In a rare example of the government doing its job, the Department of Justice announced today that a multi-agency investigation has concluded with the charging of 18 members of an Alaskan white supremacist gang, known as the 1488s. Members of the gang have bee charged with racketeering, drug dealing, arms trafficking, and violent acts including murder and kidnapping.
The investigation was a collaboration between the DOJ, an Alaska district attorney, the FBI, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.
The gang members went by nicknames, all of which sound like something a 13 year old boy would make up. Those charged include someone named Filthy Fuhrer (who legally changed his name from Timothy Lobdell), and guys who went by “Thumper,” “Beast,” and “Glen Dog.” Very cool!
But despite their idiotic nicknames, these guys seem pretty serious.
“The defendants allegedly participated in the heinous murder of Michael Staton, with the goal of impressing their vile and racist gang,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a press conference. “The Criminal Division is committed to bringing the 1488s to justice, and holding accountable those who further its agenda of violence and hatred.”
“While the violent crimes these individuals are charged with are certainly serious in and of themselves, their affiliation in support of a white supremacy enterprise is of even greater concern,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffery Peterson. “This impactful case demonstrates law enforcement’s abilities to penetrate even the most secret organizations through cooperation at all levels and sharing a common goal.”
The 1488s, whose name is a reference to common white supremacist slogans, apparently began as a white supremacist prison gang. Members are required to “be white, look white and act white,” and many have Nazi-inspired tattoos. Full membership in the gang apparently requires committing an act of violence. The gang was reportedly started in 2010 by Alaskan inmates at prisons in Alaska, Colorado, and Arizona.
White supremacist gangs have long flourished in the American prison system. But recently, we’ve seen more white supremacist organizations rising elsewhere. Earlier this month, leaked chat logs revealed seven current U.S. service members were involved with the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. And in February, a Coast Guard Lieutenant was arrested for planning to commit mass murder in the name of white supremacy, with targets including politicians and media figures.