This racist skinhead group was founded by Bob Heick around 1990 after Heick was influenced by the racist National Front in 1980s Britain. Heick's group was unique in that it advocated a “third positionist” ideology combining both racism and leftist socialism. In Florida, the chapter there was originally led by David Lynch, of Port St. Lucie. American Front activity declined nationally in the late 1990s under the leadership of Arkansas resident James Porazzo; however in 2005, the group reemerged under the leadership of Lynch, who lives in northern California. Under Lynch, American Front members have appeared in several places around the country, most notably in the Brevard and Orange counties surrounding Orlando, particularly in Melbourne, St. Cloud, and an area called Bullcreek. In Florida, some American Front members appear to have connections with outlaw motorcycle clubs.
American Front or its allies in the Confederate Hammerskins may have been responsible for fifteen Nazi banners found flying from freeway overpasses around Orlando, Florida, over the weekend of September 23, 2006. The flags commemorated “Global Aryan Solidarity Day,” planned to coincide with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Lynch still has close ties to white supremacists in the Orlando area.
American Front led a nationwide rally December 9, 2006, on behalf of incarcerated members of The Order, a 1980s white supremacist terrorist group. While the largest gathering occurred in southern California, several banners describing Order members as “prisoners of war” were found around Orlando and Maitland.
A San Bernardino based skinhead group, members often refers to themselves as the Mighty Berdoos. They number around 50. The organization initially formed in the 1980’s and was originally affiliated with White Aryan Resistance. A new crop of Berdoo Skins formed two decades later, after the initial organization crumbled.
December 21 2007: A jury in a Los Angeles County Superior Court convicted three members of the racist Berdoo Skinheads of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon as hate crimes. Anthony Scott Allen, 23, of Big Bear; Ryan Christopher White, 28, of Joshua Tree; and Joseph McCool, 20, of Redlands stabbed an African-American man at a Claremont shopping center while on their way to a neo-Nazi rally in Westwood in December 2006. The jury determined that White and McCool were responsible for actually wielding the knife and stabbing the victim. A fourth defendant, Chad Timothy Milson, 20, of Yucca Valley, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and testified for the prosecution.
Confederation of Racialist Working Class Skinheads (CRW Skinheads)
A relatively new group active in Ventura with more than 20 members. The CRW Skinheads state on their Web site that they "stand in defiance of the destruction of their race.” Some members have allegedly been involved in violent criminal activity including assault and battery, which in many cases includes a hate crimes penalty enhancement. CRW is linked to White Devil Industries, an online white-power music company owned by Ian Morrow, who heads CRW. White Devil Industries sells racist t-shirts, stickers, patches and other similar items. CRW members have a close affiliation with a number of other neo-Nazi and skinhead organizations throughout California. CRW Skinheads distributed leaflets outside a synagogue in Ventura in October 2004, and in Simi Valley, Somis and Thousand Oaks the following month.
March 2007: Ian Morrow, head of CRW and owner of White Devil Industries, a white power music company, was arrested in March 2007 for a felony charge of allegedly making criminal threats due to a business dispute with Simi Valley residents involving a pit bull.
June 2005: Brandon Wilhelm, a CRW prospect, allegedly attacked a Hispanic male outside of a Ventura bowling alley on June 2, 2005. He was charged with battery and hate crime enhancement.
June 2005: CRW members Ryan Kopp and James Campbell attacked an Asian male outside of a Ventura Circle K convenience store on June 4, 2005. They were charged with battery and hate crime enhancement. Both Kopp and Campbell pleaded guilty to battery with a hate crime allegation on July 7, 2005, in Ventura County Superior Court.
August 2005: Ian Morrow, a leader of the Confederation of Racialist Working Class Skinheads and the owner of White Devil Industries, a white power music company, was arrested for his alleged involvement in the beating of an Hispanic man at a bar in downtown Ventura. He was charged with assault by forceful means likely to produce great bodily injury. Brandon Shaw, a fellow member, was also arrested.
C.O.O.R.S. (Comrades of Our Race's Struggle) Family Skins/Coors Family Skinheads (CFS)
Racist skinhead group based in both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, but heavily concentrated in both the Hemet and Big Bear regions in the Inland Empire region of the San Jacinto Valley. The group, formed around 1999, describes itself as a “White Power family/Kindred of Skinheads,” and claims that all members are devout followers of Odinism. There is some evidence of the groups' presence outside of California in Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Utah and Nevada. The group had a Web site and forum created by one of the group's members and his wife, Auddie and Hollie Schrack, but they were dismantled in December 2008, and many of the key members are currently incarcerated. The Web site had contained detailed bylaws of operation and conduct, including an anti-drug policy and ideology of “pure virtuous hatred.” CFS, taking their name from the unrelated beer company Coors, copies the company's logo script in their own logos and tattoos.
