Texas man pleads guilty to Aryan Circle assault

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
An area man pleaded guilty to assault as part of Aryan Circle.

One member of the Aryan Circle pleaded guilty today to his role in a violent assault of a man in October 2016, as well as conspiring to sell firearms to a convicted felon, and a Mexican national pleaded guilty on Monday, April 19, to conspiring with members of the AC and others to sell methamphetamine, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas and Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division today.

Rodney Shane Holt, aka “Turbo,” 48, of Tyler pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, as well as conspiracy to sell firearms to a convicted felon. Holt committed the assault as part of his membership in the AC, a gang that operates in Texas and other states throughout the country.  Eulalio Torres-Cadenas, aka “Yayo,” 43, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, namely 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine.

“Today’s pleas demonstrate the unfortunate truth that violence and the drug trade go hand-in-hand,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei in a written statement.  “The Department of Justice and its state and local partners will continue to take a hard line against organized criminal gangs and their enablers.”

According to court documents, Torres-Cadenas supplied an Aryan Circle member with between 1.5 and 5 kilograms of methamphetamine over a number of occasions in 2016, in the area of Houston.  The AC member went on to distribute the methamphetamine to buyers in Louisiana, including other AC members. The drug conspiracy that Torres-Cadenas pleaded to was uncovered as part of Operation Noble Virtue, an investigation into the AC that has targeted AC leadership.

Holt’s offense conduct included planning and participating in the events surrounding a violent beating of another AC member who wanted to switch his gang affiliation, or “patch over,” from the AC to a different gang. Holt and other AC members carried out the attack in order to “X,” or remove the AC member from the gang, because it violated the AC’s rules to join another organization. Holt’s offense conduct also included several sales of high caliber firearms to convicted felons.

The AC is a violent, white supremacist organization that originated in the Texas Department of Corrections and operates in federal prisons across the country, as well as outside prisons in states including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through murder, attempted murder, assault, and threats. Members, and oftentimes associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

Sentencing dates have not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Trial Attorneys Bethany Lipman, Rebecca Dunnan, and Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the Eastern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.

Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.