Pendleton has had its share of gangs, but they've always come and gone. Outsiders bring them in, then leave or get arrested. A couple of Pendleton natives started their own, however, with a vibrant membership and lieutenants. It's called the United Aryan Empire and is an off-shoot of the European Kindred gang the members joined while in prison.

It isn't clear how many members it contains, but many are well-known by police. The group says its mission is to rid Pendleton of meth dealers, but police have seen it become increasingly violent in recent months. After police discovered a large fight that drew a sizable crowd last October involving members of the United Aryan Empire and a Hispanic gang, officials have followed the group more closely.

Then earlier this month a woman claimed members of the gang forced her off the road and shot at her car. She believed it was because she had been revealing secrets about the gang. Police say the woman's testimony was not entirely reliable, but is proof of the escalating violence.

Using a variety of testimonies gathered for months, police obtained a warrant to search the homes of members the next day, where they found many weapons (mostly in the possession of felons).

Three gang members, believed to be leaders, went to court on charges last Friday, Jan. 23, facing up to 29 years. It is not clear the gang ran any money-making schemes (which fuel most Hispanic gangs) but that does not influence the charges.