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Federal Prosecutors Target Prison Gang in Drug Crackdown

Crime: Three alleged members of the Nazi Low Riders are indicted, two in the stabbing of a fellow inmate and a third on a charge related to methamphetamine trafficking.

August 03, 2000|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal grand injury indicted three men Wednesday in a continuing crackdown on the Nazi Low Riders, a California-spawned prison gang dominant in the methamphetamine drug trade.

Since late last year, federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a dozen alleged gang members.

While being held on drug charges at a San Bernardino County detention center last year, William Richie, 28, and David Rolph, 24, who are white, repeatedly slashed a black inmate with a makeshift knife, according to the indictment.

The victim, Cedric Allan Parker, 35, suffered wounds to his face, neck and body.

Richie, who goes by the nickname of Kreeper, and Rolph, whose nickname is Little Man, carried out the attack "for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their positions in the NLR" (the Nazi Low Riders), the indictment said.

Both were charged with committing violence to aid a racketeering activity. The third man indicted faces drug charges.

Prosecutors and trackers of hate groups say the Nazi Low Riders have emerged as a force to be reckoned with inside California's racially splintered prisons and jails.

California prison authorities have classified the Nazi Low Riders as a prison gang on the order of the Mexican Mafia or the Aryan Brotherhood.

Members wear Nazi tattoos on their bodies and refer to each other as "comrades" or "woods," short for "peckerwoods."

Their goals are to advance white supremacist ideology and to preserve, protect and expand their criminal enterprise, the government charged in the indictment.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Charlaine F. Olmeda, who is prosecuting the case, said they are more than just an ideologically motivated hate group.

"They are a group of criminals who are white supremacists as well," she said.

Nazi Low Rider members have established themselves as major players in the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamines, also known as speed, according to law enforcement authorities.

The third suspect indicted Wednesday, Richard Wesley Leverich, 33, was charged with intending to distribute 83 grams of methamphetamines found in his San Jacinto home.

Most of the other alleged Nazi Low Riders indicted in the recent crackdown were charged with drug offenses.

One of them, Michael Odel Glatfelter, 49, was convicted of running a meth production lab for the gang. Glatfelter faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced next week.

According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League, the Nazi Low Riders has strong ties within the prison system to the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood.

"NLR is considered dangerous because it is well organized and tightly knit," said the report. "Its criminal operations are run efficiently through excellent means of communication. Letters called 'kites' are exchanged between NLR members in prison and their counterparts outside."

The report also noted many Nazi Low Rider members are addicted to speed, increasing their proclivity toward violence. On the other hand, it said, their use of drugs may prevent them from organizing more effectively on the streets.

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