ADL Report Documents Growing Threat Of California-Based Extremist Gang
Orange County, CA, January 17, 2007 … As an Orange County jury reached a guilty verdict in the criminal trial involving an associate of a California-based racist hate gang known as Public Enemy Number 1, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued a new report detailing the potential threat posed by the group's growing ranks and criminal activities.
Convicted of identity theft in the Orange County court was James Paul "Mylo" Allen, was identified by prison officials as an active participant in Public Enemy Number 1 (PENI), a racist hate group whose expanding ranks pose increasing problems for California law enforcement and the public. The mixed verdict found Allen guilty on four charges of identity theft, but the jury hung on other charges.
Allen, who has a large swastika tattooed on his stomach, was arrested on May 18, 2005. In the past five weeks alone, an additional 67 members of PENI have been arrested in southern California on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, possession of illegal weapons, narcotics violations, probation violations, forgery and identity theft.
"Public Enemy Number 1 has positioned itself as a white power criminal organization capable of operating both on the streets and in the prison yards as foot soldiers for older, more established white supremacist prison gangs, such as the Aryan Brotherhood and Nazi Low Riders," said Kevin O'Grady, Interim Director of ADL's Orange County Regional Office. "The group embraces a white supremacist ideology while engaging in a range of criminal activities commonly associated with street gangs."
Public Enemy Number 1: California's Growing Racist Gang, describes the organization as an unusual hybrid of a racist skinhead gang, a violent white street gang and a prison gang. The group has grown substantially in recent years, according to ADL, with members engaging in a wide variety of criminal activities ranging from illegal drug trading, to identity theft and counterfeiting. The report examines the group's origins, current makeup, criminal activities and growing influence in the prison and on the streets.
Several disturbing trends set PENI apart from more traditional white supremacist hate groups:
- PENI has a strong presence in the state's prison system and has developed a close association with the Aryan Brotherhood, one of the most notorious racist prison gangs, who use its members as middlemen for its criminal enterprises.
- PENI has grown steadily over the past five years. It has a documented membership of at least 350 members, but its total membership may be much larger. The growth threatens to pose problems not only in southern California – where the group has expanded from Long Beach to Orange County and farther north – but in nearby states such as Arizona, where offshoots have begun to appear near Lake Havasu and Bullhead City.
- The organization's leaders have been convicted of violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. Law enforcement authorities believe PENI members may have been behind several unsolved murders in California. An alleged PENI "hit list" contained the names of an Orange County prosecutor and five police officers in several different departments
- Though not official members, female associates play an important role in facilitating the gang's illegal activities, both in prison and on the streets. Female associates have been convicted of crimes ranging from witness tampering to drug charges.
- PENI is heavily involved in the illegal drug trade, especially in the sale of methamphetamines. Many members are also users, and are often referred to as "Needle Nazis." White collar criminal activity, including computer fraud, counterfeiting and identify theft, is also common.
- Members tend to be heavily tattooed. Common tattoos include the PENI name and common racist imagery, such as the swastika and other neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols, Viking imagery and Odinic symbols. Some of their tattoos include acronyms for the group, including Pen1, Peni Death Squad, PDS and Pen9.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.