Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Leader Pleads Guilty

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Leader Pleads Guilty

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

HOUSTON - They follow the motto "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" and allegedly use violence to enforce their rules. But earlier this week, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) took a hit; One of their leaders cut a plea deal. 51-year-old James Sampsell plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.

According to court documents, Sampsell agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, robbery and arson for the ABT. Sampsell, who's known as "Skitz", is from Midland but he had been arrested in Houston in 2013 for conspiring to sell crystal meth to undercover officers posed as buyers. 

Sampsell was originally facing charges that could carry a maximum charge of the death penalty. But by pleading guilty to the one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity, his other counts would be dismissed. So Sampsell, confirmed his involvement with ABT's criminal culture in exchange for a lesser sentence. 

Official reports indicate the ABT has a strict organizational structure with territory split into five regions headed by a general. Sampsell is one of those generals. The indictment says that gang members would meet throughout Texas to enforce their rules and violently discipline offenders. They'd also recruit others to join the organization, which can only happen once the prospective member has been sponsored. Thereafter, recruits have to prove themselves and be ready to follow higher ranks "Direct Orders" or DO's, including murdering someone. And membership is for life.

Court documents state Sampsell had become a "fully made" member of the ABT enterprise in 2002, held ranks inside and outside of prison as of 2010 and was promoted to General over Region Three in January 2012. 

Sampsell is one of 37 defendants charged with conducting racketeering activity through the ABT among other charges. To date, 21 of them have pleaded guilty.  

The case is still being investigated by multiple agencies including the DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals. Sampsell is facing a maximum penalty of life in prison and possibly a fine of $250,000 dollars. His sentencing is scheduled for October 7.