Three Universal Aryan Brotherhood gang members were sentenced this week in federal court for 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 the State of Oklahoma, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Christopher K. Baldwin, 42, and Robert W. Zeidler, 48, were each sentenced to 264 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Charles M. McCully, 44, was sentenced to 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
In December 2021, Baldwin and Zeidler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to drug conspiracy. In November 2021, McCully pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to kidnapping. The defendants refused to cooperate with the government.
“The Universal Aryan Brotherhood committed egregious acts of violence and distributed an estimated 2,500 kilograms of methamphetamine annually throughout Oklahoma,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Led by agents from IRS-Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, nine law enforcement agencies joined together to bring these three defendants and 15 other UAB members and associates to justice. I commend our partners for their outstanding work.”
“The significant sentences of these criminals send a strong message that those involved in criminal enterprises committing heinous acts of violence and drug trafficking will face swift justice,” said Christopher Miller, acting Special Agent in Charge HSI Dallas. “Working in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, our agency is relentless in the pursuit of dismantling transnational criminal organizations wherever they operate.”
Baldwin and Zeidler were key players involved in UAB operations while imprisoned in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester.
Baldwin admitted to being part of the gang from at least 1999 to 2017 and that during part of that time, he sat on the “Main Council,” the UAB’s highest governing body. Baldwin said he was involved directly or indirectly as a coconspirator in crimes of drug dealing, witness intimidation, money laundering and other crimes of violence.
Zeidler helped lead the gang’s methamphetamine operation. Zeidler admitted to joining the gang and to committing or causing to be committed crimes related to the racketeering enterprise and drug conspiracy.
Baldwin and Zeidler 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 UAB’s operations, members and associates participated in a significant and widespread methamphetamine distribution scheme directed by incarcerated UAB leaders.
McCully stated in his plea agreement that he had been a member of the UAB since 2005 and admitted that members commit various crimes such as murder, kidnapping, witness intimidation, home invasions, and drug dealing for the gang. McCully stated that on Oct. 26, 2014, he and others kidnapped two individuals and held them against their will because they believed the individuals had provided law enforcement with information about a UAB stash house. While they held the victims, McCully and the others threatened them and used tarps, shovels, blow torches and other items in an attempt to scare and intimidate the victims.
The three men were charged in an indictment along with 15 others in December 2018.
Codefendant Eddie Funkhouser, 51, will be sentenced April 12. Funkhouser previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to kidnapping but refused to cooperate with the United States. The plea agreement, if accepted by U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan, stipulates that Funkhouser will serve 15 years in prison.
The UAB is a white supremacist prison-based gang with members operating inside and outside of state prisons throughout Oklahoma.
The UAB was established in 1993 within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and modeled itself after the principles and ideology of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that formed in the 1960s.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Tulsa and Enid Police Departments, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis A. Fries is prosecuting this case.