A lengthy undercover investigation by a federal task force led to the arrest of a man listed in court documents as a 'general' in the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
According to federal court documents obtained by Local 2 Investigates, James Francis Sampsell, who went by the street name 'Skitz,' was arrested following a high speed at the end of January.
Federal investigators wrote that they began surveillance on Sampsell after getting a tip in December that he was staying at a motel in Cleveland and "had ounces of crystal methamphetamine."
Court documents say Sampsell was "known to be the Region 3 General of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas." A Texas Department of Criminal Justice PowerPoint presentation also listed Sampsell as a "steering committee" member for the Brotherhood.
Federal agents wrote that they recorded a transaction between Sampsell and a confidential informant involving the sale of a half ounce of crystal meth for $700 in the parking lot of a grocery store in New Caney. According to federal agents, during the undercover purchase of the drugs, the confidential informant tried to set up another deal with Sampsell to purchase a quarter pound of meth for $4,800.
On January 22, federal agents recorded Sampsell selling the confidential informant the quarter pound of meth in a Walmart parking in Conroe, court documents show.
Federal agents say they tried to arrest Sampsell as he drove out of the parking lot after the undercover purchase of drugs. Court documents claim Sampsell tried to run from Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies while "throwing baggies of crystal methamphetamine out of the driver's side window." Sampsell was arrested and charged with possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
In February, Sampsell was also named in a sweeping federal indictment involving several members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Officials with the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston wrote Sampsell and other members of the brotherhood had been charged with engaging in racketeering activity, among other crimes.
Bruce Toney, Inspector General for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said the dynamic of the Brotherhood is changing. Toney said members of the Brotherhood traditionally derived their power only while in prison.
"Today, they operate just as efficiently, or more efficiently, on the outside," said Toney. "Their criminal enterprise on the outside today is 10 times what is was just a few years ago."
A statewide assessment of gang activity recently released by the Texas Department of Public Safety lists the Aryan Brotherhood as a "significant" threat.