U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland will join others in Russellville this afternoon to announce details of a 54-count indictment involving a white supremacist group, New Aryan Empire, for a conspiracy said to include solicitation of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and maiming.

Justice Department, FBI, DEA, ATF and state law enforcement officials will be on hand.

Fifty-four defendants are to be named in the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) indictment.

New Aryan Empire was the name of an Arkansas-based prison gang named in a 2017 indictment on drug (methamphetamine) and gun crime charges. That bust also centered on Russellville, but officials acknowledged the activities had spread.

UPDATE: Hiland said today’s indictment is an extension of the earlier work and includes numerous violent acts as well as distribution of meth. He said it marked the office’s intention to make greater use of RICO in criminal investigations.

The NAE was described as a highly organized group that got its start in prison, but has moved to neighborhoods, with thousands of members. Officers made arrests across Arkansas today. It’s “reprehensible” for veneration of Naziism, one official said, but the crimes are of even greater concern.

A suspected informant’s face was burned with a heated knife, said Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki.

Hiland said officials believed the effort had done “significant damage” to the organization. One of the leaders had been indicted in 2017 and his trial recently was postponed until later this year. There’s no indication on the record if that signals cooperation in the latest developments

A number of those named were already in custody. A few remain at large. The activities of the group were concentrated in Pope and Yell Counties.

The defendants:

Here’s the government’s full news release.

And, finally, here’s the full indictment.