U.S. authorities on Wednesday arrested five figures linked to the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, variously accusing them of conspiring to intimidate journalists and harass churches and a cabinet official with whom they disagreed.
John Denton of Montgomery, Texas, a former leader of the group, was charged with making a series of phony bomb threats in the mid-Atlantic state of Virginia, including one a year ago believed to have targeted former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Authorities said Atomwaffen has been trying to incite a race war in the U.S., often targeting journalists whose stories have exposed the group’s activities.
A federal prosecutor in the western state of Washington, Brian Moran, said four other suspects who were arrested «sought to spread fear and terror with threats delivered to the doorstep of those who are critical of their activities.»
The four suspects, all in their early 20s, were identified as Cameron Brandon Shea of Redmond, Washington; Kaleb Cole of Montgomery, Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe of Spring Hill, Florida; and Johnny Roman Garza of Queen Creek, Arizona.
The Justice Department accused the four of conspiring through an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and others they wanted to intimidate, focusing primarily on those who were Jewish or journalists of color.