DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Authorities say they have dealt a major blow to the illegal operations of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas as dozen of members plead guilty to federal racketeering charges.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies said Wednesday in Houston that those convicted in the case had been charged with committing a variety of crimes, including murder and drug trafficking.

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Defendant Rusty Eugene Duke of Dallas is among them. He pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. Duke is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 29, 2014.

Marshall Miller, the principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, says the convictions mark “the decapitation of this gang.”

The military-style gang was founded in Texas prisons in the 1980s to offer protection to white inmates.

The convictions of the 36 members were part of a six-year investigation resulting in 73 convictions in Texas and Oklahoma.

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“The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas launched its murderous and racist ideology within the Texas prisons, but unleashed a violent crime wave that jumped the prison walls and spread like a virus,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Today we are announcing sweeping convictions that strike at the heart of the ABT gang: 73 convictions in five federal districts, including the five active generals who ran the organization with an iron fist. These convictions will ensure that these ABT gang members, from generals to soldiers, spend their years in federal prison paying for their crimes, not committing new ones.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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