ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Federal prosecutors in Alaska, along with the Justice Department's organized crime and drug section, announced Wednesday charges brought against six men on federal racketeering charges for their involvement in a highly structured, white supremacist prison gang -- the 1488s -- associated with "narcotics distribution, firearms trafficking, and acts of violence involving murder, assault and kidnapping," according to an indictment filed March 19.
It brings to eight the number of defendants associated with the 2017 murder of fellow gang member Michael Staton.
At a mutli-agency press conference held in Anchorage's federal courthouse, prosecutors said as many as 22 individuals connected to a mutli-year investigation into the gang, which got its start inside Alaska's prison system, are criminally charged in multiple cases.
Federal investigator used Violent Crimes in aid of Racketeering, or VICAR, laws to bring the charges, not unlike occurred in the 1980s and 1990s to disrupt the mafia, said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Jeffrey Peterson during the press conference.
Prosecutors describe the gang as a "violent, race-based, 'whites only' prison-based gang with approximately 50 to 100 members operating in Alaska and inside and outside of penal institutions throughout Alaska and elsewhere."
Charges against its members include conspiracy, weapons and drug violations, kidnapping, murder, mail theft and car jacking.
VICAR laws "allow us to pursue not only the people that pull the triggers, but the people that call the shots. That's a significant departure from conventional criminal law enforcement in the state or even the federal level," Peterson said.
Defendant Craig "Oakie" King was scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning. Also charged are Filthy Fuhrer, whose prior legal name was Timothy Lobdell, Roy "Thumper" Naughton, Glen "Glen Dog" Baldwin, Colter O'Dell and Beau Cook.
All have been arrested except for Baldwin, who investigators believe is out of state, and was last seen in Florida. Two other members of the 1488s — Nicholas Kozzorra, and Dustin Clowers — pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder last year.
The men are accused of kidnapping and killing Michael "Steak Knife" Staton on August 3, 2017 to gain membership and maintain their status in the gang.
Gang members believed Staton, an addict, had stolen from an associate affiliated with the Hell's Angels, and enforcers within the 1488s summoned Staton to Anchorage, according to an Aug, 2018 plea agreement by Dustin Clowers, one of the men accused for a role in Staton's murder. The plea document goes on to detail a violent end to Staton's life, stating his attackers used a searing hot knife to burn off his gang tattoo, beat him multiple times, including after he'd escaped from the trunk of a car, finally completing the beating in the room of a vacant housing unit blanketed in plastic for easy clean up.
"They were unhappy with some things that he'd done in the gang and they were in effect removing him from the gang," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Schroder.
At least 14 other indictments have been issued from the investigation into the 1488 organization and its members and associates. The investigation was led by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Alaska State Troopers.
"No law enforcement agency in Alaska works alone. Any major case that we have, we all rely on our partnerships," Peterson said. "That is no different for the FBI. In this particular case we would not be here today if the Alaska State Troopers did not bring this case to us. The other concept that we have in Alaska is that we are badgeless. Whoever has the best tools to bring to bare against the threat or criminal group is who we go to. In this case it happens to be the FBI."
According to prosecutors, the gang relied on drug and weapons trafficking to fund its activities and used threats and violence in and out of prison to keep members and others in line.