According to the U.S. Justice Department, 21 Utah-based white supremacists have been indicted for allegedly selling drugs and firearms. In recent days, similar charges were brought against white supremacist gang members in Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah said in a statement that the recent charges were unsealed in federal court following an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force of the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, Silent Aryan Warriors, Noble Elect Thugs, and associates.
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In the statement the defendants were described as “documented gang members and associates of several home-grown white supremacist gangs from around the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas.”
“The Aryan Circle is a violent, race-based organization that operates inside federal prisons across the country and outside prisons in states including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri,” the statement said.
President Donald Trump came under fire in the first presidential debate for his unwillingness to clearly denounce white supremacy and for telling the right-wing Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
Reversing his stance on Thursday during an NBC town hall, the president repeatedly said he denounced white supremacy.
As reported by Deseret News, U.S. Attorney John Huber said he was concerned that there might be the perception that the Department of Justice directed local jurisdictions to crack down on white supremacists to show the Trump administration is serious about rooting them out.
Read More: Dems send letter to Trump demanding he disavow comments on White supremacists on national TV
He said the DOJ had been working on the case since June of 2019 and added that the Utah arrests are the result of investigations that are well over a year old.
According to Reuters, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have also expressed concern about domestic extremism in the lead up to the Nov. 3 election.
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