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‘Blood Out’

Leaving the Aryan Brotherhood can be a dangerous business. One former leader explains why he nevertheless quit the prison gant

It’s sometimes said that the notorious Aryan Brotherhood (AB) has a “blood in, blood out” rule — that prospective members need to kill an AB enemy to join the gang, and that the only way to leave the gang is by dying. While that is not literally true in all cases, the AB is famous for the deadly way it settles scores. John Greschner, one of the gang’s top leaders, or “commissioners,” broke ties with the AB in 1999. He said he was forced to leave the gang after he exposed an alleged plot by fellow AB commissioner and AB co-founder Barry “The Baron” Mills to have five AB members who were personally disliked by Mills but had not breached gang rules killed by falsely branding them informants. In an interview with the Intelligence Report, Greschner described how he fell out with Mills and detailed the AB’s ironclad rules for killing one of its own. The Report started by asking Greschner how AB leaders decide if a member should die.

JOHN GRESCHNER: Only the commission can authorize a hit on a brother. If the commission doesn’t authorize it, and you kill a brother, no matter what the reason, if it’s unauthorized, you’re going to pay the price. You’re going to get clipped. That shit is carved in stone on the face of a mountain.

INTELLIGENCE REPORT: How does the commission authorize a hit?

GRESCHNER: It takes two commissioners to green-light a brother. So what happened with Barry was, he was coming to me, because he needed a second commissioner, and he thought I’d just rubber stamp all these hits, and he’s telling me, “These guys are informants.” But he had no evidence. And the common denominator was that he had personal beefs with them over feeling disrespected, but he’s trying to put it in my head, “Look, bro, they’re tit for tat.”

IR: Tit for tat?

GRESCHNER: “Tit for tat” is our code for rats, just like “bees and honey” means money and “laying from Bristol,” pistol.

IR: So you didn’t believe him?

GRESCHNER: Well, I wanted to see evidence. I told him, “Look, brother, I’m not cosigning that order.” And I put the word out to all the joints [federal prisons], “Barry’s saying this, but there’s no evidence, so as the second commissioner, I’m putting the brakes on his order. These hits are not authorized, and anyone who carries them out will pay with his life.”

IR: How did Mills react?

GRESCHNER: He felt I betrayed him by exposing him to all the other brothers. Well, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do as a brother. I’m doing what the ethics of our organization demand that I do, and I’m certainly doing what I’m supposed to do as a commissioner. I’m not going to throw a brother’s life away. It’s not going to happen.