Twelve Southeast Texans were indicted and arrested on federal racketeering charges in connection with a “whites only” drug distribution ring, according to an announcement by U.S Attorney John M. Bales on March 11. Four of the defendants named in the indictment also face capital murder charges.
The four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury March 7 alleges the 12 defendants participated in a racketeering enterprise that engaged in methamphetamine distribution and murder. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, seven of the charged defendants were already in custody and five were arrested on March 8. The indictment names Kenny Don Stanley, 25, of Vidor; Tanner Lynn Bourque, a/k/a “Two Shoes,” a/k/a “Hitman,” 33, of Port Arthur; Kristopher Leigh Guidry, a/k/a “Hollywood,” 28, of Vidor; Vicki Stark-Fitts, 49, of Hull; Craig Pipps, a/k/a “Lone Wolf,” 40, of Vidor; Erica Nicole Parrott, 27, of Vidor; Ricky Allen Nichols, 54, of Vidor; Michael Taylor Word, 45, of Silsbee; Juanette Marie Cunningham, a/k/a “Netty,” 46, of Vidor; Mikell Allen Cunningham, a/k/a “Mikey,” 28, of Vidor; Cassi Diane Hetzel, 37, of Silsbee; and Mack Langston Warner, 33, of Silsbee.
The indictment alleges that Stanley, Bourque, Guidry, Stark-Fitts, Pipps, and Mikell Cunningham, participated in the operation and management of the SWS gang. According to the indictment, SWS is a race-based organization operating inside and outside of jails and prisons, primarily in Texas. Inmates within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reportedly founded SWS during the 1990s as the “Stupid Woods,” now also known as “Solid Wood Soldiers” and “Separate White State.”
A search of the defendants’ criminal histories revealed that among those arrested, each has prior offenses. Prior charges within the group include felony theft, felony burglary, assault, felony possession of a controlled substance and the manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.
Sgt. Chad Hogan of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Erica Nicole Parrot is the cousin of Vidor resident Joshua Parrott who was reported missing in May 2010. The missing man’s wife, Heather Parrott who reported his disappearance, was arrested approximately one month later for federal drug violations. According to information from the U.S Attorney’s office, she was one of 28 arrested when a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began arresting individuals named in a 35-defendant indictment on June 29, 2010. According to the indictment, beginning in August 2008, the 35 named individuals were alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine in East Texas. Prosecutors in the case alleged the defendants were directly linked to large drug cartels operating out of Mexico and that the drugs traveling into Texas were being routed to other areas of the United States.
When asked if there was any connection between the SWS gang and the Mexican drug cartels mentioned in the June 2010 indictment and whether or not Heather Parrott could have been associated with both organizations, Hogan said it is difficult to ascertain.
“There are a lot of people involved in these organizations,” Hogan said. “It’s a big hierarchy. They (federal investigators) have not told us a lot. Apparently, they were working undercover on this.”
According to prosecutors, SWS protects its power, territory, and profits through intimidation and violence, including assaults, robbery, and murder. SWS members, prospects, and associates refer to the gang as the “wolf pack,” “pack,” or “family.” Prospective members must be “white” and sponsored by another SWS member, according to the press release from the U.S Attorney’s office. Prospects are required to study and learn the SWS constitution and by-laws and could be required to “work” for the enterprise, in which context “work” means illegal activity. The indictment further alleges SWS initiation requires a “blood in, blood out” commitment. That is, prospects are subject to a violent beating in order to become a member and when leaving the group.
SWS members, prospects, and associates are required to advance SWS goals through criminal activity, according to the indictment. Members and prospects are therefore required to commit to follow without question any order of SWS leadership. Prosecutors allege that means members and prospects must, when ordered, perform violent acts without hesitation. Maintaining power and avoiding loss of stature motivates SWS members, prospects, and associates to commit violent acts against individuals and groups believed to be disrespectful or detrimental to SWS.
The indictment additionally charges Stanley, Bourque, Guidry, and Stark-Fitts with murder in aid of racketeering. According to the indictment, on Mar. 14, 2011, the four used a firearm to murder Bridge City resident 25-year-old James Lee Sedtal, a/k/a “Lil Bit,” in Liberty County, Texas. According to information from the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, Sedtal was found shot to death in the trunk of a burned car discovered in Hardin County on March 23, 2011. HCSO confirmed the four defendants accused of capital murder in this indictment were arrested for the crime in Hardin County shortly after Sedtal was discovered and have remained in custody since then. All four gave statements admitting to certain levels of involvement in the murder, deputies said. The indictment alleges that the four murdered Sedtal on behalf of SWS, after Sedtal assaulted Word, an Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) associate. The indictment states that ABT was poised to retaliate against SWS, and Bourque, Guidry, Stanley, and Stark-Fitts sought to maintain and increase their position within SWS by murdering Sedtal. If convicted of murder as charged, the defendants each face either life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine between Sep. 2010 and Mar. 2011. If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants each face from 10 years to life in federal prison.