Arkansas woman gets more than 21 years in prison for kidnapping


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Russellville woman was sentenced Friday for her role in two kidnappings carried out on behalf of a white supremacist gang. Amanda Rapp, 40, was sentenced to 262 months, or 21.8 years, in federal prison by United States District Judge Brian S. Miller.Rapp pleaded guilty on Oct. 29, 2020, to two counts of kidnapping in aid of racketeering. In addition to the term of 262 months’ imprisonment, Judge Miller sentenced Rapp to five years of supervised release following her term of imprisonment.

The investigation began in 2016, when local and federal agencies initiated a joint investigation to identify, infiltrate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations in Russellville. Agents identified multiple individuals who were trafficking methamphetamine in the Pope County area. The investigation revealed that Rapp was an associate of the New Aryan Empire (NAE), a white supremacist organization that began as a prison gang and functioned as a drug trafficking organization.

In May 2017, Rapp and other NAE members and associates kidnapped two individuals who they suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, which violated the rules imposed by leaders of NAE. The two victims were held against their will for over 24 hours, during which time NAE members and associates restrained the victims and assaulted them. During the kidnapping, one of the assailants heated a knife with a torch and placed the hot knife on the face of one of the victims, causing severe and permanent disfigurement.

“Today’s sentence in Operation ‘To The Dirt’ is an important step in pushing back against the turmoil brought about by gang activity in the River Valley,” said Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “We will continue to investigate the violent activities that stem from drug trafficking in this as well as other corrupt organizations.”

“This case was a joint effort with our state, local and federal partners and stands as a great example of a cooperative and complimentary investigation,” stated Clayton R. Merrill, resident agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF continues to remain committed to stopping those who use firearms to further their criminal activities and who are preying on our communities.”

“Our neighborhoods deserve to exist without fear and intimidation inflicted by violent drug gangs like the New Aryan Empire,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley. “The unprecedented collaboration between all law enforcement agencies represented in this region exemplifies the continuing unified goal of keeping our neighborhoods safe and secure. The sentencing of this individual will undoubtedly convey a strong and unified message to those who continue to engage in criminal activities, threatening the safety of our citizens.”

“I greatly appreciate the cooperative investigative effort of our investigators in conjunction with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners that resulted in successful resolution of these cases,” said David Ewing, chief of the Russellville Police Department. “The teamwork displayed by those involved shows that our cumulative efforts reinforces our commitment to safeguarding our respective communities from this type of criminal behavior.”

Rapp was charged on Sept. 3, 2019, in a federal indictment that charged more than 50 people from the Pope County area with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering and numerous gun and drug violations. The case is named “To The Dirt,” a reference to the NAE slogan referring to the rule that members must remain in the NAE until they die. The charges allege acts involving attempted murder, kidnapping, maiming and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Of the 55 total defendants charged in “Operation ‘To The Dirt,'” 49 defendants have pleaded guilty, and nine of those defendants have already been sentenced to prison terms: Jared Dale, 84 months; Britanny Conner, 120 months; Keith Savage, 120 months; Joseph Pridmore, 150 months; Daniel Adame, 262 months; Justin Howell, 155 months; James George, 70 months; Amos Adame, 121 months; and Skippy Don Sanders, 262 months. The remaining defendants are awaiting trial.

The investigation was conducted by ATF, DEA, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force and the Russellville Police Department, with assistance from the FBI.

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