January 2009: Police officers in Hemet, California, arrested four C.O.O.R.S. Family Skins members for their suspected roles in a possibly racially-motivated murder attempt. Authorities charged Derek Shane O'Brien, 22, Justin Tyme Hayes, 21, and Darrin Peter Thibault, 24, with attempted murder and gang membership, among other charges. A fourth individual, Crystal Lee McCann, 22, was arrested for witness intimidation and gang membership. The suspects are accused of beating a 19-year-old Hispanic man in November 2008 at a mobile home park in Hemet in the San Jacinto Valley. The perpetrators allegedly knocked the victim unconscious and then stomped and kicked him in the head. He now resides in a long-term care facility with permanent brain damage. Authorities suspect that the attack was racially motivated, possibly even a reaction of the election of President Barack Obama. These suspicions stem from comments reportedly posted to the group's Web site, expressing anger over the results of the election, as well as the proximity in time between the attack and the election. The Web site has since been taken down. Hayes was arrested in November, Thibault and McCann in December, and O'Brien in January 2009. Local authorities suspect that the gang may have been involved with four other possibly racially-motivated attacks which were also committed in the area around the same time.
Deadline Skinheads/Deadline Family Skins
Santa Clarita based racist skinhead group with approximately 10-12 members. Many members have the word Deadline tattooed on their bodies, while others additionally “earn” a tattoo of a pair of combat boots with red laces on the left side of their torso after committing a violent act and spilling the blood of a non-white individual. Deadline Skins are affiliated with the Golden State Skinheads based in Castaic, California.
December 2007: Police in Stevenson Ranch arrested Deadline Skins members Christopher Johnsen, 20, of Canyon Country, and Travis Wanke, 28, of Valencia, on December 11, 2007, after they allegedly attacked an African-American man in a Santa Clarita restaurant. According to witnesses, Wanke exposed his swastika and other white supremacist tattoos and shouted racial slurs at the victim just prior to the physical altercation. Wanke has several white supremacist tattoos, including an Iron Cross with a swastika, the number 14, and skinhead-style combat boots. He was allegedly wearing a jacket with Waffen SS lightning bolts on the front during the altercation. Battery and felony hate crime charges were filed against both Wanke and Johnsen, and on February 5, 2009, a judge in Newhall County Court set a preliminary trial date for the two men.
Family Affiliated Irish Mafia (FAIM)
Loosely organized racist skinhead street gang based in the San Francisco Bay area. They are said by law enforcement to be involved in drug trafficking and to have links to the Aryan Brotherhood.
Fuck Shit Up (FSU)
This Orange County based skinhead group started in Huntington Beach. Some members of FSU have allegedly been involved in a variety of criminal activities including weapons possession, assaults and even murder. The organization was active in the 1980's but disbanded when some of their members were arrested and imprisoned. The group reformed as an offshoot of Public Enemy Number One (PENI). Many of their members were tapped to join PENI. However, due to recent law enforcement attention on PENI, FSU has been distancing itself from the organization. FSU does not have a clearly defined leadership; however, members Matt Maynard and Chris Truelove are said to have taken on leadership roles. Over the last few years, the group has been involved in increasingly violent criminal activity.
Golden State Skinheads
Founded in 2003, the group claims one official chapter and two probationary chapters that cover Northern, Central, and Southern California. The Golden State Skinheads are particularly active in helping to plan white power rock concerts in California. They have had close ties with the racist record label Condemned Records, as well as groups such as Northern California Ayran Volk and Volksfront. They may also have an affiliation with White Revolution, whose Internet server hosts the Golden State Skins Web site.
Insane White Boys
A racist skinhead gang with 25-50 members and associates mostly active in Orange County. The gang was dormant for a while, since many of its members were serving time in prison. However, as members have finished their prison terms, the group has become more active. Its criminal activities reportedly revolve around the methamphetamine trade and theft. Although it is largely made up of racist skinheads, the gang's criminal activities, like those of many racist prison gangs, are more financially based than ideologically driven. At one time, members of the Insane White Boys were being recruited into the Nazi Low Riders (see below).
National Socialist Skinhead Front (NSSF)
Founded in 2003 as a racist skinhead organization in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Bay Area hosts a chapter whose members had previously belonged to the National Socialist Movement. The NSSF has organized leaflet distributions in the Bay Area; in March 2005 a San Francisco NSSF member was kicked out of a coffee shop for allegedly trying to recruit others.
