Violent gang activity leads to fed time for Texas man

staff reports
An Eastern District of Texas Courthouse sits in downtown Sherman.

A man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a violent gang-related beating in the Eastern District of Texas.

Michael Martin, aka Aryan Prodigy and AP, 38, pleaded guilty on March 4, 2021 to committing assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield on Oct. 5, 2021.

“The defendant’s violent actions demonstrate his commitment to a hateful and dangerous ideology,” acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said.  “Today’s sentence shows that no gang is above the law.”

According to court documents, the Aryan Circle (AC) is a violent, race-based, prison-based gang with hundreds of members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons in states throughout the country. The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through threats, intimidation, and acts of violence including, but not limited to, acts involving murder and assault. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

Martin joined the AC in the early 2000s and held the rank of upper board member at the time of the offense, meaning that he was one of the five highest-ranking AC members in the country. In this role, Martin made decisions and directed the actions of other gang members regarding a range of issues including who to recruit and admit as members of the gang, who should be disciplined or removed for violating the AC rules, and which rival gangs the AC would fight. 

According to court documents, Martin learned that another AC member wanted to switch his gang affiliation, or “patch over,” from the AC to a different gang. Martin ordered AC members to attack the former member to “X” him, or remove him from the gang, because it violated the AC’s rules to join a different organization. On Martin’s orders, two AC members violently beat the victim, including by kicking him in the head while he was on the ground. The attack resulted in the victim obtaining medical care and suffering long-term injury.

The case was investigated by the following agencies: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Prisons; Texas Department of Public Safety; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Montgomery County (TX) Precinct One Constable’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; New Jersey Department of Corrections-Special Investigations Division; Indiana State Police; Fort Smith (AR) Police Department; Arkansas Department of Corrections; Arnold (MO) Police Department; Jefferson County (MO) Sheriff’s Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; St. Louis County (MO) Police Department; Indiana Department of Corrections; Carrollton (TX) Police Department; Montgomery County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Travis County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office; Smith County (TX) Sheriff’s Office; McCurtain County (OK) Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Liberty County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Harris County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; Mercer County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office; Evangeline Parish (LA) District Attorney’s Office; and the Sebastian County (AR) District Attorney’s Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

Trial Attorneys Beth Lipman and Rebecca Dunnan of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Rapp of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas prosecuted the case.