by Jen Kastner
The Aryan Circle is quickly spreading throughout the Permian Basin. One of its members who goes by Tatt2 RayRay says, "I love the Aryan Circle. I would die AC."
The FBI says the Aryan Circle isn't leaving the area anytime soon. A. Lamar Pruit is the FBI-Midland Senior Supervisory Resident Agent. She tells us, "They continue to have a presence. They continue to grow."
Mark Pitcavage with the Anti-Defamation League says, "A lot of Aryan Circle people have always found jobs in the oil industry in one way or another so people have come in with the Aryan Circle from other parts of Texas looking for work."
You don't have to look that hard to find them. If you go onto Facebook, just type "Aryan Circle" into the search box with the settings set to Midland or Odessa. If you look around for a bit, you'll find some of the members. That's exactly how we found the men we interviewed for this story. One Facebook user even put "Aryan Circle" under the "Activities and Interests" section. It doesn't get more transparent than that.
Law enforcement calls them a violent, hateful, meth-dealing gang, but the Aryan Circle couldn't disagree more.
Tatt2 RayRay says, "It's a brotherhood, which is on one of the four sides of the diamond [tattoo] we get." On the sides of the diamond reads, "Solidarity, loyalty, dedication and brotherhood," he adds.
They say they don't hate anyone. They're simply protecting their own race. A member who goes by Shaggy says, "I want to keep my genes and my genetics pure. We are not to interbreed. The reason for that is that it causes a chemical imbalance in the body."
Tatt2 RayRay says, "God didn't make a line to sleep with a sheep and for a sheep to sleep with a bear. God made a white man for a white woman, a black man for a black woman and a Chinese man for a Chinese woman. Stick with your race."
They defend their swastikas, saying that in their eyes, they symbolize strength.
"I hate Hitler. I can't stand him. I don't represent Hitler no more than the man on the moon," Tatt2 RayRay said.
The Circle says their beliefs come down to culture, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to preserve a culture.
Shaggy says, "In prison, you get three or more black people together and it's culturalism and three or more Mexicans together and it's also culturalism but if you get three or more white people together, it's racism."
Tatt2 RayRay says, "A black guy's cultural ways sometimes don't add up to our cultural ways, like with the way they raise they children and right down to the way they brush their hair."
Officials say they're known for running into trouble with meth.
"I am one of those brothers who was addicted to methamphetamine. I was sticking a needle in my arm every morning. [I took] 60 units or more before my feet hit the floor," Tatt2 RayRay said.
The men we interviewed are all former felons. They say true brothers will not touch meth anymore.
Tatt2 RayRay says, "We are not allowed to sell dope, shoot dope or be anywhere around it."
They were all former addicts. They say the Circle has helped put them through rehab programs.
Tatt2 RayRay says, "I can actually look at my mama and at myself in the mirror and say, 'I'm sober and I'm proud of myself and I don't care what y'all say.'"
However, their reputation of violence still seems to hold somewhat true. If you decide to be disloyal to them, you'd better watch out.
"Oh we do the whole paperwork. It's called 'SOS' or 'Smash on Site'. That's where you've messed up so bad within the organization, we don't want you anymore. You're trash. You have messed up so bad that we will cut your patch off. Literally, we will burn it out of your skin," Tatt2 RayRay said.
Yet despite their defense, the law still calls them a gang and one that will keep growing.
Sgt. Investigator Billy Bloom with the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office says, "We will see an increase in Aryan prison gangs as a whole."