A leader of a white supremacist prison gang in Idaho already convicted of crimes in Wyoming was sentenced last week to life imprisonment, according to court records and the Idaho U.S. Attorney's Office.

Harlan Hale, 55, of the Aryan Knights, or "AK," was sentenced in Idaho federal court after pleading guilty to two racketeering crimes, Acting Idaho U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. said in a prepared statement.

Hale pleaded guilty to to one count of participating in a RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) conspiracy and one count of committing a violent crime in furtherance of racketeering activity, Gonzalez said.

Chief Idaho U.S. District Judge David C. Nye ordered that it be served after Hale’s existing sentences from a State of Idaho case and a federal case in Wyoming.

That's a long way off.

Hale was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment in 2008 after pleading guilty in Wyoming U.S. District Court to use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Other counts of unlawful transport of firearms, carjacking, and felon in possession of a firearm were dismissed as part of the plan deal, according to federal court records.

He committed those crimes after escaping from the Ada County, Idaho, jail in June 2005, carjacking a woman's car, fleeing to Wyoming and stealing a truck. He was captured near Lyman and then returned to the Ada County jail, according to an Associated Press report.

Hale was being held on state charges of first-degree attempted murder of an officer, eluding police, assault and battery of a police officer, drug possession and receiving stolen property. He later pleaded guilty to some of those counts and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in 2006.

Gonzalez said while in Idaho state prison, Hale joined and rose in the leadership ranks of the Aryan Knights, which was formed in the mid-1990s to organize criminal activity for a select group of white inmates within the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections.

The gang, with probably 100 or more members in and out of prison, believes in white supremacist and white separatist ideologies.

"The AK has used violence and the threat of violence to target non‑white inmates and other targeted inmates," Gonzalez said. "The AK also has used drug trafficking, extortion, and gambling to generate revenue, which was shared among members."

When drug debts went unpaid, the gang used violence to collect, he said.

Ten members of the Aryan Knights were charged in this case, seven have pleaded guilty, and three have been sentenced so far.

A jury trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled for October. These defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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