Nazi Low Riders (NLR)
its founding, the NLR has developed into a violent criminal organization active both on the streets and in prison. Although NLR employs racist ideology when recruiting new members, it is primarily driven by criminal profit from narcotics trafficking, extortion or armed robbery. At the same time, NLR members have been responsible for a number of violent racist attacks during the past decade. Since a crackdown on the group in recent years, it has been losing both members and influence, and has now been partially supplanted by the PENI Skins, another racist skinhead gang. Some Nazi Low Riders have denied being skinheads, while others have proudly tattooed the word “skinhead” on themselves; in reality, the Nazi Low Riders is a strange amalgam of street gang, racist skinhead group and racist prison gang.
December 7, 2007: The Riverside Sheriff's Department arrested a member of the racist prison gang Nazi Low Riders (NLR) after a vehicle pursuit. Ryan Joseph Kidd, 32, was arrested after Kidd crashed the allegedly stolen vehicle he was driving in Mead Valley. He was charged with vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, evading a police officer and violation of parole. Kidd has numerous white supremacist tattoos, including swastikas, Waffen SS bolts, "White Power," "Nazi Low Riders" and "NLR."
Northwest Orange Skins (NWOC)
August 2006: Michael David Cottler, 29, was arrested on August 7, 2006, for allegedly conspiring with fellow Ironwood State Prison inmate Michael McGee to kill a California Highway Patrol officer scheduled to testify against McGee in a criminal case. Cottler is charged with conspiracy to commit murder against a peace officer while participating in a street gang.
July 2006: In July 2006, three alleged members of the Nazi Low Riders were arrested in Riverside County. Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department conducted over seven hours of various parole and probation compliance checks, resulting in the arrest of seven subjects on felony charges. Among those arrested was Patrick Speldrick, who was charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. In two separate incidents, Riverside Police Department officers arrested Johnny Ray Smith for grand theft and a parole violation, as well as Timothy Grape for possession of a controlled substance and a parole violation. Speldrick, Smith, and Grape are validated by the California Department of Corrections as Nazi Low Rider gang members.
July 2006: NLR member Paul Reahm was arrested by the Riverside Sheriff's Department in Norco in July 2006 for burglary, receiving known stolen property, assault on a police dog and resisting arrest, and sentenced to two years in state prison.
July 2006: NLR member Jason Paul Swonger was convicted of burglarizing approximately 13 Claremont homes and 23 others in the Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, and Upland areas. He was sentenced to two years in state prison. The investigation of Claremont burglaries began in September 2005 after police noted that residential burglaries doubled since January.
April 2006:Two Contra Costa residents entered no contest pleas to criminal charges after being charged with selling methamphetamine allegedly to fund the NLR. Richard Klein, 35, was sentenced to six years in state prison in exchange for pleading no contest to one count of benefiting a street gang and one count of conspiracy. His wife Kylie, 25, pleaded no contest for possession of methamphetamines to benefit a street gang. Two other defendants pleaded not guilty or refused to enter a plea. According to the indictment, an informant bought drugs from the Kleins on several occasions between June and September, then requested a larger amount on September 15, 2005, at their home in Concord. The money raised was reportedly to benefit those arrested, as well as other families with incarcerated NLR members.
March 2006: Garden Grove resident Ty Fowles, allegedly once the top member of the gang at the state prison in Wasco, California, pleaded guilty to two racketeering counts. Fowles admitted being involved in a 1999 attack in prison that injured three African-American inmates and authorizing a “hit” the following year on a white inmate who had allegedly dated a woman whose child was fathered by an African-American man. In addition, Fowles, along with 11 other members or associates of the Nazi Low Riders, was indicted by a Los Angeles federal grand jury in February 2002 for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) through extortion, conspiring to distribute drugs in prison, witness tampering, robbery, attempted murder and murder in various California state penitentiaries. To date, nine of the defendants have pleaded guilty. Fowles was sentenced on March 29, 2006, to 17 more years behind bars.
February 2006:Shayne Allyn Ziska, a prison guard at the California Institute for Men in Chino from January 1984 through October 2000, was convicted of three federal charges: participating in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) and deprivation of rights under color of law, after assisting members of the Nazi Low Riders distribute narcotics and assault inmates.
