Ten members of the racist prison gang known as the Aryan Circle were convicted on July 19, 2004 on drug and racketeering charges related to a major West Texas methamphetamine ring.
The Aryan Circle is one of the largest racist prison gangs in Texas, known especially for its violent rivalry with the Texas Aryan Brotherhood.
Four gang members were convicted of operating a criminal enterprise involving methamphetamine that prosecutors said controlled as much as 80% of the trade in the illegal drug in the Odessa area. As a result, Charles Samson, Michael Lewis, Victor Wesley Tucker and Malachi David Wren all face mandatory life sentences in federal prison.
Samson and the other three were also convicted of conspiring to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine, as were Jerry Beason, Leonard Griffith, Shane Samson, Michael Martin, Buddy Ford, and Donnie Thompson. Those convictions have a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Nineteen other defendants previously pleaded guilty to various charges related to the Aryan Circle’s drug trade near Odessa, Texas, between January 2000 and March 2004.