RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) — A white supremacist group in Arkansas, called the New Aryan Empire is the focus of an investigation by the FBI.
Documents were unsealed this week detailing the four-year-long undercover investigation and indictment of 54 NAE members.
Some of those members, including those considered leaders of the group, face charges of drug trafficking methamphetamine, kidnapping, attempted murder and multiple guns and weapon charges.
A man who claims he found and helped organize the group, in the beginning, reached out to 5NEWS after the documents were unsealed and the investigation made public.
Now in his 60's, McKelly, who has the groups letters, NAE, tattooed on his forehead, said he was in Russellville around the time the FBI was investigating.
McKelly said he left because of drug activity. He said he fought with some of the members over selling drugs to support the group. He said some of the people he fought with have now been indicted.
"It's destroying individuals. It's destroying communities and families as well," Harris said. "They wanted me out of the way because I was totally against what they were preaching about and talking about. A lot of people don't care. To them, as many of them as they can get out drugs they can control people with the drugs."
Harris said he's the founder of the group and created it in 1990 while behind bars in Arkansas as a way to survive.
"Back then you had Gangster Cycles, you had Crypts, you had Bloods, Latin Kings. You had a little bit of everything. When me and my brother put that on our foreheads we were locked down in administration segregation. We had internal affairs down there taking pictures and asking questions," Harris said.
McKelly said he tried to turn the group into a motorcycle gang focused around family but was met with resistance and left many years ago.
"A lot of people, they don't want it to be different. They want it to be a criminal organization. They want the power the drugs give them," McKelly said.
Harris now lives in Fayetteville with his wife and said he is retired.
According to the FBI, the group now has around 5,000 members spread around Arkansas but mostly in and around the Russellville area.
With the arrest, many community leaders in Russellville and in surrounding cities are speaking out against the group and commending the FBI and their investigation.
"It’s expected of the African-American community to speak out against foolishness of this nature. However, to prevent this demonic spirit from taking root in our city, we as a community (not only African-Americans) must stand shoulder to shoulder as we speak out against racism on any level, letting it be known that Fort Smith will NOT passively tolerate racial bigotry," said Tashala Devrow, Pastor of The House of Restoration and Creator of City On Our Knees.
"Combating these hate groups is not the answer. They have to be exposed for what they are. Let the general public come to terms with how these groups directly or indirectly affect them personally. Nothing gets a persons attention like something so egregious hitting close to home," said Fort Smith Board of Director Andre Good.