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Member of Aryan Circle gang sentenced in racketeering murder case

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 18:58:36-05

A gang member of the Aryan Circle was sentenced today for being an accessory-after-the-fact to racketeering murder, announced U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph of the Western District of Louisiana and Assistant Attorney General Bryan A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

A judge sentenced 44-year-old Leland Edward Hamm of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to 130 months or over 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for being an accessory-after-the-fact in the violent crimes in aid of the racketeering murder of Clifton Hallmark.

On August 22, 2018, Hamm pleaded guilty to the charge of accessory-after-the-fact to racketeering murder of Clifton Hallmark. According to the plea agreement, the Aryan Circle (AC) is a race-based, multi-state organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas, Louisiana, and the United States.

A release states that the Aryan Circle was established in the mid-1980s within the Texas prison system (TDCJ). Recently, the AC’s structure and influence expanded to rural and suburban areas throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri. The AC emerged as an independent organization during a period of turmoil within the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). The AC was relatively small in comparison to other prison-based gangs, but grew in stature and influence within TDCJ in the 1990s, largely through violent conflict with other gangs, white and non-white alike.

The plea agreement further alleges that the AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the organization. Members, and oftentimes, associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

In pleading guilty to the accessory charge, Hamm admitted to being an accessory to the murder of Hallmark on or around July 1, 2016, when a fellow AC member shot Hallmark in the side of his head at point blank range at an AC “church” meeting in Turkey Creek, Louisiana. Hamm admitted to being a member of the AC criminal enterprise.