by a friend who had gone to check on the couple.
The FBI, Texas rangers and other law enforcement officials are investigating the deaths, Byrnes said.
“It’s pretty obvious it’s unnerving,” Byrnes said at a press conference on Sunday. “We are striving to assure the community that we are providing public safety.”
After Assistant District Attorney Hasse, 57, was shot dead near the Kaufman County Courthouse on January 31, McLelland vowed to arrest the “scum” responsible. In recent weeks McLelland told reporters that he began to carry a gun at all times.
Hasse had been involved in investigating members of the Aryan Brotherhood, according to the Dallas Morning News, which reported that his murder may have been a “hit.”
In December, the Department of Public Safety issued a bulletin warning that authorities had received “credible information” that the Brotherhood was planning retaliation against law enforcement officials, following indictments of dozens of its members in Houston.
“High ranking members … are involved in issuing orders to inflict ‘mass casualties or death’ to law enforcement officials who were involved in cases where Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are facing life sentences or the death penalty,” the bulletin stated.
In an anonymous post on The Daily Beast, a former African-American inmate who said he served time surrounded by members of the Aryan Brotherhood, predicted that since many of the gang members are now being released for crimes they committed in the 1980s and 1990s, the reign of criminal terror will increase.
In the post, which is entitled “Why I Fear the Aryan Brotherhood—and You Should, Too,” the writer said the group has a mountaintop compound in Idaho, called Mountain Home, where they have been headquartered for years. He claimed that local enforcement know about the location, but will not attempt to root them out for fear that it would lead to explosive warlike conflict, with many deaths of both sides.
“They know we’re up in there,” the writer quoted a member of the Brotherhood telling him, “but it ain’t worth riskin’ getting their (expletive) blown off to come in and try to take us out. They want to go home too, and they know we ain’t (expletive) around. We ain’t trying to overthrow the government or nothing. We’re just fighting to protect our wives, kids and our way of life, and them coward (expletive) know it. All we’re asking is to be left alone.”