January 2006: Gary Roger Adams, a parolee and a documented member of the Nazi Low Riders, was arrested along with Matthew Martin Stone, a high school art teacher in Fontana, during a crime sweep. Police arrested Stone on suspicion of weapons and narcotics possession, and associating with a criminal street gang. Law enforcement officials confiscated the narcotics and at least four rifles, several handguns and swords from the apartment. Stone was placed on administrative leave from his teaching job. Stone pleaded guilty on January 11, 2007, to being under the influence while in possession of a weapon, as well as an unrelated drunken-driving charge, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and ordered not to associate with gang members.
March 2005: Brian Tobias, who has been linked to the NLR, received a 16-year sentence for attempting to kill an African-American man in Lancaster in a drive-by shooting in 2003. Earlier, he had received a 34-year sentence for shooting at law enforcement officers during a high-speed pursuit a day after the hate crime.
February 2005: NLR member Shane Douglas Collins was arrested for the brutal beating of a postman of Asian descent in Ceres, California. He is awaiting trial on charges that include felonious assault.
March 2004: Todd Givens, an NLR member, and his wife Lacey were convicted in Tulare County, California, in the 2001 murder of Scotty and Patreace Holstone. Scotty was also an NLR member. Givens shot Scotty Holstone during an argument and, as the victim begged for his life, stabbed him repeatedly with a sickle until he died. Lacy Givens shot Patreace Holstone, Scotty's sister, in the head with a sawed-off shotgun. The couple then set fire to the victims, who were later stashed inside their Hyundai. Todd Givens received a death sentence and Lacey Givens was sentenced to life without parole. Todd Givens' mother, Cheryl, served 16 months for helping to dispose of the victims' bodies.
December 2003: A high-ranking NLR member, Michael Bridge, was sentenced to nearly 23 years in federal prison on racketeering and other charges, in addition to a previous conviction he received for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
May 2003: Daymon Schrock, an NLR member, pleaded guilty to the voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, and other charges related to the killing of Robert Maricle, a mentally disabled man from Salinas, in 2003. Two NLR accomplices, Dominique England and Jeanne Soja, also pleaded guilty.
March 2003: Neal Beckman, a high-ranking NLR member and an affiliate of the Aryan Brotherhood, shot a Ukiah Police officer four times and then stabbed an employee of Wal-Mart, where Beckman and a female accomplice had allegedly been shoplifting. The wounded police officer, with the help of a cadet in training, shot and killed Beckman. Bomb-making materials were found at the residence where Beckman had been living.
The Northwest Orange Skins is primarily based in Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, and Cypress. The group was active in the 90's, at which time many of their members were sent to jail or prison. Activity has recently increased, as many members have finished probation and parole periods. They also seem to be growing in size. The group has been associated with a high level of criminal activity.
A small racist skinhead gang active in Norwalk.
Orange County Skins
A loosely organized racist skinhead gang actively recruiting members; its numbers are growing, and may be in the hundreds. The Orange County Skins' growth is also due to the fact that many skinheads who in the past considered themselves “unaffiliated” are now claiming membership in the gang. Although according to police the gang is involved in dealing methamphetamine, it is more driven by white supremacist ideology than many other skinhead gangs involved in the drug trade and criminal activity.
PENI (Public Enemy Number 1)
A violent racist skinhead gang formed in the mid-1980s on the streets of California, with a strong prison presence. The PENI Skins are also known as Peni Death Squad or PDS. At one time the PENI were controlled by the Nazi Low Riders, but the two groups had a falling out. The PENI now take their cues directly from the Aryan Brotherhood. One reason for the growth of the PENI is the crackdown by California authorities on the Aryan Brotherhood and the Nazi Low Riders. The PENI have grown steadily since the early 2000s, with a current membership of over 300; they are active primarily in Orange County, but also in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernadino County and San Diego County, and have been trying to expand into other states, particularly Arizona. Although PENI have a racist ideology, the group is mostly driven by monetary profit from various criminal enterprises, particularly the methamphetamine trade. That said, PENI tend to commit more race-based crimes than do the Nazi Low Riders. Members of the group have also been involved in burglaries, robberies, racketeering, assaults, attempted murder and murder, as well as identity theft and fraud.
July 2007: PENI members Michael Allen Lamb, 32, and Jacob Anthony Rump, 30, both of Huntington Beach, were convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and committing murder for the benefit of the gang. The pair ambushed Scott Miller, 38, a founder of PENI, a year after he participated in an interview on Fox News in Los Angeles in which he revealed information about the gang, including its drug trafficking activities. Thought the television station altered Miller's voice and only showed him in silhouette, some of his unique tattoos were visible. Miller also brought his pet pit bull dog to the interview, and the dog was also visible. Miller was found shot in the back of the head on March 8, 2002, in an Anaheim alley, in retaliation for the interview.
