Feds charge white supremacist gang members in Alaska

(Courtesy of U.S. Department of Justice)

Federal authorities in Alaska have filed criminal charges against a total of 20 people connected to a white supremacist gang operating in state-run prisons, as well as on the outside, according to charging documents filed in the case.

Six of them are charged together, and two others separately, with kidnapping and murder, and the charges link them through their alleged roles in a wider conspiracy, including racketeering, drug and firearm trafficking.

“These defendants all have something in common,” said Bryan Schroder, U.S. Attorney for Alaska, at a press conference Wednesday announcing the unsealed charges. “They are members or associates of a prison-based gang called the 1488s.

The name “1488” is a reference to Nazi ideology.

Charges against the dozen others accused of being 1488 members or associates in Alaska, including one woman, range from possession of stolen mail, to illegal firearm and drug possession and, in one case, carjacking. The last-known addresses for the defendants span much of Alaska, from Fairbanks to Anchorage and Wasilla, with at least one member each having lived in the Soldotna and Juneau areas.

“Recently the 1488s structure and influence expanded to rural and suburban areas throughout Alaska,” the indictment says.

Schroder said the gang, is “prison-based” and allows only white people to join. It uses Nazi and white supremacist symbolism, especially in tattoos, he said.

According to court filings, recruiting for the gang occurred in prison, as well as outside, which the jailed gang members called “free world Alaska.” When incarcerated members were released, they were required to remain loyal to the gang by reporting to gang leaders and continuing to work toward the gang’s goals through criminal activity. Retiring from the gang was not an option.

Schroder said there are an estimated 50 to 100 members of the gang in Alaska. Schroder was unable to say whether the majority of 1488 members are believed to be incarcerated or living outside correctional institutions, and a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney said those numbers fluctuate as gang members tend to cycle in and out of prison.

“Well, there appears to be about 18 of them incarcerated, at least,” Schroder said, smiling.

One of the six men indicted in the kidnapping and murder case was still on the loose as of Wednesday. He is Glen “Glen Dog” Baldwin, 37, and federal prosecutors have reason to believe he may be in Florida.

His co-defendants, listed in the indictment and all behind bars as of Wednesday are:

  • Filthy Fuhrer, 42, who, according to state court records, had his name legally changed from Timothy Lobdell
  • Roy Naughton, 40, also known as “Thumper”
  • Colter O’Dell, 26
  • Craig King, 53, also known a “Oakie”
  • Beau Cook, 32

The six co-defendants are accused of abducting and killing a man named Michael Staton, known as “Steak knife,” who went missing in August of 2017.

“They were unhappy with some things he’d done in the gang, and they were in effect removing him from the gang,” Schroder said.

Two other members of the gang pleaded guilty in connection to Staton’s death, and information about what happened to Staton is included in separate court filings.

A man named Dustin Clowers, 34, admitted in a plea agreement that he became a full member of the 1488s while at Goose Creek Correctional Center on Point MacKenzie, outside Wasilla.

According to the plea agreement, Clowers was in charge of 1488 gang members in Anchorage once he got out of prison. Another man, Nicholas “Beast” Kozorra, 29, became a member while jailed at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, and was a main “shot caller” for the 1488s when he got out, according to Kozorra’s plea agreement.

The court filings say Clowers, Kozorra and the six others indicted separately kidnapped and beat Staton for failing to sell drugs he was supposed to have sold and for stealing Craig King’s Hells Angels jacket, as King is an alleged member of that gang and an associate of the 1488s.

The beating culminated in the men heating a knife and burning off Staton’s 1488 tattoo, or “patch,” and he ultimately died from injuries sustained in the incident, according to the plea agreements.

At the time, Staton was only described as a missing person. But Schroder said once investigators learned his death had been a homicide connected to the Hells Angels and 1488, they decided to keep that a secret as the case progressed.

“But that’s part of the investigative process. We keep that information close hold while we’re doing the investigation,” Schroder said.

Investigation of the 1488s continues, Schroder said. It has so far involved a collaborative effort by federal prosecutors, the Alaska State Troopers, the FBI and U.S. Marshals, he said.

Schroder refused to discuss specific investigative methods, like whether undercover officers infiltrated the gang, and said investigators’ work included corroborating information that ultimately ended up in Clowers plea agreement.

Only one of the six men indicted most recently had an attorney listed Wednesday, and he did not return a call seeking comment.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Casey here

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