- The FBI has arrested three alleged members of the neo-Nazi hate group The Base, The New York Times first reported Thursday.
- The men who were arrested were 27-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian soldier who entered the US illegally; 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., a former US Army soldier, and 19-year-old William G. Bilbrough, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
- They were arrested in Maryland ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Virginia amid growing concerns about violence reminiscent of the 2017 white supremacy march in Charlottesville.
- Reuters reports that the men were armed with firearms and hoping to start a race war. The Times reports that they had discussed attending the gun-rights rally and were anticipating a possible race war.
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The FBI has arrested suspected members of a neo-Nazi group who were armed and anticipating a race war, one of whom was a missing ex-Canadian soldier who allegedly snuck into the US, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
The three men, suspected members of a violent extremist hate group known as The Base, were arrested in Maryland ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia scheduled for next Monday.
Concerned about the possibility of violence, such as deadly events of the 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday and banned all firearms and weaponry from Capitol Square, NPR reported.
“We have,” he said, “received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday.”
The event, which is being hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defence League, is expected to attract thousands of demonstrators responding to efforts by Virginia Democrats to pass stronger gun laws.
The three men who were arrested Thursday, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland, included 27-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian soldier who entered the US illegally; 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., a former US Army soldier, and 19-year-old William G. Bilbrough.
All three are believed to be members of The Base, a group said to be dedicated to the creation of a white ethno-state and violence against minorities. The hate group, along with another group known as Atomwaffen, has become a priority for the FBI, former law enforcement officials told The New York Times,
Lemley and Bilbrough were charged with transporting and harbouring an illegal alien, Mathews in this case, along with conspiracy. Mathews, a former combat engineer and explosives expert, disappeared in August after being discharged from the Canadian military over alleged ties to The Base. His car was found 10 miles from the US border.
The US Attorney’s Office in Maryland revealed that an affidavit filed in support of a federal criminal complaint alleges that Mathews unlawfully crossed into the US from Canada on August 19, 2019 near the Manitoba/Minnesota border. Lemley and Bilbrough are said to have driven from Maryland to Michigan to pick him up, returning the next day to Maryland.
Lemley and Mathews then moved to Delaware, according to the affidavit. The two allegedly made a functioning assault rifle in December. In January, the two are said to have purchased 1,650 rounds of 5.56mm and 6.5mm ammunition.
Lemley and Mathews are facing charges of transporting firearms and ammunition with the intent to commit a felony. Mathews was also charged with illegal entry into the US and possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Update: This article has updated with information from the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
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