A former Pahrump resident must serve 14 years in a federal prison for helping smuggle methamphetamine into High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The defendant, Michael Yost, is one of five reputed members of the Aryan Warriors gang who were convicted by a jury in July. He was the last of the group to be sentenced.
“I’m not guilty,” Yost said in court Wednesday. “I didn’t do this.”
Yost, 55, was convicted of conspiring with members of the Aryan Warriors, a white supremacist gang that operates in Nevada prisons and in certain Nevada communities, to distribute methamphetamine.
At his sentencing hearing, Yost told U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson that he has long considered the Aryan Warriors “a bunch of clowns.”
“And that’s what they are today,” the defendant said.
Dawson said the evidence contradicted Yost’s claims of innocence.
Prosecutors argued in their sentencing memorandum that Yost should receive a 20-year prison term “based upon the scope of drug trafficking in which defendant involved himself and the seemingly unstoppable continuum of defendant’s criminal activity.”
According to the document, Yost participated in the drug conspiracy from 2004 to 2006.
“Defendant also has a pending charge in which he prompted his pit bull to attack a law enforcement officer and then fled in his vehicle, reaching speeds on the highway up to 100 miles per hour,” prosecutors wrote. “He used a fake identification card. Defendant’s criminal history dates back to 1972 and includes drug convictions and violent crimes.”
In November, according to the sentencing memorandum, law enforcement discovered that Yost and others had accessed, without authorization, unrestricted Internet sites at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. According to the document, the sites were used to search for information about Yost’s former lawyer, Gary Myers, and a Nye County sheriff’s deputy.
Myers filed a sentencing memorandum on Yost’s behalf in December before withdrawing from the case.
In the document, the defense lawyer argued for a shorter sentence because of the “miserable conditions” at the North Las Vegas jail, where Yost has been detained since July 2007.
According to the document, Yost and his wife were purchasing a residence and surrounding property in Pahrump at the time of his arrest. Yost’s wife, Debbie, attended the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
At trial, prosecutors described the Aryan Warriors as a criminal organization that asserts control over prisoners through violence and extortion. Jurors acquitted Yost of a racketeering conspiracy charge.
Others convicted in the racketeering case were James Wallis, Charles Gensemer, Robert Young, and Kenneth Krum.
Dawson sentenced Wallis to 25 years in prison, Gensemer to 35 years, Young to more than 17 years and Krum to more than 24 years.