February 2007: The California State Court of Appeals denied Public Enemy Number 1 member Chad Russell Studebaker's petition to appeal his sentencing of the hate crimes he was convicted of in 2003 in Huntington Beach. In 2003, Studebaker, involved in a traffic altercation in Orange County, ran the victim's car off the road, sliced his neck with a knife, and yanked a Star of David hanging from the victim's neck. Studebaker then fled to a PENI safe home in Riverside County before being arrested. He was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 21 years to life in prison. Studebaker argued that that law enforcement witnesses and gang experts had “maligned his character” in the course of the trials by telling the jury about his criminal history. Studebaker argued that, although he doesn't want “Mexicans, Blacks and Jews” to be in this country, he never used racial slurs while attacking his victim. The presiding judges stated that “Studebaker's assault on Espinoza was committed to enhance his standing in PEN1 and inflict injury on one he perceived as being inferior to him and not deserving of admission into his country.” The court approved Studebaker's punishment as reasonable.
January 2007: PENI member Ronald Lee Bray, from Huntington Beach, pled guilty to a felony hate crime and felony criminal threats with a hate crimes enhancement. On July 7, 2006, Bray pushed an African-American man in a wheelchair into a light pole after spitting on him and using racial slurs outside a market in Newport Beach. Bray then raised his arm in a Nazi salute and called out Public Enemy Number 1.
December 2006: Police in Anaheim and neighboring communities arrested nearly 70 alleged members of PENI. The raids capped a 10-month long investigation into PENI led by the Anaheim Police Department that had already resulted in a number of PENI-related arrests in the week before the mid-December raids. Authorities took action after learning in November of an alleged PENI "hit list" that contained the names of an Orange County prosecutor, and five police officers in several different departments. The suspects were arrested on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, possession of illegal weapons and narcotics, forgery, probation violations and identity theft.
March 2006: Almost 200 law-enforcement officials from various departments throughout Orange County arrested 23 suspected members, leaders, and associates of PENI who were allegedly involved in identity theft, drug sales and other crimes. All of the suspects had criminal records, and more than half of those arrested were women. Most of the suspects were arrested on parole and probation violations. Officials also confiscated 12 weapons and small amounts of heroin and methamphetamine from the gang, which is allegedly responsible for dispersing methamphetamine throughout southern California.
January 2005: Riverside police announced that investigations over the previous four months had netted the arrests of 19 white supremacists, including many with ties to PENI. The investigations began after the arrest on drugs and weapons charges of a high school football coach who had allegedly tried to recruit students into a white supremacist group. Fourteen other men and four women were arrested on drugs, weapons, and assault charges. Authorities also seized 75 weapons and more than 15,000 rounds of ammunitions, as well as Nazi literature, stolen vehicles, and other items.
April 6, 2004: Two alleged PENI members were pulled over by police while traveling through Riverside with two companions in two separate vehicles. During a search of one vehicle, police found a dead body, believed to be that of a man in his twenties. One of the members and his companion were wanted on a $40,000 arrest warrant for selling methamphetamine. The other member was wanted for parole violation. Four other people were also charged in the murder.
March 2007: Police in Riverside arrested two members of the Riverside Skins on suspicion of murder in the death of a 41-year-old man. Darrin Wayne Agbara was arrested on March 22, 2007. The second suspect, Joseph Edward Salem, was already in custody in Riverside County on suspicion of auto theft, and alleged possession of stolen checks and chemicals used to make methamphetamine. Police have suggested that the accused shot and killed the man in the belief that he was going to inform law enforcement of their criminal activities. The victim, a Riverside resident, was found dead in his car on March 1, in Colton, California.
The Sacto Skins are a racist skinhead gang founded in the 1980s and based in Sacramento, California. Dave Lynch, also active with the American Front, is a prominent Sacto Skin member who has been instrumental in organizing statewide white supremacist events in California. During the summer of 2006, Lynch collaborated with the neo-Nazi group National Vanguard to hold anti-immigration protests at a Home Depot in Roseville, California. In December 2006, he organized a “Free the Order” rally outside a federal building in Los Angeles, with a variety of skinhead groups such as BASH (Bay Area Skinheads), Confederation of Racialist Working Class Skinheads (CRW Skins), United Society of Aryan Skinheads (USAS), American Front, and the Berdoo Skins.
