EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

April 2, 2013

Suspicion in Texas DA deathshifts to white supremacists

(Continued)

At the time, prosecutors called the indictments “a devastating blow to the leadership” of the gang. Pelz said the indictments might have fragmented the gang’s leadership.

Hasse’s Jan. 31 death came on the same day as the first guilty pleas were entered in the indictment. No arrests have been made in his killing.

McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that investigated the Aryan Brotherhood with help from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and police in Houston and Fort Worth.

Detectives have declined to say if the Aryan Brotherhood is the focus of their investigation, but the state Department of Public Safety bulletin warned that the group is “involved in issuing orders to inflict ‘mass casualties or death’ to law enforcement officials involved in the recent case.”

Killing law enforcement representatives would be uncharacteristic of the group, Pelz said.

“They don’t go around killing officials,” he said. “They don’t draw heat upon themselves.”

But Pelz, who worked in the Texas prison system for 21 years, said the gang has a history of threatening officials and of killing its own members or rivals.

The 18-count indictment accused gang members of being involved in three murders of rival gang members, multiple attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

Some of the attempted murders in the indictment involved gang members who were targeted for not following orders or rules or who were believed to be cooperating with law enforcement. The indictment also alleges that gang members discussed killing a police officer in 2008 and allegedly ordered a subordinate gang member to kill a prospect “and to return the victim’s severed finger as a trophy.”

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies throughout Texas were on high alert, and steps were being taken to better protect DAs and their staffs.

In Kaufman County, deputies escorted some employees into the courthouse Monday after the slayings stirred fears that other public employees could be targeted. Law enforcement officers were seen patrolling outside the courthouse, one holding a semi-automatic weapon, while others walked around inside.

McLelland was the 13th prosecutor killed in the U.S. since the National Association of District Attorneys began keeping count in the 1960s.

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