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Final pair convicted in Aryan Brotherhood of Texas case: prosecutors

By Amanda Orr

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The final two defendants of 73 members and associates convicted in a six-year investigation into the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas have pleaded guilty to racketeering in federal courts, a federal prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.

Rusty Eugene Duke of Dallas pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a racketeering charge at a federal court in Houston and is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 29. Tammy Melissa Wall, of Otto, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the same charge last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said.

"The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas launched its murderous and racist ideology within the Texas prisons, but unleashed a violent crime wave that jumped the prison walls and spread like a virus," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said.

Lawyers for the two were not immediately available for comment.

The convicted have been charged with involvement in a white supremacist criminal organization that perpetuated violent crimes including murder, kidnapping, brutal beatings and firebombing, U.S. prosecutors said.

The organization was a hierarchy, with five "generals" who each oversaw one of five geographic regions of Texas. Each general supervised two chains of command, one inside prison and one outside of prison, the Justice Department said.

The race-based organization was established in 1980 in the Texas prison system to protect white inmates and for the promotion of whites as a superior race, using violence and murder to enforce its rules, prosecutors said.

Over time, it expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)