You'd expect to find white supremacist gang members at a race riot, or a Klan rally, but in the U.S. military?
"When I wasn't drinking or fighting, I was probably a good Marine, " says TJ Leyden.
He is a reformed white supremacist, a former Camp Pendleton Marine and enforcer of the Hammerskins white power gang.
"The problem was, my allegiance was to my gang," he points out. It was not to the U.S. Marine Corps.
Leyden barely hid his gang ties, in fact he actively recruited 12 other service members into the Hammerskins.
"Everyone totally knew what I was doing," he says.
Ramon Galindo, producer for 10News, was surprised by how open white supremacists in the military are.
He took part in the 10News I-Team's 2-year investigation into military gangs.
"We got a tip that there had been an upswing in the number of white gang members in the military," he says.
First, the I-Team sought out several advisors, including Marines from Camp Pendleton and Camp Legume, and military investigators.
We wanted to see, "what would spark an interest in other Marines who happen to be in gangs," Galindo explains.
From the insight gathered from current service members, we set up a fake profile on MySpace, and a site called New Saxon.
"Once you start putting hate language, such as 'I hate Mexicans,' or 'I hate black people,' or 'white purity,' you start getting responses right away," Galindo noticed.
Posing as a Marine in his mid-20s, we began making online contacts, getting all kinds of hits from active-duty and retired military service members.
"This Marine responded to us, 'I'm just a few miles north of San Diego; I know about those fence hoppers.'"
The white supremacists were based locally and worldwide.
"This Marine was real specific," points out Galindo. "He's a Marine stationed at Camp Fuji in Japan."
People were also very specific about which groups they did not like.
Ramon reads one example from the contacts with us: "I'm a white supremacist, living in 'Mexifornia.' I love being a racist, I hate fa**, blacks, and Jews."
The I-Team continues to monitor our fake Marine and his online "friends."
On Thursday at 11 PM, find out how this story prompted the 10News I-Team to dig deeper and expand their investigation. The I-Team learned about street gangs in the military ranks and how they are luring other military personnel, as well as what it all means when these military gang members come home.
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