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Former Aryan Nations Leader Arrested on Drug Charges in Arizona

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Justin Dwyer, 39, a former leader in the neo-Nazi organization Aryan Nations, on drug charges stemming from an undercover investigation. Dwyer himself was employed as a deputy in the sheriff's office at the time of his arrest.

Dwyer was arrested on May 20, 2007, and charged with involving a minor in a drug offense, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of drugs, use of cocaine, possession of a firearm during a drug offense, and use of electronic communication in a drug-related transaction.

At the time of the arrest, Dwyer was allegedly attempting to purchase cocaine. According to authorities, the charge of involving a minor stems from an alleged incident in April, in which Dwyer purportedly sent his minor son to meet with a drug dealer and purchase cocaine.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant on Dwyer's home in which drug paraphernalia, cocaine, and several firearms were allegedly found.

Dwyer currently resides in Arizona, but spent most of the 1990s in the Pacific Northwest. It was during this time that he became one of the more prominent white supremacist leaders in the region. In the early 1990s, Dwyer acted as the Washington State Leader for Aryan Nations. Aryan Nations, led by Richard Butler of Hayden Lake, Idaho, was at the time one of the largest and most notorious neo-Nazi groups in the United States, with a propensity for criminal activity.

In October 1991, Dwyer and his group distributed racist fliers in Washington. Dwyer said that the group was putting its greatest efforts into recruiting because "members of the Aryan Nations share the belief that the 'white race' is more highly evolved than other races and that people who are not white were created as a work force for the planet."

In 1992, Dwyer was a featured speaker at the annual Aryan Youth Action Conference, a regular event founded by Butler to recruit young racists and skinheads into the neo-Nazi movement. By 1994 he was helping to secure white power bands to play for the event.

Dwyer resigned from Aryan Nations in the late 1990s, citing disagreements over recruiting tactics and its treatment of youth and women.

Dwyer, who has been a Patrol Deputy in the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office since 1999, has been placed on administrative suspension without pay for the remainder of the investigation. The Sheriff's Office was aware at the time of Dwyer's hiring of his former status with Aryan Nations.

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UPDATE

February 3, 2009

On January 12, 2009, a Yavapai County Superior Court judge sentenced Justin Dwyer to 7.5 years in prison with no possibility of parole.

Dwyer pleaded guilty to three felony drug counts of transferring drugs to minors, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor on September 5, 2008.  During that hearing, Dwyer confessed to supplying alcohol and cocaine to minors in his home.

The sentence includes 7.5 years for the combined felony drug counts, and 180 days for the misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Because the sentences were ordered to run concurrently, Dwyer will only serve a total of 7.5 years.

The judge additionally ordered Dwyer to pay a $2,000 fine for each of the three felony drug counts.

Dwyer, 41, a former leader in the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, was a patrol deputy in the Yavapai County Sherriff's Office at the time of his arrest in May 2007.

During the sentencing, the judge read the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office mission statement, telling Dwyer, "That's the spirit of what you violated."

This is not the first time Dwyer has faced criminal charges related to actions taken involving his minor son.  In 2005, while still a Yavapai County deputy, Dwyer pleaded guilty to one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for sexual actions and comments made to his son's babysitter.

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