San Fernando Valley Skins
A small racist skinhead gang active in the west valley of the San Fernando Valley, particularly in Chatsworth and Reseda. Some skinheads will claim to be SFV Skins, but this can also be a generic term used by unaffiliated skinheads to represent their geographical location.
Based in Ventura, this group was recruited as a subordinate gang by larger, more powerful white supremacist prison gangs active in southern California such as the Nazi Low Riders (NLR) and the PENI Skins. The Skinhead Dogs allegedly became active in the illegal drug trade, particularly methamphetamine. The organization has suffered as key leadership figures have been arrested and imprisoned. A number of former Skinhead Dogs and potential recruits were drawn to Confederation of Racialist Working Class Skinheads (see CRW). The founders of CRW, Ian Morrow and Jed Malmquist, were both former Skinhead Dogs.
March 2006: Bridget Callahan, 34, was sentenced on March 29, 2006, to nine years in prison and fined more than $40,000 for her involvement in the murder of Nicole Hendrix (see April 2005 below) in 1998. Callahan remained in the motel bedroom and did nothing while the leaders of the neo-Nazi skinhead group Skinhead Dogs, David Ziesmer and Michael Bridgeford, murdered Hendrix in the bathroom. Both Ziesmer and Bridgeford were convicted of first-degree murder.
April 2005: Skinhead Dogs leader David Ziesmer was convicted of first degree murder while committing a kidnapping and robbery during a 1998 incident. Skinhead Dogs members led by Ziesmer killed a teenage associate of the group, Nicole Hendrix, out of fear that she might tell police of their activities involving drug dealing and theft. Ziesmer allegedly drugged Hendrix, locked her in a motel bathroom, then stabbed and stomped her to death in the bathtub while another member, Michael Bridgeford, held her down. The body was then hidden. Less than a week later, Ziesmer was arrested for a hate crime assault after attacking a black man in Ventura. While in jail, Ziesmer ordered Skinhead Dog members to dispose of Hendrix's body. Authorities say the skinheads took a trash can containing the body, placed a number of illegal weapons inside it, and pushed it over a cliff. Ziesmer was sentenced to life in prison without parole; Bridgeford was sentenced to 58 years in prison.
Small Town Peckerwoods
A small racist skinhead group with ties to the Nazi Low Riders.
September 2006: Michael Williams, 26, was convicted of first-degree murder on September 6, 2006, by a Madera County jury in the death of a 19-year-old Madera woman. The jury found Williams guilty of active participation in a criminal street gang, finding that the murder was committed to further the interests of the Small Town Peckerwoods. A second defendant, Raymond Elisarraras, hanged himself in the county jail in 2004.
March 1, 2004: Two Small Town Peckerwoods allegedly murdered 19-year-old Rose Ann Johnston. Johnston burned to death in her vehicle, which was reportedly set on fire by the suspects after a birthday party for one of the suspects where nearly all of the men present were Peckerwoods. A Madera police officer testified that the two may have killed Johnston as part of an initiation rite into the Nazi Low Riders. Prosecutors also believe that they may have killed Johnston because she was a possible informant in the murder trial of NLR member Todd Givens, sentenced to death for killing another NLR member and his sister in California. In August 2004, one of the suspects, Raymond Elisarraras, committed suicide in his prison cell. The other still awaits trial.
SMASH or SMASH TEAM 88 (Superior Minded Aryan Skinheads)
SMASH is an umbrella group of members from the Nazi Low Riders, Aryan Brotherhood, and the Peckerwoods, all white supremacist prison and street gangs. SMASH, also referred to as SMASH Team 88, is an active group with violent tendencies. A number of SMASH members live in Porterville, California, but there are other members throughout California. There are conflicting reports about who is the leader of SMASH. One report alleges that the leader is Anthony “Fat Boy” Primavera,based in the Visalia area, while another report alleges that the leader is based in Ontario, California. SMASH members have ST88 and SMASH 88 tattoos, along with swastikas.
July 2006: Jason Turner and Tamra Bahr were arrested on June 7, 2006, for a bank robbery in Visalia, California. The two are associated with SMASH. The bank robbery was allegedly an attempt to finance gang activity and to repay incarcerated members. As a result of this arrest, police searched the homes of other SMASH members and discovered C4 explosives, assault rifles, pictures of a bunker, and surveillance photos of local law enforcement agencies and personnel.
Southern California Skinheads
A small skinhead group in the Lucerne Valley and San Bernadino Valley areas. In March 2005, officers with the San Bernadino County Auto Theft Task Force arrested Loren Bull, a member of the Southern California Skinheads, for allegedly having a stolen handgun and illegal painkillers and steroids. He is awaiting trial.
