LOS ANGELES – A former prison guard who allegedly held racist views was arrested Thursday after being indicted on charges of aiding a violent inmate gang known as the Nazi Low Riders.
Shayne Allyn Ziska, who was placed on paid administrative leave from the prison in 2000, was an associate of the gang who instructed inmates on racist ideology and had a tattoo on his arm with Nazi imagery, federal prosecutor Adam D. Kamenstein said.
Ziska, 42, was indicted Wednesday on charges of participating in a corrupt organization, conspiracy, violent crime in the aid of racketeering and deprivation of rights under color of law.
Authorities allege that he helped the Nazi Low Riders distribute methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs and allowed the gang to assault two inmates with deadly weapons.
“My client is pleading not guilty and contends he didn’t do what he’s accused of,” said defense attorney Ira Salzman.
The Nazi Low Riders emerged in the 1970s in the California Youth Authority before spreading throughout the adult system and beyond the prison walls.
It has gained strength with the arrest and successful prosecution of top members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a larger, more established prison gang. Federal authorities claim the Nazi Low Riders now control much of the illegal activities of white inmates in California prisons.
Ziska has not supervised inmates since he was placed on leave from the California Institute for Men in Chino and was working in the office of the division that oversees inmate fire crews at the time of his arrest, said Margot Bach, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.