Amid three high-profile murder investigations, questions are surrounding the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.
The gang is the one common thread connecting the cases out of Colorado and Texasin whichtop criminal justice officials were gunned down in their homes and outside workplaces.
ABC 17 News spoke with law enforcement officialswho deal with white supremacist gangs.
They say they keep a close eyeon the activities of hate groups like the Aryan Brotherhood.
Cole County Sheriff Greg White told ABC 17 News there are no direct threats in the area right now.
But he said there is always a possibility because white supremacist groups do exist in the state of Missouri and are knownto be violent.
“To say that we don’t have Black Gangster Disciples or Five Deuce Street Bloods or occasionally other groups like white supremacist groups would be a misnomer,” White said.
White does not denythe potential dangersthat exist with the presence of these groups.
He studies these groups and their activities daily and says tracking these groups has to do with prison management.
White says it’s more than just taking the typical fingerprints, photographs and biographical information.
“There’s ways to look at it. Do you have tattoos that would reflect a particular association? If you do, that’s all logged,” White explained.
In the Texas investigation, officers are questioning the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, known as the ABT.
Membershavebeencharged with kidnapping, drug dealing and murder.
But Aryan Brotherhoodchaptersexist in theprison system around the nation.
White says these people are not only in prisons, but in the community, as well, and some are evenparoled.
The Southern Poverty Law Center follows gang activity,and todayits spokesman told me hate groups are growing, especially among patriot groups and militias.
ABC 17’s Jillian Fertig asked Mandi Steele,spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, how the people in these groups outside the prison system are studied here inMissouri.
Steele did not have an answer.
This map from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows where all hate and white supremacist groupsexist in Missouri.