California Skinheads Busted on Hitler's Birthday

Racist Skinheads

Seven members of the Inland Empire Skinheads were arrested in a daylong sweep in southern California April 20, including two female gang members who were arrested in hospitals where they had induced labor to ensure their babies would be born on Adolf Hitler's 120th birthday.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops said the arrests were the result of a nine-month investigation that was launched following an attempted murder in Hesperia, Calif., last year. Hoops said the gang has between 30 and 50 members residing in the Inland Empire, a region of southeastern California, and is closely affiliated with the Western Hammerskins, a regional division of the widespread skinhead gang Hammerskin Nation.

Hoops said his department had been tracking the Inland Empire Skinheads since 2002. In those seven years, members of the gang have been involved in murders, attempted murders, murder conspiracies, home invasion robberies, hate crime assaults, and narcotics trafficking, according to the sheriff.

The skinheads arrested this April were charged with a variety of crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder, parole violations, illegal weapons possession, armed robbery, witness intimidation, and dealing methamphetamine. Among those taken into custody was gang leader Raymond Williams, 34, a Perris, Calif., tattoo artist who was arrested at a hospital where his wife was giving birth. Williams is on the national Terrorist Watch List.

Detectives seized crossed battle axes (a symbol of the Hammerskins), swastika banners, framed photographs of Hitler, and other skinhead paraphernalia, along with $1,000 in cash and numerous firearms, brass knuckles and edged weapons. They also found fliers advertising the gang's annual barbecue and a homemade photo album containing pictures of gang members bloodied from fights and guzzling from Viking-style drinking horns. One photo showed a small child holding two handguns.

Three of the skinheads took plea bargains involving significant prison time less than a month after the sweep.

Joseph Mason, 20, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault and gang activity. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. Joshua Butler, 28, and Carrie Goodwin, 25, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit residential robbery. Butler was sentenced to nine years. Goodwin's sentencing was pending at press time.

Sheriff Hoops said he expected more arrests to be made in coming weeks, including two more women suspected in robberies and assaults.