A White supremacist group, which proudly calls itself by the derogatory name “Peckerwoods,” was among the gangs swept up in a federal drug bust.
A federal grand jury indicted 57 members of several violent White supremacist gangs in North Texas with drug trafficking and kidnapping charges, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Many of the gangs are well-known and established, such as the Aryan Brotherhood. The Peckerwoods are a new group that’s working hard to make a name. That name, however, would be no different from a Black gang calling itself the N-word.
Peckerwood is a reversal of woodpecker, particularly the red bellied bird that has a patch of red feathers on the back of its head—a reference to the common term “redneck.” Like redneck, peckerwood is a slur for poor, uneducated White men who stereotypically live in trailer parks.
The Peckerwoods are an unaffiliated prison-based gang that coalesced into its own group from the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, prosecutors said.
They are Aryan Brotherhood “wannabes who do the gang’s bidding,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Assisting the brotherhood helps the Peckerwoods build its prestige. Some members sport T-shirts that show a woodpecker riding a motorcycle, along with a message underneath the image that reads, “Peckerwoods, this wood don’t burn.”
Authorities seized 190 kg of methamphetamine, 31 guns and $376,587 in cash in the sweep. The gangs trafficked meth from October 2015 to April 2018 throughout mainly North Texas. Four of the suspects are also accused of kidnapping a man they suspected of stealing money. As punishment, they cut off his index finger.