The Troops of Tomorrow (TOT)
TOT is a white supremacist "umbrella" organization established in January 2007 in an attempt to unify the white supremacist movement in the Pacific Northwest. TOT is closely aligned with many white supremacist groups, particularly the racist skinhead movement. In California, some of the groups with ties to TOT are American Front, Golden State Skinheads, and the Sacto Skins. TOT also claims to have chapters all over the world.
December 2004: Four teenage skinheads chased and attacked an African-American youth selling newspaper subscriptions at a shopping center in Simi Valley, punching and kicking him. In January 2005, one of them was convicted on two felony hate crime counts; the others received convictions the following month. Sentences ranged from eight to nine months in length, and probation until age 21. The alleged perpetrators were from Apollo High School, where a loosely organized group of skinheads, sometimes calling themselves “Chatsworth Skins,” operated.
December 2004: A gang of ten skinheads attacked three Hispanic men in a nightclub parking lot in San Bernadino, breaking the arm of one of them. During the assault, they yelled racial slurs and allegedly claimed membership or association with local skinhead gangs (unspecified in news reports).
January 2003: Robert Coffman received a life sentence for his role in the 2002 beating death of a homeless man in Ventura County. Coffman, a racist skinhead, was convicted of first degree murder for the attack, in which he and three other skinheads kicked the homeless man to death. The three co-defendents were sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
September 2002: Three San Diego-area racist skinheads, Waylon Kennell, James Grlicky and Justin Smith, walked to a local hang-out for Mexican-American workers and made racial slurs there. Later, they spotted a solitary Mexican man, Jose Luis Cisneros. The three skinheads surrounded him and beat him until he fell to the ground, then stomped on him. Smith then left, but Kennell rolled the victim onto his stomach, placed a brick in his mouth, and stomped on the back of Cisneros' head so hard that the brick itself broke. Cisneros survived the attack, but suffered extensive injuries, including brain and nerve damage. In July 2003, Grlicky was convicted of attempted murder and received a five-year sentence; Kennell was convicted of battery and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and received a four-year sentence.
United Society of Aryan Skinheads (USAS)
USAS started as a street gang in 1996 in Oregon, and has become one of the fastest growing skinhead prison gangs in California, now overflowing out of prison and into the streets throughout California. In the prisons, they are classified as "disruptive" rather than a security threat group. They have had feuds with other racist prison gangs on the West Coast, such as the Aryan Brotherhood and the Nazi Low Riders. The Aryan Brotherhood in late 2005/early 2006 allegedly ordered "hits" on members of USAS.
Founded in 1994 in Oregon, Volksfront expanded to Southern California in the early 2000s. In December 2004, Volksfront announced a merger with Northern California Aryan Volk to form Volksfront's Northern California chapter. Frontline, a white power band associated with Volksfront, was also involved with the Northern California chapter. In May 2005, the Northern and Southern California chapters united to create one larger state-wide organization, to be headquartered in San Bernardino County. These plans never materialized, as Volksfront leaders moved out of state. The group distributes hate literature and organizes racist events and concerts.
A regional chapter of Hammerskin Nation (one of the most violent and best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead groups in the country), comprised of members from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. In California, Western Hammerskins are active primarily in the southern regions of the state. In August 2004, the group held a racist rock concert attended by Hammerskins and members of Volksfront from as far away as Washington and Georgia.
White Heat Productions
An event organizer specializing in white power concerts. It began organizing concerts at a bar called The Shack in Anaheim in 2001, bringing in popular white power bands like Max Resist, Youngland, Final War, and Aggressive Force. White Heat expanded in 2003, putting on at least four shows. It also moved its concerts out of Anaheim and into desert communities east of Los Angeles. Skinheads from all over California as well as nearby states attend these shows.
White Plague Skinheads (WPS) Byrd Division
A group of female skinheads associated with the White Plague Skins. The Byrd Division claims to have more than 10 chapters across the country, and is actively recruiting in Northern and Southern California (see White Plague Skins under Massachusetts).
Suspected skinhead and recently released parolee Brent Pettijohn led authorities on a 40-minute high speed chase which ended in Pettijohn hitting an electrical pole and causing a short disruption in service for a few thousand residents of Hesperia, California. The car was reportedly stolen. Authorities noticed tattoos and clothing that suggested Pettijohn may have skinhead affiliations. Pettijohn had a 23 tattooed under his eye (a common white supremacist tattoo, with the 23 standing for “W,” as in White Power). He was arrested on suspicion of felony evading and grand theft auto.
