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Leader of Aryan Knights prison gang gets life sentence

Harlan Hale, 55, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering and attempted murder and assault in January.
Credit: KTVB
Idaho Department of Correction officials say an additional 150 male inmates have been moved to a correctional center in Texas due to a shortage of beds in Idaho's prisons and jails.

BOISE, Idaho — Officials say a leader of the Aryan Knights Idaho prison gang has been sentenced to life in prison for racketeering and other charges.

Idaho’s Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez Jr. said Thursday that 55-year-old Harlan Hale will serve the federal prison time after he completes other prison sentences from separate cases in Idaho and Wyoming.

Prosecutors said Hale and nine other members of the white surpremicist participated in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and used violence when drug debts went unpaid. The ten men were charged under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act.

Hale pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering and attempted murder and assault in January.

Prosecutors say Hale held a leadership role in the AK and in 2015, assaulted another inmate for failing to pay money owed for drugs. The defendant then gave that inmate more drugs, telling him he would be required to sell them in order to pay back his debt.

Hale and two other gang members also attacked a former Aryan Knights member with improvised knives in 2016, stabbing the man repeatedly

"The crimes of organized prison gangs often go beyond the prison walls, bringing more drugs and violence into our communities," said Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI. "This life sentence should be a message to others involved in violent gang crimes—regardless of where it takes place—that law enforcement will investigate and hold them accountable."

His attorney couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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