Crime

Federal jury convicts Aryan Circle members, one burned victim’s tattoo from skin

BEAUMONT — U.S. Attorney’s Office – A Texas man and a Missouri man were convicted at trial of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charges stemming from their membership in the white supremacy prison gang, the Aryan Circle, between 2010 and 2021, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Aryan Circle is a race-based, violent prison gang with hundreds of members operating throughout the country, both inside and outside of prisons. The Aryan Circle enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through threats, intimidation, assaults, and murder.

A federal jury convicted a Texas man and a Missouri man on Tuesday of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charges stemming from their membership in the white supremacy prison gang, the Aryan Circle, between 2010 and 2021.

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Evidence presented at trial showed that William Glenn Chunn, aka Big Head, 39, of Conroe, Texas, is one of the five highest-ranking Aryan Circle leaders in the nation. He used his leadership role to order violent stabbings against rival gang members and other victims, as well as to seek out and retaliate against individuals he believed were cooperating with law enforcement. Evidence presented at trial showed that Jesse Paul Blankenship, aka JP, 38, of Stratford, Missouri, “put in work” by committing violence on behalf of the gang, including shooting at two victims inside their home and participating in a kidnapping and removal of another member’s patch, or gang tattoo, by burning it from the victim’s skin using a metal rod heated with a blowtorch. After committing these crimes, Blankenship moved up in rank in Aryan Circle and has since ordered additional acts of violence.

“This case exemplifies great collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement to not only stop gang violence in prison, but also to protect innocent persons when that activity overflows into our communities, said Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who advocate harm to others, and to specifically target the leaders of violent gangs.”

“Today’s verdicts keep two violent white supremacists from wreaking havoc and hate on the streets of America,” said ATF SAC Fred Milanowski. “This marks the 36th and 37thconviction under Operation Noble Virtue, which began in Houston and culminated with racketeering prosecutions in six states. This far-reaching national investigation serves as a model for what can be achieved through strong collaboration with our federal, state and local partners”

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Chunn was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, including an enhanced sentencing factor for an attempted murder he ordered relating to a violent stabbing. Blankenship was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, kidnapping in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in aid of racketeering. Both defendants face maximum penalties of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated by the following agencies: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Prisons; Texas Department of Public Safety; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Montgomery County (TX) Precinct One Constable’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; New Jersey Department of Corrections-Special Investigations Division; Indiana State Police; Fort Smith (AR) Police Department; Arkansas Department of Corrections; Arnold (MO) Police Department; Jefferson County (MO) Sheriff’s Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; St. Louis County (MO) Police Department; Indiana Department of Corrections; Carrollton (TX) Police Department; Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office; Smith County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; McCurtain County (OK) Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Liberty County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Harris County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Mercer County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) District Attorney’s Office; and the Sebastian County (AR) District Attorney’s Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the Eastern District of Texas along with Trial Attorneys Beth Lipman and Rebecca Dunnan of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting these cases.

Written by KFDM/FOX 4

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