More than 125 local and federal agents arrested nearly three dozen people in five Ohio counties yesterday on drug, gun, and racketeering charges linked to the violent Aryan Brotherhood, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The yearlong investigation began when a gang member threatened two police officers. Among those arrested were at least two ranking members of the the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist gang that encourages violence against minorities. “This is a significant operation, not just because of the people involved, but because it shows criminal gangs are moving out of the big cities and into the suburbs,” said agent Patrick Berarducci of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
More than 80 weapons, including 13 automatic machine guns, were seized. About 20 percent of the 32 people arrested were members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood, Berarducci said. The Aryan Brotherhood formed in the mid-1960s at San Quentin prison in California as white prisoners sought protection against members of black and Hispanic gangs. The gang’s membership and influence has spread to prisons throughout the country. Ohio prisons hold about 550 members. Members are identified through their tattoos, which include double lightning bolts with the numbers “666” on their chest and the initials “AB” on the left collarbone.