FBI arrests three suspected neo-Nazis who planned to protest Virginia gun control proposals: Report | TheHill
The FBI on Thursday arrested three suspected neo-Nazis who had planned to travel with firearms to Richmond, Va., to participate in a protest against gun control measures propped by the state legislature’s newly-seated Democratic majority, according to the New York Times.
Federal officials took the three men into custody in connection with a probe into the white supremacist group The Base, charging them with several federal crimes in Maryland, according to the Times, citing law enforcement officials familiar with the case.
Officials said one of the three, Patrik Mathews, a former soldier in the Canadian army, entered the U.S. illegally. Mathews, a trained combat engineer, was discharged from the Canadian military after his white supremacist ties came to light, according to the Times.
The organization has been an increasing concern for federal investigators, who have linked its membership to active plans of racially-motivated violence. Investigators arrested a New Jersey man in November for allegedly recruiting for the group and advocating for the killing of African Americans.
The gun control legislation being considered in Virginia’s capital and opposed by pro-gun rights organizations, has already led Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to declare a state of emergency this week, with the governor’s office saying authorities have identified credible violent threats from out-of-state militant groups that echo the lead-up to the deadly 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Northam has also temporarily banned weapons from State Capitol grounds ahead of Jan. 20, the federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
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