Two “influential” Universal Aryan Brotherhood gang members pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that committed acts of murder, kidnapping, the trafficking of methamphetamine and firearms, money laundering, assault and robbery throughout Oklahoma, acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a news release.
Christopher K. Baldwin, 42, and Robert W. Zeidler, 47, pleaded guilty in the federal Northern District of Oklahoma to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to drug conspiracy, but both men refused to cooperate in the investigation, the news release states. The plea agreements, if accepted by a U.S. district judge, stipulate that Baldwin and Zeidler will each serve 22 years in federal prison. The men will be sentenced April 6, 2022.
“The Universal Aryan Brotherhood is a criminal enterprise responsible for countless violent crimes and narcotics distribution throughout Oklahoma,” Johnson said. “The gang orchestrates a prolific drug trafficking operation responsible for distributing an estimated 2,500 kilograms of methamphetamine per year.
“My office and our local, state, federal, and tribal partners will continue to pursue and prosecute criminal organizations, like the UAB, who wreak havoc in northeastern Oklahoma. Baldwin and Zeidler’s guilty pleas are another step forward in dismantling this criminal organization and ensuring justice for victims.”
The two were “key players” in the prison gang while they were inmates in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Baldwin and Zeidler admitted in their plea agreements that when joining the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, they understood that members took part in racketeering activities to further the gang’s enterprise.
Baldwin admitted to being part of the gang from 1999 to 2017 and to sitting on the “Main Council,” the gang’s highest governing body, during part of that time. He was involved directly or indirectly as a co-conspirator in crimes of drug dealing, witness intimidation, money laundering and other crimes of violence, according to the news release.
Zeidler admitted to helping lead the gang’s methamphetamine operation, according to the release. Both men also admitted to knowingly and willfully agreeing with others to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine.
As part of the gang’s operations, members and associates participate in a significant and widespread methamphetamine distribution scheme directed by incarcerated gang leaders, the press release states.
The two men were charged in an indictment along with 16 other members and associates of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood in December 2018. Charles M. McCully, 44, another member of the gang, pleaded guilty Dec. 1 to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to kidnapping.
The Universal Aryan Brotherhood, a “whites only” prison gang, was established in 1993 by inmates in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. It has members operating inside and outside of state prisons throughout Oklahoma. It is modeled after the principles and ideology of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that formed in the 1960s.