Aryan Warriors prison leader guilty in fed case

Associated Press/Septemgber 27, 2011

Las Vegas -- An ailing former leader of a violent white supremacist gang that federal prosecutors say once controlled Nevada prisons pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a jailhouse associate.

Ronald "Joey" Sellers entered the plea Monday to a felony charge of violent crime in aid of racketeering by assault with a dangerous weapon. He also acknowledged that because of his lengthy criminal history, he probably would receive the maximum 20-year prison term, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson set sentencing for January 11th.

The plea ended a long-running racketeering case that accused Sellers and the white supremacist group of murder, prison guard corruption, inmate extortion and illegal drug and gambling operations.

"The Aryan Warriors made their money by manufacturing and distributing narcotics, primarily methamphetamine, by extorting money from individuals through threats and the use of violence, and running illegal gambling operations within the Nevada prison system," Sellers said in an 11-page plea agreement that acknowledged his position of prominence within the gang.

Guards were corrupted, and women and men were enlisted to launder money and smuggle drugs into and out of prisons, the document said.

Sellers, 43, admitted stabbing fellow gang member Guy Almony several times with a makeshift metal knife while in federal custody at the North Las Vegas Detention Center in November 2007.

The government dismissed other charges, including some stemming from the slaying of a Nevada prison inmate.

Sellers told the judge he attacked Almony because he thought Almony was cooperating with the government. Almony survived and later agreed to testify against Sellers.

Sellers' attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael Kennedy, characterized the dismissal of other criminal charges as good for his client.

Sellers is already serving two life without parole sentences for murder with a deadly weapon. Kennedy said Sellers has a fatal liver disease.

The plea makes Sellers the last of 13 indicted people convicted in the federal effort to cripple a gang that the plea agreement said "sought to and at one time controlled Nevada prisons."

The trial of five Aryan Warriors associates took place without incident in May 2009 amid tight security and heightened concern about the safety of prosecutors and witnesses.

"The Aryan Warriors, comprised solely of white males, espoused racial purity and sought to control the Nevada prison system and to operate in various communities in Nevada, including Reno, Las Vegas and Pahrump," the agreement said.

Nevada prisons spokesman Steve Suwe told the newspaper the Aryan Warriors are still active in Nevada prisons, but the federal prosecution undercut the group's power.

For two years, the federal case against Sellers was put on hold while prosecutors considered seeking the death penalty.

The Review-Journal reported that prosecutors abandoned that effort in August 2010 under a directive from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

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