A federal judge imposed hefty sentences today on two reputed members of the Aryan Warriors prison gang.
In hearings before U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson, Charles Gensemer received a 35-year prison term, and Robert Young received a sentence of more than 17 years.
During the hearings, the two defendants tried to distance themselves from the Aryan Warriors, a white supremacist gang that operates in Nevada prisons and in some Nevada communities.
“I tried to plead guilty to this, to what I did. And what I’m guilty of had nothing to do with the Aryan Warriors or any prison gang,” Gensemer told the judge. “I’m guilty of being a drug addict, your honor.”
Gensemer, 46, and Young, 32, were among five reputed members of the Aryan Warriors convicted in July at the conclusion of their federal trial. A sixth defendant was acquitted.
Prosecutors claimed Gensemer, released from prison in the early 1990s, helped further the Aryan Warriors’ cause on the streets by running one of the largest methamphetamine labs ever discovered in the state.
They also claimed Gensemer was involved in two attempted murders.
Defense attorney Osvaldo Fumo said his client agreed to accept a group plea bargain before trial, but the deal fell through when one of the defendants turned it down.
The deal called for Gensemer to receive a 20-year sentence.
On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson urged Dawson to impose a 40-year term. He said the group plea bargain was offered because of the “enormous security concerns” associated with taking the case to trial.
Gensemer insisted he is guilty only of being hooked on methamphetamine. He said he attends church and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week at the North Las Vegas Detention Center.
“I know that I’m not an angel, by far, but for me to go to prison for the rest of my life for being a drug addict — I’m sorry,” the defendant said as his voice trailed off.
Jurors convicted Gensemer of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking offense.
At the sentencing hearing, Dawson noted that the defendant has a history of violent acts.
“Only fortuitously has there not been a death in the wake of what he’s done,” the judge said.
The defendant’s father, sister, aunt and uncle attended the hearing.
While being led out of the courtroom, Gensemer turned toward them and called out, “I love you guys.” He then turned toward the judge and said, “Thank you, your honor.”
Next up was Young, who was convicted of conspiracy to engage in racketeering.
Defense attorney Chris Rasmussen said the trial included no evidence that Aryan Warriors participated in hate crimes.
Rasmussen said his client, Young, was 18 when he was introduced to the prison system and has not had the chance to experience freedom as an adult.
Young received his first prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. He has one year remaining on a later sentence for battery on a prisoner.
Evidence indicated that Young helped beat up a fellow prisoner in exchange for protection from the Aryan Warriors.
“If you’re not in with the crowd, then you’re out of the crowd and you’re just a victim,” the defendant said.
Young admitted he is a member of the Aryan Warriors, but he said he did not participate in all the group’s crimes.
Young specifically denied allegations that he engaged in extortion.
Rasmussen asked Dawson to impose a five-year sentence, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Bliss said the defendant deserves 20 years.
Young’s aunt, Sharon Cooper of Sandy Valley, attended the hearing. Afterward, she said Young’s mother, her sister, died in 1995. Cooper described her sister as an alcoholic, a prescription-drug abuser and a victim of domestic violence.
Cooper said her nephew first went to prison after he fatally stabbed his brother-in-law. She believes Young killed the man in self-defense.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.