December 11, 2007: Police in Stevenson Ranch, California, arrested two men after a fight in a Santa Clarita restaurant. Christopher Johnsen, 20, of Canyon Country, and Travis Wanke, 28, of Valencia, were arrested on December 11, 2007, after allegedly attacking an African-American man. According to witnesses, Wanke exposed his swastika and other white supremacist tattoos and shouted racial slurs at the victim just prior to the physical altercation. Wanke has several white supremacist tattoos, including an Iron Cross with a swastika, the number 14, and skinhead-style boots. He was allegedly wearing a jacket with Waffen SS lighning bolts on the front during the altercation. Battery and felony hate crime charges have been filed against both men.
March 23, 2007: Kevin William Ridenour, 21, and Nicholas Edward Craig, 18, burned a five-foot cross in front of the home of an African priest (a native of Rwanda) on March 23, 2007. They were charged with conspiracy against civil rights, interference with housing rights because of a person's race, and use of fire to commit a felony. The affidavit states that Craig claims the men got the idea for the cross burning from old movies showing the Ku Klux Klan using the method to intimidate African-Americans. Craig is quoted as saying he and Ridenour "burned the cross to scare the black priest." The affidavit states that Ridenour told deputies he is a member of the Peckerwoods racist skinhead group. Lassen County authorities have also charged the two men under California law with cross-burning, vandalism to a church, conspiracy and involvement in a hate crime. On June 4, 2007, Craig received a 21-month prison sentence. On June 8, 2007, a U.S. district court judge sentenced Ridenour to two years in prison, and three years of court supervision after his release for violating the priest's civil rights by burning the cross.
November 2005:A San Diego Superior Court sentenced Jeffrey Scott Young to death for his role in the 1999 murder of two employees at a parking lot near the San Diego International Airport. The bodies of a booth operator and a manager were found on the floor of a business trailer after an apparent botched robbery. Both victims were shot in the head at close range. Young had numerous neo-Nazi tattoos, including a Nazi eagle, SS lightning bolts, German soldier portraits and other neo-Nazi symbols.
October 2006: California racist skinhead Nicholas Vovos was sentenced to 38 years in state prison in Colorado, on October 4, 2006. Vovos was convicted in July 2006 of attempted murder and assault on peace officers, stemming from a shootout with police in Colorado on July 3, 2005, in which his wife was killed. Vovos also faces murder charges in California, where prosecutors may seek the death penalty. During the sentencing hearing, Vovos' hair was cut short so that the "Muscoy Boy" tattoo on the back of his head was clearly visible. According to authorities, the tattoo refers to the town in California where Vovos was allegedly a member of a skinhead group.
October 2005: Six racist skinheads from Santee were arrested on stalking charges (as a hate crime) and participating in a criminal street gang. They were allegedly targeting African-Americans and Asians.
July 2005: Four racist skinheads from a “White Pride” gang were arrested in Hemet for making terroristic threats with a hate crime enhancement after allegedly driving repeatedly in front of the home of a Hispanic family while making threats and racial slurs and displaying knives.
June 2005: A man described in news reports as a skinhead, Armando Perez, stabbed an African American high school student in Lake Elsinore with an ice pick while shouting “Die, nigger.” He subsequently pleaded guilty to aggravated assault (with a hate crime enhancement), admitting that his attack had been motivated by racial hatred.
May 2005: Three racist skinheads attacked an African-American man at a playground in Chino Hills where he had brought his foster children to play basketball. One skinhead, who had allegedly chased the children around the park in his vehicle, was arrested for attempted murder. The other two were arrested on aggravated assault charges (one of these two later escaped from a local hospital where he had been taken to be treated for injuries).
April 2005: Two skinheads were arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, and other charges for an alleged baseball bat attack against a nonracist skinhead in Yolo County.
March 2005: Edward Topper, a self-proclaimed skinhead from Canyon County, was arrested along with his girlfriend for allegedly threatening to kill three Hispanic children. They were charged with making terrorist threats and related charges and are awaiting trial.
Return to Interactive Map
Terror Plot in Tennessee
On October 22, 2008, the Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), uncovered and prevented what could have been the deadliest extremist shooting spree in years, designed to culminate with the assassination of Barack Obama.
|CAVEAT: NOT EVERY SKINHEAD A RACIST
| The skinhead subculture was not originally racist
—and, in fact, today around the world there remain
many non-racist or explicitly anti-racist skinheads
(often called sharps, for “skinheads against racial prejudice”).