Supremacist groups posing greater threat

Ogden police say numbers growing

MSNBC News/June 4, 2002
By Joey Haws

Ogden, Utah -- Fears that white supremacist groups will spread at a cancerous pace into Northern Utah in the near future may be closer than police gang units were expecting.

Detectives from the Ogden-Metro Gang Unit have been preparing for more than a year for an expected influx of skinheads being paroled from the Utah State Prison and relocating back to the Ogden area.

A Thursday morning incident indicated that moment may be here. Two men, one with tatoos all over his arms, attempted to place a classified advertisement in the Standard-Examiner. When employees told the men the anti-Semitic ad would not run, they began calling the employees racial epithets, and eventually had to be escorted from the building by security. Police are investigating the incident.

There are four main white supremacist groups residing in Ogden, Lt. Loring Draper said. All have origins in the Utah State Prison or another correctional facility in the state. The white supremacists started becoming more active in the Ogden area last summer as many of them were paroled from prison, he said.

"These guys were getting out of prison and were planning on expressing their views," said Draper, who was recently assigned as a sergeant over the gang unit before being promoted to lieutenant in the Ogden Police Department.

In fact, some of those plans were thwarted by metro gang unit agents who discovered several white supremacists were going to strike out against Jews and racially mixed couples near the time of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The first incident was on Dec. 9 last year when the unit received information from a "highly reliable source" that a man with a lengthy past of violence towards racial minorities and Jews was going to firebomb a racially mixed Ogden couple.

"Our source said this suspect was going to 'start making the neighborhood white' so he was going to start with the racially mixed couple in the neighborhood," no later than New Year's, Draper said.

After conducting numerous hours of surveillance, checking records and speaking to several informants, including the suspect's brother, "it was determined that he was a very angry individual and capable of extreme violence," Draper said. "His brother said that he will probably hurt someone if he (was) not located soon."

The man, who also was suspected of being involved with numerous burglaries from Box Elder to North Salt Lake, was located at his Ogden residence on New Year's Eve and arrested. He was returned to the Utah State Prison on a parole violation.

The second incident came to light when an informant called police to report he saw pipe bombs being made by a member of a white supremacist gang known as Krieger Verwandt. The informant said when he asked the man what he was doing and what the pipe bombs were for he stated, "For the Jews at the Olympics." The bombs were to be delivered to a residence in Salt Lake City.

Investigators said they weren't sure if the plot specifically targeted the Israeli Olympic team or all Jewish athletes.

The suspects identified in the pipe bomb plot were on parole, but detectives were unable to pin down solid evidence to arrest them on the pipe bomb charges. Erring on the side of safety, the unit arrested the two suspects on parole violations, which sent them back to prison.

"I personally believe that because of the effort that the gang unit dedicated to this case, an international incident involving the 2002 Winter Games was avoided and an unknown number of lives were saved," Draper said.

Draper was so pleased with the unit's hard work, he nominated them for a medal of merit award at the recent Business Leaders against Organized Crime awards banquet.

Law enforcement officials expect the white supremacists to grow in numbers as more convicts are paroled and attempt to unite in their cause.

Draper said while some of the parolees claim to only be separatists, not white supremacists, the fear is still there that they will come together and become extremists.

"They're not organized enough to be ready to dominate like that," Draper said. "All it takes is for one or two people to have that mindset and you never know where that can lead."

Recruitment for Aryan Nation groups has been up across the country since Sept. 11, Draper said.

In fact, a former heavily involved skinhead who spoke at Weber State University earlier this year warned parents that racism is not a thing of the past and plans for genocide are still thriving.

"They're coming to get your kids now," T. J. Leyden said.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.