Skinhead Group Members Sentenced to Decades in Prison After FBI Entrapped Them and Then Destroyed Exonerating Evidence
Members of a Pennsylvania based skinhead group called Aryan Strikeforce have now all been sentenced for a 2016 conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Joshua Steever pled to 20 years, Henry Lambert Baird got 14 years, and four others received lesser but significant sentences.
What is noteworthy about this case is the FBI's outrageous conduct during the investigation and the federal prosecution.
According to a document filed on behalf of defendant Justin Daniel Lough, undercover FBI agents were responsible for the entire criminal conspiracy, from start to finish.
Between 2016 and 2017, the FBI agents infiltrated Aryan Strikeforce, concocted the conspiracy and provided the fake meth. The drugs were then sold off to another group of FBI agents pretending to be contraband dealers. The only role members played was to go along for the ride. The crime would not have occurred without the FBI playing essentially all the important roles, from masterminds of the conspiracy, suppliers and purchasers. The investigation was motivated by political concerns and had no law enforcement value.
Lough's defense and the federal prosecutors both agreed that undercover FBI agents initiated contact with the Aryan Strikeforce and presented the plan on May 16, 2016 in Staunton, Virginia. The entire interaction was taped by federal agents.
After the men were arrested, Lough's lawyer D. Toni Byrd requested this vital piece of evidence for use in her client's criminal trial. Lough wanted the tape because he believed it would support his side of the story, which is that the FBI agents flagrantly violated his rights under federal laws prohibiting Outrageous Government Conduct.
Byrd made the request for the evidence in April 2017. Federal prosecutors did not respond until May 29th, when they conjured up a written report about the meeting from the agents themselves. When asked where the original tape was, the FBI and federal prosecutors claimed a vital aspect of their case was suddenly destroyed due to an "equipment malfunction."
There was no hard evidence provided that Aryan Strikeforce was engaging in any kind of criminal conspiracy before the FBI infiltrated them. The federal judge in Lough's case provided cover for the FBI and refused to dismiss the case.
Members of the group appeared to be targeted for their indigence. One of the defendants, Jacob Mark Robards, was cancer-stricken, disabled and homeless. The prospect of obtaining quick and easy money may have appealed to the group, but neither the meth supplier or buyer would have existed without the FBI playing a role as both.