By Anand Vasu
Michael Martin and Bobby Dayle Boney, members of the Aryan Circle pleaded guilty to the violent assault of a man in Oct. 2016.
Martin, also known as Aryan Prodigy, is from Austin, Texas, while Doyle, from Sulphur Springs in the same state, committed the assault as a part of gang activities, a Justice Department (DOJ) release said.
This case is part of a larger investigation into the AC gang under Operation Noble Virtue, which targeted the gang’s leadership and resulted in prosecutions and convictions in six different jurisdictions to date.
In October 2020, the DOJ unsealed indictments of as many as 24 members of the gang. At the time, Operation Noble Virtue had already resulted in 17 federal convictions. One of the indictments in the Eastern District of Texas that was unsealed then, charged six alleged AC members and associates with a racketeering conspiracy that included acts involving murder, five alleged AC members with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and two alleged AC members with kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in aid of racketeering. Among those charged then were alleged current and former high-ranking gang leaders.
The AC is a violent, white supremacist organization that originated in the Texas Department of Corrections and operates in federal prisons across the country, as well as outside prisons in states including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.
It was founded by Mark “Cowboy” Gaspard in 1985 as a splinter group to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
In the 1980s, when the Aryan Brotherhood moved away from crime towards religion, the Aryan Circle broke away, to continue their criminal status and activities. A second reason for the split was to promote their white supremacist agenda and oppose black and Hispanic gangs in prison.
In Houston, the gang’s infamous crime spree is said to have begun in 2007 when a member shot and killed two teenagers and fled to Louisiana where he shot dead two police officers before being killed in response.
The AC enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through murder, attempted murder, assault, and threats. Members, and oftentimes associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question, the DOJ said.
Martin and Boney had been members of the gang since the early 2000s and both sported tattoos affirming their affiliation to the Aryan Circle.
Both served in the leadership of the gang, with Martin being an upper board member, making him one of the five highest-ranking leaders in the gang. Boney held the rank of vice president, which meant that he gave orders to members and disciplined members who were not following the gang’s directives.
In 2016, the Aryan Circle leadership learnt that a member of their gang wanted to switch affiliation, or “patch over,” to a different gang. Martin ordered AC members to attack the former member in order to “X” him, or remove him from the gang, because it violated the AC’s rules to join another organization.
AC members, including Martin and Boney, held a “church,” or meeting, at a member’s home in the Tyler, Texas, area where they planned the logistics of the assault.
On Oct. 2, 2016, Martin, Boney, and other members met at a park near Tyler to carry out the assault.
On Martin’s order, Boney and another member violently beat the victim, including kicking the victim in the head while he was on the ground. This attack resulted in the victim seeking medical care.
A sentencing date was yet to be set for Martin and Boney.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Aryan Circle is the second-largest white supremacist prison gang in Texas and one of the largest such gangs in the United States. Its most common tattoo, known as a “shield” or “patch,” consists of a square oriented to form a diamond shape. Inside the diamond is typically a swastika and the initials AC; it is also common to include SS lightning bolts. Because of this symbol, Aryan Circle members often refer to their gang as “The Diamond” and may use phrases such as “let that Diamond shine!”
The SS Bolts are a common white supremacist/neo-Nazi symbol derived from Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany. The SS, led by Heinrich Himmler, maintained the police state of Nazi Germany. Its members ranged from agents of the Gestapo to soldiers of the Waffen (armed) SS to guards at concentration and death camps.